Monday, January 25, 2010

Haiti Update: Congress and the IRS Help Charities Help Haiti

Congress passed, and the President has signed, the bill we mentioned last week to permit individuals and corporations that make cash contributions now (before March 1st) to help victims of Haiti's earthquake to deduct those contributions in 2009 (that is, on the return due by April 15th of this year) instead of in 2010.  H.R. 4462 also provides that telephone bill documentation of text message donations is deemed sufficient recordkeeping for deduction purposes.  The Joint Committee on Taxation published a Technical Explanation of the bill.  In an apparent example of courtesy to former Presidents, the White House blog entry on the bill also identifies the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund as one way to contribute.

At the same time, the IRS announced that the Haiti earthquake is a qualified disaster, which means, among other tax consequences, that employer-sponsored private foundations may make qualified disaster relief payments to employees affected by the earthquake.  The official IRS notice details the definition for such payments.


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