The Senate has unanimously passed legislation that allows taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions to aid victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

The bill was passed Thursday, a day after the House also unanimously approved the bill (see House Unanimously Passes Haiti Tax Deduction Bill).

The law allows U.S. taxpayers to make charitable contributions to Haiti relief programs before March 1, 2010, and claim those contributions on their 2009 income tax return. The legislation also includes a provision allowing those who text-messaged a donation the ability to use a phone bill as proof of their donation. 

The House bill, H.R. 4462, is identical to S. 2936, the Haiti Assistance Income Tax Incentive Act, legislation that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced Wednesday. Senators Charles Schumer, D‐N.Y., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D‐N.Y., also worked closely with the Finance Committee leaders in developing the legislation. President Obama is expected to sign the bill this week.

“Today, Congress unanimously agreed to extend the tax deadline for charitable giving so Americans can continue to help the relief efforts in Haiti,” Baucus said in a statement.

The bill is similar to 2005 legislation to encourage Indian Ocean tsunami relief donations and allows taxpayers to deduct cash donations made to Haiti relief efforts on their 2009 tax filings.

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