President Obama finally addressed the public stating that the Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa is a public health emergency,a humanitarian crisis, and a national security priority. His belief is in order to keep us safe here at home, we need to stop it at the source. Due to the urgent need of charitable donations in West Africa, the Internal Revenue Service has announced that they will offer a tax deduction for qualified expenses and donations.
Some employers may soon offer an adopted leave-based donation programs to aid victims in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The program will allow for employees to voluntarily donate vacation, sick, or personal leave time in exchange for the monetary cash value to be donated. As long as the employer makes the donation before January 1, 2016 to an approved organization that is providing medical services or supplies for the relief of victims of the Ebola outbreak, that amount will not be considered part of the employees gross income or wages. For more information visit the IRS website here.
Another aspect of this program is if an employer-sponsored charitable organization has an employee living in one of the affected areas in West Africa and they receive reimbursement for medical expenses due to the Ebola outbreak then that amount may not be included in the employees gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
As well if an employee of a company in America is in Liberia and in quarantine in an affected area with the American company is paying for employee’s rent, living and transportation services due to the quarantine then the amount of those payments may not be included in the employees gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes either.
We are all for taking a well needed vacation. If you have a client that has more vacation than they can use or needs the tax credit, this option beats an out of pocket expense if this is a cause your client can get behind.