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The Haiti earthquake was in 2010, but lawmakers are allowing charitable tax deductions for Haiti relief contributions in the 2009 income tax calculation.
We've already discussed the tax benefits of donating to Haiti relief in an earlier post in this blog. But now, 2009 taxpayers have an added tax incentive to donate to Haiti.
In January of this year, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure to allow the deductions of cash donations to Haiti earthquake relief on the donor's 2009 tax returns, instead of having to wait until 2010 to take the charitable tax deductions. The measure allows this deduction for donations made between January 12 and February 28.
Here's the interesting part about the new measure -- a donor can also deduct those $10 text-for-Haiti messages. In order to substantiate those donations, the donor would need to keep their cell phone records on file.
The Congressional intent behind this measure is simple. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Charles Rangel (D-NY) said that the bill was to provide "immediate benefit for those who have already given and an incentive for those who are considering giving."
Of course, it's important to note that such charitable deductions are only for households who itemize their deductions instead of taking the standard deduction.
The Internal Revenue Service also reminds donors that the donation must be made through a qualified charity and not be designated for the benefit of a specific individual or family.
So if you itemize your income tax calculation and you are considering a Haiti relief contribution, go ahead and make that donation. You still a few more weeks until February 28!