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Tax relief for Haitian help

Published (3/4/2010)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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People donating financially to organizations providing earthquake relief in Haiti can choose to claim the charitable contribution on their 2009 itemized federal tax return, rather than the 2010 return.

Sponsored by Rep. Ann Lenczewski (DFL-Bloomington) and Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), HF2763/ SF2352* would allow the same accelerated deduction on state income tax returns.

The bill was passed 56-0 by the Senate Feb. 18; however, an effective date was inadvertently left off the bill. Amended to an effective date for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, the bill was passed 131-0 by the House March 1. It took a short detour back to the Senate and was passed 59-0 on March 4. It now awaits action by the governor.

Lenczewski said the expected net cost to the state is $10,000.

The federal special tax relief provision was enacted Jan. 22, to make deductible monetary contributions to qualifying charitable organizations that are assisting with relief efforts in Haiti following the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Only cash contributions made to qualifying charities between Jan. 12, 2010, and Feb. 28, 2010, are eligible for the federal deduction, according to Internal Revenue Service regulations. This includes contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card.

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