Q. I do noncompensated work for a charity. Can I deduct a portion of my car costs like gas, repairs and insurance? Z.D., Montville, N.J.
A. Not exactly. If you use your own car, you may deduct the oil and gas attributable to the charitable travel, plus related tolls and parking fees. But you can’t deduct any costs for insurance, repairs, registration fees or depreciation like you can with a vehicle used for business driving. Instead of keeping detailed records, you may choose to use the IRS-approved flat rate deduction of 14 cents per mile in 2012.
Tip: With gas prices soaring, you will probably do much better tracking actual expenses. The 14-cents-per-mile rate hasn’t changed in years.