Disciples News Service

Congress Passes Haiti Assistance Income Tax Relief Act

The Senate and House have unanimously passed legislation that allows taxpayers to deduct cash charitable contributions to aid victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The bill was signed by President Obama on Friday, January 22, 2010. This includes contributions to local congregations designated for Week of Compassion Haiti Relief.

Under this law, a donor who makes a cash contribution for the relief of Haitian earthquake victims after January 11, 2010 and before March 1, 2010 can take a tax deduction for the gift for either 2009 or 2010. The law refers to this as an "acceleration" of the contribution deduction, since it may be claimed on the tax return filed for 2009, even though given in 2010.

Churches that receive gifts from members are not required to issue a second contribution letter to members who choose the accelerated method. Members who make gifts to their church for Week of Compassion Haiti Relief and who choose the accelerated contribution method are required to keep their own record of the contribution. When their 2010 statement is issued from the congregation, the donor is expected to modify their deduction on their 2010 Tax Forms. Members who took the accelerated method are advised to keep a second copy of the 2010 contribution statement from the church with their 2009 tax records.

The law addresses the Federal contribution deduction. Donors will need to check their own states’ for conformity and should consult with their tax advisor.

For more information, see: www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=218678,00.html?portlet=7