Senate passes bill to permit 2010 Haitian relief contributions to be deducted on 2009 returns

RIA Checkpoint reports that on January 21, the Senate by voice vote approved H.R. 4462, a bill that would allow donors to accelerate the income tax benefits of charitable cash contributions for the relief of victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The bill had previously been passed by the House on January 20 by voice. The bill is now cleared for signature by the President, which is expected to occur this week.

When signed the bill will allow individuals who make charitable contributions to aid Haitian earthquake victims to elect to claim an itemized charitable deduction on their 2009 tax return (instead of having to wait until next year to claim the deductions on their 2010 tax return). The election would apply only to Haitian relief contributions made in cash after Jan. 11, 2010, and before Mar. 1, 2010. If the election is made, Haiti relief donations would be deductible on the 2009 return, not the 2010 return.

The bill also would relieve recordkeeping requirements for Haitian relief contributions. For these contributions, a telephone bill would satisfy the Internal Revenue Code recordkeeping requirements if it shows the name of the donee organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.