The Senate and House have passed a bill that will provide tax relief to the victims of the Virginia Tech University shootings and their families.

After the shootings on April 16, a payment program was established that allowed survivors and the families of the victims to receive cash payments from the university. In lieu of a cash payment, claimants also had the option of donating their payments to a nonprofit organization that funded scholarships at the university. So far, the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund has paid over $8 million to survivors of the attack and family members of those who were killed.

Section 1 of H.R. 4118 excludes from gross income the amounts received by an individual from Virginia Tech under the program out of amounts transferred from the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund established by the Virginia Tech Foundation.

Section 2 of the bill, unrelated to the Virginia Tech shootings, increases the penalty for failure to file a partnership return. Present law imposes a civil penalty of $50 per month per partner for the failure to file a partnership return for each month the failure continues, up to a maximum of five months, in addition to applicable criminal penalties. The provision increases the penalty by $1 per month. The provision is effective for partnership returns required to be filed for a taxable year beginning in 2008.

The Senate version of the legislation was co-sponsored by Jim Webb, D-Va., and John Warner, R-Va. In the House, the bill was co-sponsored by Rick Boucher, D-Va., and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

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