HOU-15-2016 Sept. 19, 2016 WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service announced special relief intended to support leave-based donation programs to aid victims who have suffered from the extraordinary destruction caused by last month’s severe storms and flooding in Louisiana. Under these programs, employees may forgo their vacation, sick or personal leave in exchange for cash payments the employer makes, before Jan. 1, 2018, to charitable organizations providing relief for the victims of this disaster. Under this special relief, the donated leave will not be included in the income or wages of the employees. Employers will be permitted to deduct the cash payments as business expenses. This relief is similar to that provided following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. Details on this relief are in Notice 2016-55, posted Friday on IRS.gov. The IRS continues to monitor the situation and will provide, as needed, additional relief related to the storms and flooding in Louisiana.