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State or Federal form requirements when volunteering as camp host?


s106300

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For those who regularly volunteer, a question: do you have to fill out any State or Government forms for compensation received in the form of free hook-ups? The question assumes no cash stipend, just free parking and hook-up. This question just recently came up at our Elk's Lodge, which has 6 full hook-up spots for members, and was contemplating adding an unpaid camp host position in exchange for full hook-up.

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We volunteer hosted at a small BLM campground in northern California one summer. I don't remember filling out any forms (other than for the volunteer position), and I know we didn't receive a 1099 at the end of the year even though we received a very small stipend.

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Federal volunteer positions with no stipend to not generate a 1099 so no tax concerns. Most Refuges will cease any and all vo?!unteer stipends by Sept of this year per directive. Federal volunteer positions are not barter under IRS tax law. If unsure consult your tax pro.

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First, I am not a tax professional or attorney. The advice to consult a tax professional is one I would also suggest to the Lodge. Since the Elks is not a federal agency, I am not sure that the answers given so far are applicable. If the Lodge does not charge members to use the RV sites, then I would think that a case could be made that the value of the host site is zero. If the Elks is registered as a non-profit or charitable organization that is one consideration as far as state and federal taxes are considered.

 

From what I have been able to find in researching the subject, even for a for profit organization/business, camp host positions where there is a designated host site that must be occupied; the value of the site is not considered taxable income because it meets the conditions:

"Meals and Lodging

You do not include in your income the value of meals and lodging provided to you and your family by your employer at no charge if the following conditions are met...

 

2. The lodging is:

  1. Furnished on the business premises of your employer,

  2. Furnished for the convenience of your employer, and

  3. A condition of your employment. (You must accept it in order to be able to properly perform your duties.) "

which can be found in IRS Publication 525.

 

Some states like Washington do consider barter income as taxable income. So you would have to check each states tax laws. I seem to remember a discussion a while back where at least one state was asking for a W-4 or similar form from volunteers, but I do not recall the final resolution/conclusion.

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you're asking about volunteers at a private property (Elks) not a Gov property, the general IRS rules state that employer provided lodging & meals are not taxable (or reported) if: they are provided on the owners premises, they are provided for the owners convenience and they are required as a condition of employment/volunteer for this position. your agreement with the volunteer should state those conditions in writing.

If you gave the volunteer cash for meals or lodging, or if you allow staying onsite to be optional, then you would be required to fill out the appropriate IRS forms for reporting that 1099 misc income.

note: the above are the Federal (irs) rules, occasionally the state tax rules may differ, especially in Ca.

 

the other form that may be required is notification to your workers compensation insurer. this varies slightly state by state, unpaid volunteers are normally not covered by workers comp insur, except a few special cases like vol firemen, emt, disaster assistance, etc.

you should include a clear written statement in your Volunteer agreement, that this volunteer position is not covered by workers comp in case of any accidental injury on your premises.

so, there may be no state or fed forms required, but at a minimum you should require the volunteer to sign a written agreement spelling out the conditions, requirements, restrictions, etc

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TCW & Jim2 have both given some good information, but there are a couple of other things which bear on this issue. If your club pays income tax and you intend to deduct any expenses related to this "host site" and it's occupants that will/could trigger a look at this need for issuance of a 1099 to the person who takes advantage of the site. Yours is a much different situation from that of the public parks and agencies which use volunteers. Many a commercial RV park has been audited by the IRS due to this sort of practice since they are "for profit" operations who supply an RV site to get help that does not require payment of wages. One of the issues which the IRS examiners consider in such an audit is the question, "is the occupancy of the site critical to performance of the occupant's duties, and does any person who does not live on site perform the same duties?"

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One other issue that I forgot and I don't think got mentioned is liability insurance for the Lodge and if you so choose the employee/volunteer to cover any incidents that might occur in the performance of the duties by the employee/volunteer.

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Thanks - you all raise some good points. Elks are a fraternal organization and are non-profit. Most Lodges run systems by which any profits generated go back into maintaining the organization's facility and towards the many charitable efforts they support, primarily in the areas of children, families, community, and Veterans. The organization is very focused on supporting Americanism and as such has no international clubs. Typically Lodges do charge for hook-ups but their charges are nominal compared to what you would pay elsewhere. Facilities may be a parking lot, a nice park, or a field. Dry camping is often offered; sometimes free but pretty cheap otherwise. As an Elk, you can access any Elk Lodge and their facilities anywhere in the U.S. Some of the facilities have many amenities, including pools, tennis courts, shuffleboard, pool tables, card rooms, bowling alley, BBQS, bocce ball courts, horseshoes and more; some are more basic. Most serve inexpensive meals once or more during the week while some have cafes/restaurants that have regular hours. All the Lodges we have visited (not yet with a rig) are super friendly. They all have a bar with very affordable prices; some even have GOOD wine. hours vary. If you are a full timer, membership is a great investment. Ron and I have been involved as Officers and volunteers for a few years in anticipation of going full-time. A good organization.

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For those who regularly volunteer, a question: do you have to fill out any State or Government forms for compensation received in the form of free hook-ups? The question assumes no cash stipend, just free parking and hook-up. This question just recently came up at our Elk's Lodge, which has 6 full hook-up spots for members, and was contemplating adding an unpaid camp host position in exchange for full hook-up.

We volunteer hosted at a small BLM campground in northern California one summer.
Federal volunteer positions with no stipend to not generate a 1099 so no tax concerns.
When we were volunteer camp hosts at an Illinois SP
We have volunteered 11 times in 4 national parks and 4 times in 3 state parks and have never received a monetary stipend or filled out any forms at those parks related to IRS/income tax.
An Elks Lodge is Not a federal or state facility, I do not think one can assume that the rules and regulations that may apply to it are the same as for state and federal facilities.
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  • 1 month later...

The issue is whether the employer takes a deduction for the value of the site. Federal and State parks and most Non-Profit parks do not take a deduction. If the privately owned park takes a deduction from their bottom line for the value of the site they are giving you in exchange for your volunteer hours this would create a taxable event and the employer must issue a 1099 to the volunteer who would then owe income tax on the amount of the decduction/value of the site.

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