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You May Be Able To Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey By Donating Your “Paid Time Off”

October 5th, 2017

You May Be Able To Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey By Donating Your “Paid Time Off”By Louise F. Pongracz

Have you and your co-workers been kicking around ideas about how to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey? The IRS has issued guidance that could give even those with limited cash a way to donate if your employer will donate cash equal to your paid-time-off to certain approved charitable organizations.

Employers can allow employees to give up vacation, sick, or personal leave (“paid-time-off”) where the employer in turn makes cash contributions to IRS-approved charitable relief organizations. Under a leave-based donation program, contributions can be made to organizations including, but not limited to, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Jewish United Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief and the One America Appeal established by former Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Carter.

The IRS provides guidance on how to do this in IRS Notice 2017-48. There, the IRS explains that if an employer makes cash contributions because employees have donated paid-time-off, the IRS will not treat the contributions as taxable income to the employee, although the employee cannot also claim the amount as a charitable deduction on his or her taxes.

Although IRS Notice 2017-48 applies only to Hurricane Harvey, it is likely that the IRS will issue similar guidance for paid-time-off contributions for relief from Hurricane Irma.

If you would like to explore helping victims of Hurricane Harvey through employee donations of paid-time-off, please call any of the benefits attorneys at Willig, Williams & Davidson (215) 656-3600 and we would be delighted to help you.

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