I am a volunteer: are there any tax rules I need to be aware of?

Updated on 12 April 2023


Even if you are not paid for the actual work you do, you may be paid expenses to compensate you for some of the costs associated with volunteering or being an unpaid intern. These expenses must be paid in accordance with certain guidelines to ensure they are not taxable.

Illustration of volunteers holding boxes and money

What expenses can I be paid tax-free?

Our page ‘Volunteers – tax and NIC’ covers how expenses are treated for income tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC) if you are a volunteer.

How do I claim the cost of using my own car?

Because it is very difficult for you to estimate the actual cost of using your own transport to travel to your workplace, there are instead agreed mileage rates that can be paid without incurring any tax liability. You can find these in our Employment section.

As well as these payments, there are extra payments that can be made if you carry other volunteers in your vehicle while travelling to the same workplace.

You can be paid up to 5p per passenger per mile for such journeys.

You need to keep records to show that the expenses claimed are reasonable.

For example, you might keep a diary of the dates you volunteered at the charity in order to substantiate your claim for mileage costs.

Note carefully that these are the maximum rates that can be paid without incurring a tax liability: you may be paid less.

Where can I find more information?

You can find more information relating to expenses in our Employment section.

Tax guides

Share this page