A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress plan to introduce legislation that would allow individuals who make charitable contributions to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti to claim an itemized charitable deduction on their tax return this year instead of waiting until next year.

The legislation is backed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; ranking member Dave Camp, R-Mich.; majority whip James Clyburn, D-S.C.; and House Republican whip Eric Cantor, R.-Va.

“The American people are responding with generosity and compassion to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, donating their hard-earned money and time so that those who are suffering may soon find relief,” said Rangel in a statement. “This measure provides an immediate benefit for those who have already given and incentive for those who are considering a charitable contribution.”

In January of 2005, Congress enacted this type of relief for individuals who made charitable contributions to 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 of Representatives without objection and subsequently passed the Senate by unanimous consent.

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