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Ms. Deborah Seidel
Volunteers contribute time which is valued at $64.5 billion each year. More than 84 million Americans volunteer each year in this nation. In view of the recent cuts in Federal funding of human service programs, it is exceedingly important that everything possible be done to continue encouraging people to volunteer their services. We strongly urge that volunteers be permitted the same deduction for the use of their private automobiles in carrying out volunteer activities, as is permitted government employees and businesspersons.
United Way Plaza
Alexandria. Virginia 22314-2088
United Way of America strongly supports the position of the Association of Junior Leagues regarding S 1579. Our Government Relations Committee and Board of Governors passed a resolution in February stating our continued support for legislation making the volunteer mileage deduction equal to that allowed for business. The importance of remedying this disparity was also raised by the member 1,200 United Ways around the country through our issue identification process.
As we have written to this committee before, "we believe the Department of Treasury is wrong to exclude proportionate shares of general upkeep from the charitable mileage allowance....Wear and tear on tires, engines and exhaust systems of cars are directly related to the miles traveled in the course of providing voluntary services and, therefore, should be included in the mileage allowance."
We urge the committee to report out this legislation favorably, both because it would spur on additional volunteering and because it is a public policy acknowledgement that volunteering is a highly valued service.
Senior Vice President
Federal Government Relations
Ms. CRAWFORD. I would like this morning to highlight our written testimony, but I request that the written testimony in its entirety be included in the record.
Senator ARMSTRONG. Thank you. We would be very happy to do that.
Ms. CRAWFORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Sandra Crawford follows:]
The Association of Junior Leagues urges the Subcommittee on Taxation and Debt Management of the Senate Committee on Finance to support S. 1579 and S. 1167, legislation which would allow volunteers to take the same mileage deduction as businessmen or set the mileage deduction for volunteers at the rate allowed government employees as reimbursement when they use their vehicles for government business.
The Association's testimony is supported by the Independent Sector and the United Way of America.
International women's voluntary organization
B. 243 Junior Leagues; 148,000 individual members in the United States
C. Promotes the solution of community problems through voluntary
Volunteer Mileage Deduction Should Be Computed on the Same Basis as
A. Volunteers such as Junior League members contribute many hours to a wide range of valuable community projects, often traveling long distances to their volunteer assignments. The low mileage deduction allowed to volunteers is especially detrimental to the elderly--many of whom wish to volunteer but are living on a fixed income which restricts their financial activities.
The high costs of operating a car and the Internal Revenue Services' refusal to allow volunteers an adequate deduction for mileage costs have forced many volunteers to reduce their volunteer commitment, thus jeopardizing the existence of vital community projects.
Denying volunteers the same mileage deduction as that granted businessmen or the mileage reimbursement rate allowed government employees indicates that government does not consider volunteers' services to be of equal value to those provided by paid employees.
It is especially important at this time of federal funding cutbacks that government policies encourage, not discourage volunteer work.