Americans are responding with generosity and compassion to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, donating their hard-earned money and time — which can literally mean the difference between life and death to many Haitians and others struggling through this tragedy and devastation. Today, the House unanimously passed legislation (HR 4462) to provide an immediate benefit for those who have already given and incentive for those who are considering a charitable contribution.
The legislation allows individuals making a charitable contribution after January 11th and before March 1st to victims of the earthquake in Haiti to claim these charitable contributions on their 2009 tax return. Without this change, taxpayers would need to wait until next year to claim a deduction for these contributions on their 2010 tax return. The bill also includes a provision allowing those who text messaged a donation the ability to use a phone bill as proof of donation. Read the bill»
Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), an original cosponsor, on the bill:
I believe that all of us who are familiar with the various areas of our great country know that it all depends upon where you live as to what kind of catastrophic event you can expect to visit your community. For many of us it may be a dust storm. For others like my area of the country, it's hurricanes. For others, it could very well be an earthquake.
All of us are but the sum total of our experiences. I believe that it is this vast and broad level of experiences that the people of these United States of America are going to call upon in order to respond to the people of Haiti. And for us to offer all Americans the opportunity to deduct on their 2009 taxes any contribution they make to this effort by the 28th of February, will go a long way toward incenting the kind of behavior we think is very, very important.
I want to thank the sponsors of this legislation. It is one way that we can say to the people of this nation that Americans do not just sympathize with them, but we empathize as well. Thank you, Madam Speaker. I yield back my time.