If none of the myriad of reasons to not work for free just aren’t doing it for you, how about this one?
You can’t write it off come tax time.
When I was sitting with my tax lady, filing my Schedule C, she told me plainly, I could NOT use anything I had given away as a tax deduction unless money had changed hands.
Since I’m service-based, “cost of goods sold” does not apply. So, when I give away a seat at one of my workshops, or throw in an extra hour of training without charge, or work three more hours on your website without adding a Change Order Form…it’s essentially just me volunteering at that point, and volunteering is not tax deductible.
All it means is that you are working for free, and there’s no value in that as far as the IRS is concerned.*
So – if the IRS doesn’t reward you for working for free out of the goodness of your heart…no one else will.
All the best – Gower
*Please bear in mind, I’m not a tax or legal advisor and you should not take this post as tax or legal advice – it’s a recap of what I was told upon working with my tax advisor. Please contact someone to discuss your own Schedule C writeoffs or deduction questions.