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Donated Time-Off Not Included in Income for Hurricane Relief

The IRS is encouraging leave-based donation programs to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. Employees may forgo their time-off in exchange for cash payments the employer makes to charitable organizations who provide relief for victims of this recent disaster. The donated cash, instead of vacation, sick or personal leave, will not be included in the income or wages of the employees. While their employers can deduct these charitable contributions as business expenses, they must be made before Jan. 1, 2019.

The IRS provided similar programs following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, and last year’s Hurricane Matthew to help with the severe flooding in Louisiana.

Details of this relief are in Notice 2017-48, posted this week at IRS.gov. Information on other tax relief available to victims of Hurricane Harvey can be found at www.irs.gov/hurricaneharvey. For information on government-wide relief efforts, visit www.usa.gov/hurricane-harvey.