The American people are responding with generosity and compassion to the devastating earthquake, 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. Donors have contributed more than $220-million to major U.S. relief groups, with $22 million made through cell phone text messages.
On January 20th, the House unanimously passed H.R. 4462 to provide an immediate benefit for those who have already given and incentive for those who are considering a charitable contribution and on January 22nd, the President signed the bill into law. We must do everything we can to help the people of Haiti and the aid workers working so feverishly on the ground to help them. The bill 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. Absent 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.
The bipartisan bill was introduced by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) joined Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC), House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), and 152 additional original cosponsors.