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October 25, 2001
Tax Break Expected for Time Donors
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rity programs that let employees swap unused leave time for employer contributions toward terrorism relief could get a boost from a new IRS policy, according to USA Today.

The newspaper reported in its Wednesday editions that it expected an IRS announcement clarifying that, for workers, such arrangements will be a non-issue on tax returns.

The IRS says it won't view the programs as giving workers any taxable benefit from their employer. Nor will IRS permit the worker to deduct the amount donated by the employer, USA reported.

Rob Hanson, a Treasury Department lawyer, said the notice stems from inquiries from firms wanting to set up such programs to help victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. The programs are a variation of longstanding policies allowing workers to shift accumulated leave time to co-workers who are sick or injured.

Hanson told USA Today that the new variation should appeal to cash-strapped workers who want to aid in the relief.

The programs are likely to be most popular with companies that permit unused leave to be carried over year-to-year. In such cases, workers would lop a few days off the pay due them for unused leave.

In instances where leave isn't carried over, the employer would be liable not only for a worker's full pay, but whatever charitable contribution that would be generated by surrendering leave time.

Corporate payments to relief efforts will be deductible to the employer as a charitable contribution, IRS says. The policy applies to contributions made through 2002, giving time to make permanent rules.

To view the USA Today article, click here.


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