Thursday, January 21, 2010

House Votes for Faster Tax Breaks for Haiti Gifts

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve a bill allowing taxpayers to write-off donations made to Haitian relief efforts on their 2009 tax returns. According to this article from the Washington Post, the Senate is expected to act quickly on the popular legislation.

Under current law, donors would have to wait until they file their 2010 returns next year to take the deductions. But the newly advanced bill would allow donations made by the end of February to be deducted from 2009 returns.

The bill passed on a voice vote with no opposition. Quick Senate action is expected. A similar law was enacted in 2005 for donations to victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004.

"It's a simple gesture but it will encourage giving in this challenging economy," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

Last week's quake killed an estimated 200,000 people in Haiti, left 250,000 injured and made 1.5 million homeless, according to the European Union Commission. A powerful aftershock caused even more damage Wednesday.

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