The House unanimously approved bipartisan legislation on Wednesday to allow individuals who make charitable contributions to victims of the earthquake in Chile (prior to April 15, 2010) to claim an itemized charitable deduction on their 2009 tax return instead of having to wait until next year to claim these deductions on their 2010 tax return. 

The bill, H.R. 4783, also includes a provision that would extend the ability to claim the charitable deduction for contributions made to assist victims of the earthquake in Haiti to the same date on 2009 tax returns. The bipartisan measure was introduced Tuesday by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander M. Levin, D-Mich., and ranking member Dave Camp, R-Mich.

“After seeing the immense devastation caused by the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti, we all want to ensure that the American people can join together to express our support and our alliance with the people of these two countries,” said Levin in a statement.

“I am pleased that this important legislation passed the House unanimously, showing the desire of the Congress to find ways to help the victims of the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti,” said Camp in a statement. “I hope it will be promptly passed by the Senate and get the President’s signature.”

On Jan. 20, 2010, the House unanimously passed H.R. 4462, legislation that allows individuals who make charitable contributions to assist victims of the earthquake in Haiti to claim an itemized charitable deduction on their 2009 tax return. President Obama signed the bill into law on Jan. 22, 2010.

In January 2005, Congress enacted similar relief for individuals who made charitable contributions to assist victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred in late December of 2004. That bill (H.R. 241 in the 109th Congress) passed the House without objection and subsequently passed the Senate by unanimous consent


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