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President Obama Signed Hirono’s Bill Late Last Night

Late last night, President Obama signed into law Senator Mazie K. Hirono’s Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act, which is intended to spur donations to charitable organizations by providing expedited tax relief for Americans contributing to Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts in the Philippines. Taxpayers can claim donations made between now and April 15 on their 2013 tax returns instead of waiting until next year to claim them on their 2014 returns. Taxpayers who have already filed their taxes for 2013 but wish to donate can still do so and then amend their tax returns to take advantage of this new tax incentive.

Click here for a fact sheet on the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act:

“The world watched in horror as Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines and left more than 6,000 people dead, 27,000 injured and 4 million displaced. While nations and individuals around the world sent their support and millions of dollars in aid following the tragedy, many communities in the Philippines are still struggling to recover. Nearly five months later, we can’t lose sight of the loved ones who are still missing, families that are still homeless. Stories are still coming out from places like Tacloban, where a little more than half the city has electricity and 20,000 people are still homeless.

“Now that President Obama has signed the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act into law, taxpayers will have until April 15 to make a contribution to Haiayan relief efforts. Time is of the essence, and I commend the Filipino American community groups who are urgently working to spur another round of critical contributions,” said Hirono.

Groups such as the Consuelo Foundation and Filipino Community Center also praised the law’s passage.

“In the Philippines, I saw for myself the heartbreaking destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan. Many of the affected regions are just beginning to recover. Towns are without electricity, new beams are just starting to go up in schools and thousands of victims still need basic necessities. This supportive law will further bolster our relief efforts, especially now that the initial media coverage of the disaster has faded from public view. We have worked closely with the FilCom Center in raising much-needed funds to support the hardest hit areas of the Philippines. And now, thanks to the hard work of Senator Hirono in Washington, DC, we have yet another tool to encourage others to lend their support to this worthy cause,” said Jon Matsuoka, president & CEO of the Consuelo Foundation.

"It's been five months since Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines. Help is still desperately needed following the worst typhoon in the world's history. I have seen the devastation first-hand and the need is almost overwhelming," said Constance Lau, chair of the Consuelo Foundation board and president and CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries. “Our undying gratitude to Senator Hirono for getting Americans this one-time tax break to donate before April 15, 2014 and take a tax deduction on their 2013 taxes. The timely passage of this law provides a much-needed boost in ongoing efforts to raise critical funds. I encourage everyone to please donate and take advantage of this very special one-time tax relief opportunity.”

The bipartisan Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act is intended to spur donations to charitable organizations by allowing taxpayers who donate to the relief efforts to receive tax benefits nearly a year faster than usual. While there was an immediate outpouring of donations and other assistance following the immense destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan this November, the length of the rebuilding process means contributions are still needed now and in the months ahead. This is Hirono’s first stand-alone bill to be signed into law.

Groups and individuals trying to raise awareness of the new push for donations can use the hashtag #HaiyanReliefByApril15 on social media.

Hirono also supports Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts by continuing to urge the Obama administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Filipino nationals currently residing in the United States.