Monday, January 25, 2010

New Haiti Tax Deduction Legislation

On January 20, 2010, the House passed H.R. 4462. This bill permits Haiti relief gifts from January 12 to February 28 of 2010 to be deducted on 2009 tax returns. Following the House passage on the unanimous voice vote, the Senate acted quickly on January 21, 2010 to pass the bill. President Obama is expected to sign the bill within the next week.

Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) stated, "Today, Congress unanimously agreed to extend the tax deadline for charitable giving so Americans can continue to help the relief efforts in Haiti." The Ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Charles Grassley (R-IA), continued, "Americans give generously to disaster relief and I hope this extension encourages them to give even more. I also hope Americans will make sure the charities they choose are above board. People should be careful to give only to groups they recognize and trust.

"The bill permits cash gifts (not property gifts) from January 12 to February 28 of 2010 to be deducted on the 2009 tax returns. The gifts must be "for the relief of victims in areas affected by the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010." All qualified charities may receive the gifts, so long as they use the funds appropriately for Haiti relief. Because many individuals have made gifts using their telephone, a deduction is also permitted for cash gifts by phone during the above dates. For a telephone gift, donors should retain the telephone bill with the name of the charity, the date of the gift and the amount of the contribution.

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