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2009 deductibility of Chile donations

Have you filed your 2009 taxes yet? If you haven't and you contributed to relief efforts in the wake of the massive Chilean earthquake last month, you might want to hold off a bit longer. 

The House yesterday approved a bill that would allow donations to groups providing aid to those affected by the Feb. 27 earthquake centered outside Concepción, Chile, to be counted as 2009 tax deductions as long as they are made by April 15.

News Update: Two strong aftershocks, measured at 7.2 and 6.9 magnitudes, stuck Chile this morning as the country's new president was being sworn into office. They were the strongest aftershocks to date.

The Chile donation bill, H.R. 4783, is similar to the emergency charitable contributions law enacted after the Jan. 11 earthquake in Haiti. 

In fact, this latest charitable deductions measure would extend the tax deduction time frame for deductible charitable gifts made in connection with the Haiti disaster. Donations to Haiti relief also could count as 2009 write-offs as long as they also are made by April 15. Under the earlier law change, that donation deadline was Feb. 28.

Hmmm. Sounds very familiar to my proposal in Chile & charitable tax deduction fairness for permanent changes to charitable donations. I don't know if I should be pleased or troubled that a majority of House members and I are thinking along the same legislative lines.

Bipartisan support: H.R. 4783 was introduced by acting House Ways and Means Committee Chair Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.) and W&M ranking minority member Dave Camp (R-Mich.).

The bill, which passed with no opposition and by voice vote, was designated as an emergency measure. That means it doesn't have to meet the House's "pay as you go" restrictions demanding that any lost revenue be offset by funds from elsewhere.

H.R. 4783 is now in the Senate's hands.

Whether such extended donation deduction options really prompt additional aid is debatable. But the bill apparently has wide bipartisan support, so I expect the Senate to soon act on it favorably.

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