December 13, 2013

SENS. HIRONO, HELLER, REPS. SWALWELL, THOMPSON INTRODUCE BILL TO PROVIDE EXPEDITED TAX RELIEF FOR DONATIONS TO TYPHOON HAIYAN RECOVERY EFFORTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Dean Heller (R-NV) and Representatives Eric Swalwell (CA-15) and Mike Thompson (CA-05) introduced the bipartisan Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act, legislation that provides expedited tax relief for Americans making charitable donations in support of Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts in the Philippines. 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 bill 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.

“With up to 6,000 casualties, almost 1,800 missing people and more than a million destroyed houses in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, it is clear that our work to help this community rebuild is not over. We simply cannot wait to support recovery efforts in the Philippines. To help all families during the holiday, the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act will boost charitable giving by providing tax relief this year for those who donate to help communities rebuild homes, schools and roads,” said Senator Hirono.

“It has been truly heartbreaking to witness the death and destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Many families are still struggling to rebuild their lives, facing displacement and hunger. Everybody can make a difference, even if it’s donating just a little bit. Mahalo to Senator Hirono and her colleagues for encouraging Americans to contribute this holiday season,” said Edmund Aczon, Chairman of the Filipino Community Center Board of Directors.

“In the wake of the tremendous devastation suffered by the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Haiyan, many Americans have sprung into action to help provide assistance. Considering so many individuals are still in need, I hope this change will encourage Americans to continue their generous giving to those suffering in the Philippines. I am pleased to work with Senator Hirono and my colleagues in the House of Representatives on this legislation, which allows those who want to donate after the first of the year to benefit from the tax deduction more quickly,” said Senator Heller.

“Typhoon Haiyan devastated many parts of the Philippines and we should make it as easy as possible for Americans who want to assist those affected by the storm,” said Congressman Swalwell. “I'm proud to represent a vibrant Filipino community and have witnessed an outpouring of support for storm victims at this critical time. This legislation I'm sponsoring will provide another incentive for Americans to donate and donate now – when their help is needed most.”

“When tragedy strikes around the world, the folks in our country don’t sit on the sideline – they help,” said Congressman Thompson. “Our allies in the Philippines are still in the early stages of a long-term rebuilding effort and this bipartisan legislation will make sure that our communities are able to provide the help our friends need during this important phase of rebuilding and recovery.”

The tax code provides a delayed incentive for making charitable contributions. Taxpayers can claim a tax deduction for contributions they make to charities, but they receive the tax incentive many months later after they file their tax returns the following year. The Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act eliminates this delay. The bill would allow taxpayers who donate to the relief efforts in the Philippines before March 1, 2014 to take the charitable deduction when they file their 2013 tax returns. Original co-sponsors of the bill also include Reps. Darrell Issa, Joe Heck, Mike Honda, Jackie Speier, Judy Chu, Madeleine Bordallo, Al Green, Colleen Hanabusa, and Juan Vargas.