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Hunt down tax breaks for charitable deeds

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in Small Business Tax

You receive no tax break for doing good deeds. So, you can't write off the cost of your personal endeavors on behalf of a charity. But that doesn't leave you empty-handed.

Strategy: Write off out-of-pocket expenses related to charitable activities, including reasonable expenses for transportation and lodging.

Let's say you're a troop leader for the Boy Scouts and you hike with the group at the end of summer. You can deduct your travel expenses and 50 percent of the cost of the meals you buy for the scouts (but not the cost attributable to your own children). Plus, you can deduct the cost of cleaning your uniform as a miscellaneous expense if you qualify under the usual threshold.

Tip: You can use the IRS-approved flat rate deduction in lieu of keeping track of your actual car expenses. The deduction for 2006: 14 cents per mile.

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