Email:Volunteer And Pay Taxes No Way!

Camp Host US Newsletter 27th ed.

Don't Be Ridiculous!

Important Tax Info

February 15, 2006


Featured Camp Host Member Product

Wandering Daisy

Open Road Journal

In This Issue:

1. Camp Host And Volunteer Campsite Taxed Next?
2. Driving Tip
3. Recipe
4. Good Will Ambassadors Needed


1. Camp Host Campsite Taxes Next?

It seems like every year the same confusion over camp host taxes arise,
and new stories crop up. This year a fellow camp host gave me an article
he read in the Feb. 2006 edition of 'Trailer Life', written by Beverly
Edwards & Linda Cameron..Cameron is a CPA in Westlake California and
Edwards is a 'self described' veteran RVer and travel writer. The scare
this year is more insidious than in the past. I would like to quote here
from the 'Trailer Life' article .."Question: Every year we volunteer our
services at a federal or state park, taking advantage of free parking in
exchange for serving as campground hosts or in other capacities. Since
no money exchanges hands, shouldn't this exchange be tax-exempt?"."
Answer: Unfortunately, a great many RVers are not aware that whether
they volunteer in a public or private campground in exchange for 'free'
RV parking, this exchange is considered a barter, and they are obligated
to pay federal and possibly state taxes on the fair-market value of the
site they occupy. If this involves a site at a high-end RV resort, it
could result in a considerable amount. Since RV parks are subject to
audits by IRS, failure to report this income could result not only in
back taxes, but also in penalties some years down the road. Generally
you must report this income on federal Schedule C. (See IRS Publication
525. 'Taxable and Non taxable Income,' for more info on bartering.) In
addition to paying income tax on this amount, you must pay a
self-employment tax of 15.3 percent, which is reported on IRS Schedule

Does the excerpt from the story sound familiar to anyone? I hope the
information contained here and borrowed from the 'Workamper web site',
will rest the question once and for all. Or maybe not.. maybe some
reader of this newsletter would like to contribute to group yet another
perspective on this issue.. here goes with the Workamper take on this
pressing tax matter:

Q: When a Workamper is given an RV site as part of his or her
compensation, is the value of the site taxable? A: Current IRS
regulations allow for the exclusion of the value of employer furnished
lodging from the employee's gross income, provided the following three
tests are met: 1) The lodging is furnished on the business premises of
the employer, 2) The lodging is furnished for the convenience of the
employer, and 3) The employee is required to accept such lodging as a
condition of employment. (see irc 1.119 (b)). Employer provided meals
might also be excluded from gross income. (Also see IRS Publication 525
- "Meals & Lodging"). This means that you do not have to report the
value of your site on your tax return. It is unlikely, but should the
IRS ever question such an arrangement, you would want to have something
in writing from the employer that indicates that you were required to
live on site. You should also document the value of the site and/or
meals. Since employers can also deduct these costs, both parties benefit
from these arrangements. The Workamper view is the prevalent view among
camp hosts that I have talked with about this subject. Still
confused?...Don't be, just choose to believe or adopt the perspective
that makes the most sense or call the IRS (800) 829-1040 and get
yourself really confused.

More thoughts on the tax for volunteers issue: I would ask Linda Cameron
or Beverly Edwards if either one of them would have volunteered to write
their article under the written agreement their efforts would be for a
charitable organizations brochure or free hand-out, and lets just say
it might be a public park, and lets also say that under their
written agreement to donate their time and effort they would be
required to stay in the park office provided by the park until their
work was completed, and lets say their work might take three months
to complete. Well, the park would be furnishing a cot to sleep on, and a
hot plate to cook with, and their food could be found in the parks small
fridge..and if they got cold at night or warm in the day, they could
adjust the temperature to their liking. Now Linda Cameron and Beverly
Edwards, are you going to be responsible for the calculation of the
costs the public park incurred entering into this type of volunteer
arrangement? How much did this cost the public park to provide this
level of comfort to their volunteers on their job site?

Are they going to pay taxes on a requirement that was part of their volunteer
agreement. Please help me here, is there something I am missing?

Link: Workamper Reference

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2. Driving Tip

The following article is borrowed from the "Roaming Times Newsletter",
thanks for this excellent tip.

Years ago I attended a defensive driving course where a rather offensive
trucker kept telling the other drivers not to drive beside truckers. He
said that a front blow out would cause the heavy truck to swerve 50 feet
right or left, depending on the side it happened. Most of us thought he
was overplaying the point.

