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Hurricane Katrina

Is your volunteer vacation deductible? That depends.

Is your volunteer vacation deductible? That depends.

Consider the irony.

The same year that "voluntourism" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary, I learned that such noble undertakings are often not tax-deductible.

For my family's weeklong volunteer vacation, we helped rebuild houses in New Orleans that had been damaged in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This will fulfill my daughter's high school service hours requirement, but it might not give us a tax break, even though we worked with a qualified charity.

The Internal Revenue Service has specific rules that pertain to voluntourism. "No deduction shall be allowed under this section for traveling expenses (including amounts expended for meals and...