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Charities - Volunteers' Expenses

Charities - Volunteers' Expenses

A charity may pay reasonable expenses to a volunteer for costs actually incurred, e.g. travel to and from the place of volunteering (which can comprise reimbursement for mileage if a volunteer uses a car to get to their place of volunteering work), training courses relevant to their volunteering work, meals taken while volunteering, postage/phone calls etc, childcare costs incurred while volunteering and any specialist clothing/equipment required while volunteering.

It is recommended and good practice for expenses to be reimbursed, to support the volunteer and to recognize the time they donate to the charity.

If the charity only pays expenses that are no more than genuine out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the volunteer, generally there will be no tax liability. However, charities need to be aware that in some cases there could be a tax liability, for example if a volunteer is paid something for their work or if they are given a lump sum or allowance to cover expenses, a sum as a thank you (even if called an “ex gratia” payment) or any real benefits such as training not specifically needed for the volunteering work.

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