However, when our 26,000 motorhome blew a driver side tire due to many
reasons. I suddenly realized his warnings were very true. We were on a
highway with center concrete barricades and a construction speed of 50
mph. In spite of the slow speed, the RV swerved into the concrete
barricade before I could react. The impact of the tire blowing and all
its steel belting grabbing onto all that is on the underside in the
wheel well was overwhelming. We hit the concrete several times before I
could manhandle the rig to a safe stop.

The tire looked so much like the past failed Firestones that I sent it
to Goodyear for examination. They agreed that it was a problem and paid
for all related expenses. It cost them 11,000 bucks to repair our rig.
They should be commended for stepping up to repair things.

What I learned from the experience. 1. First and foremost; everyone
should have tire blow out assistance in the form of a steer safe type
shock absorber on their rig. Manufacturers should install them when the
heavy rigs are made. Michelin has a free film on how to handle a blow
out and it shows the benefits of such aiding devices. You are nuts to
drive a big rig without one. If it had not been for the concrete
barrier, we would have hit 18 wheelers coming towards us on the two lane
highway. Being on a bridge and blowing the passenger side tire is
equally frightening. 2.If a blown out tire looks unusual; photograph it
and send it to the maker for examination. Reputable companies don't want
the negative publicity. 3.Factory recommendations for tire pressure used
to be low for ride quality. Dealers may do this also to impress you as
you test drive an empty rig. Inflate the tires to tire maker settings
and the rig rides hard and sounds like it might shake its self apart.
4.Check your rig for items that can snag on the tire if an airbag is
low. Ours had a slide-out jack shaft that could have punctured a tire if
the airbag went low or the coach got into a harmonic bounce like air
bags can do on a dippy highway. I hack sawed off the extension after
consulting with the factory. They agreed with my concern but had never
made a recall. 5.Lastly and perhaps the most important learning for me
was what to do when a blowout happens on the front end. The state
trouper who investigated the accident asked what I did to control the
coach. I said I tried to maintain speed and gradually let the coach slow
as I tried in vain to control it. He said "WRONG". He went on the say he
taught trucker defensive driving and that for heavy rigs; one need to do
what IS NOT A NATURAL REACTION...immediately push the accelerator to the
floor!! I had a hard time thinking this was the correct thing but he
explained that the large mass of the heavy vehicle combined with the
velocity makes for too much sideways momentum once the rig starts going
to the right or left. He said the only way to overcome this is to get
the two rear wheels pushing forward and with great force. I still had a
hard time accepting this so the first time I filled up, a trucker who
noticed the extensive damage confirmed what one should do. He said "it
ain't the natural thing to do but us truckers are trained to put the
pedal to the metal as soon as the front tire blows". I hope this helps
others...and they should get a steering aid of some type on your heavy


3. Recipe

LEMON GARLIC ALASKA SALMON * 2 tbsp. butter* * 2 tsp. minced garlic * 1
tsp. lemon pepper * 2 (4 to 6 oz. each) Alaska Salmon fillets, thawed if
necessary * lemon wedges Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high
heat. Stir in garlic. Season salmon fillets or steaks on both sides with
lemon pepper. Place fillets or steaks in pan and cook for 10 minutes per
inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until fish flakes when
tested with a fork. Flip fillets or steaks halfway through cooking to
brown on both sides. Sprinkle with lemon juice before serving. Serves 2
*If desired, olive oil may be substituted for butter. Thanks to the
Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute freeship46

4. Good Will Ambassadors Needed

Intro to Goodwill Ambassador Program Goodwill Ambassadors serve as
Camping World's #1 contact with our customers in campgrounds, at RV
shows and RV rallies. Goodwill Ambassadors distribute Camping World
flyers and promotional materials to local campgrounds during a 5-day
time period each month. They develop friendly relationships and build
good rapport with both campground management and RVers. Goodwill
Ambassadors sometimes sponsor events held at local campgrounds. At local
rallies and RV trade shows, the Ambassadors set up a booth and
distribute flyers, catalogs and other Camping World promotional
materials. Goodwill Ambassadors' assignments are seasonally-based, with
seasons varying between 5 to 6 months. Most Goodwill Ambassadors cover
one store during the summer months and another store in the winter
months. Goodwill Ambassadors are considered Camping World Independent
Contractors. As such, they are reimbursed for mileage, campground fees
and other Goodwill Ambassador-related expenses. In addition, they are
paid a modest monthly stipend. Goodwill Ambassadors also enjoy free
memberships in the President's Club, Good Sam Club, Roadcare, and
receive merchandise discounts. A friendly, outgoing personality is very
much welcomed! This program is fun and a great way to meet many other
people involved in RVing. Camp Host US sponsor link
Camp Host US
At School Crossings
Heed Instructions
Protect Our Little
Tax Deductions
Burma Shave

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