By now, everybody is aware of the sheer devastation inflicted on the people of Haiti by a massive earthquake that struck 9 days ago. It has been estimated that in excess of 200,000 people have been killed or are still missing. The global outpouring of aide & donations are setting records daily. However, in an effort to reward those that have made donations to Haiti–as well as provide an incentive to those that have not–a bi-partisan bill is being introduced by the Leaders of the House Ways & Means Committee that would allow for donations made between January 12 and February 28 to count toward your 2009 taxes, thereby potentially lowering 2009 tax liabilities.
“This measure provides an immediate benefit for those who have already given and incentive for those who are considering a charitable contribution,” Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-NY, said in a prepared statement.
Similar legislation was passed in 2005 to boost contributions in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred in late 2004. Typically, charitable contributions count toward the year in which they are made. The current measure would mean taxpayers don’t have to wait until next year to claim the benefit on their 2010 tax returns.
There are many organizations, charities & relief funds you can donate to. Click here to see some of your available options.
Factoring in the deduction: The Haiti relief contribution would count as an itemized charitable deduction. Itemized deductions are typically taken when an individual exceeds the standard deduction.
For 2009, the standard deduction for those 65 and under is $11,400 if married filing jointly or a qualifying widow, $8,350 if filing as a head of household, $5,700 if single and $5,700 if married filing separately.
If your adjusted gross income for 2009 tops $166,800 or $83,400 if married and filing separately, your charitable contribution is subject to the reduction of itemized contributions, usually 1%.
For cash contributions, the deducted ceiling is typically 50% of adjusted gross income, although in 2005, Congress passed legislation allowing 100% of income.
R&G Brenner encourages donations, regardless of the size. We are also in the process of setting up clothing collections at various R&G Brenner locations. More information about this will follow as we finalize these arrangements. Thank you in advance for helping R&G Brenner help Haiti.
Benjamin K. Brenner, President
UPDATE: The House unanimously approved a measure Wednesday that will allow taxpayers to deduct cash donations to Haiti earthquake relief on their 2009 tax returns instead of having to wait to file the claims next year. The bill also allows contributions made through text messages to be deducted if cell phone bills are provided as proof of donation.
UPDATE: All donations must be made before 2/28/10 in order to be claimed as deductible on your 2009 tax return.