IRS ruling helps employers and employees help pandemic victims

In Notice 2020-46, the IRS said compensation treatment will not be triggered when an employer makes cash payments to a charitable organization based on employees’ forgoing vacation, personal, or sick days. So-called “leave donation programs” are becoming popular ways for employees to make meaningful contributions to organizations in need. To qualify, an employer’s payments must benefit victims in that geographic area, and payments must be made in 2020. The foregone leave won’t be treated as gross income to employees. Furthermore, the employer may deduct the payments as a charitable contribution or business expense, if otherwise eligible.