WASHINGTON, DC-Last night President Obama signed into law HR 4462, bipartisan legislation to allow individuals who make contributions to the relief effort in Haiti to claim the donations as an itemized charitable deduction 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.  Those who make a contribution by text, may use their cell phone bill to claim the deduction. Majority Whip Clyburn who is coordinating legislative efforts in the House in response to the earthquake in Haiti, praised the quick action on this measure:

“I’m pleased that Congress and the President acted so swiftly to allow people an immediate deduction on their 2009 tax returns for contributions to Haiti relief,” said Clyburn.  “The American people have opened their hearts and their wallets to this effort, and I hope that this simple, but impactful policy will further encourage such generosity.”

The bill was offered by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor along with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI).  Text of the legislation is available here.   Congress passed similar legislation (HR 241) in January of 2005 in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami.