IRS Notice 2020-46 addresses the tax treatment of employees who elect to have their employers donate sick, vacation or personal leave as cash payments to charitable organizations that provide relief to victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Notice provides that the donated leave should be not be treated as W-2 wages to the donating employees. The donated leave should not be included in Box 1 [wages subject to income tax], Box 3 [wages subject to Social Security tax] or Box 5 [wages subject to Medicare tax] of the Form W-2. But employees may not claim a charitable contribution deduction for the value of the donated leave.
The Notice also provides that an employer making the cash payments of the donated leave to a charitable organization may either claim a charitable contribution deduction for the payments or a compensation deduction.
The tax treatment provided by the Notice is essentially identical to prior IRS guidance regarding leave-based donations made regarding Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Irma, and the Ebola Virus.
Please contact a team member or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work if you have questions or need assistance.