Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Haiti contributions deductible for 2009 taxes

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday that will allow taxpayers to deduct cash donations to Haiti earthquake relief on their 2009 tax returns instead of having to wait to file the claims next year.

Leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee from both parties introduced a bill Tuesday that makes contributions made between Jan. 12 and Feb. 28 count toward an individual's or family's 2009 taxes. The House unanimously approved the measure Wednesday.

The average taxpayer got a refund of $2,753 last year. How do you think your 2009 tax bill will compare?
  • I'll get a refund of at least $2,700
  • I'll get a refund, but less than $2,700
  • I'll owe less than $2,700
  • I'll owe more than $2,700
CDs & Money Market
MMA 0.26%
$10K MMA 0.25%
6 month CD 0.34%
1 yr CD 0.58%
5 yr CD 1.20%

Find personalized rates:

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

The legislation also allows contributions made through text messages to be deducted if cell phone bills are provided as proof of donation.

Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said in a statement that the committee "developed this legislation to make it easier, and encourage people, to donate to the relief efforts in Haiti."

Leaders from the Senate Finance Committee introduced an identical version of the bill Wednesday afternoon. The Senate passed the bill late Thursday.

"Last week, Haiti and the world was reminded Mother Nature knows no deadlines," said Finance Committee Max Baucus, D-Mont., in a prepared statement.

Similar legislation was passed in 2005 to boost contributions in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred in late 2004.

Typically, charitable contributions count toward the year in which they are made. The current measure means taxpayers don't have to wait until next year to claim the benefit on their 2010 tax returns.

Factoring in the deduction: The Haiti relief contribution will count as an itemized charitable deduction. Itemized deductions are typically taken when an individual exceeds the standard deduction.

For 2009, the standard deduction for those 65 and under is $11,400 if married filing jointly or a qualifying widow, $8,350 if filing as a head of household, $5,700 if single and $5,700 if married filing separately.

If your adjusted gross income for 2009 tops $166,800 or $83,400 if married and filing separately, your charitable contribution is subject to the reduction of itemized contributions, usually 1%.

For cash contributions, the deducted ceiling is typically 50% of adjusted gross income, although in 2005, Congress passed legislation allowing 100% of income.

Were you placed in a HAMP trial modification but denied a permanent modification? What are you doing now? If you are in this situation, please send an email to realstories@cnnmoney.com. You could be profiled in an upcoming story. For the CNNMoney.com Comment Policy, click here. To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.49%3.47%
15 yr fixed2.69%2.70%
5/1 ARM2.99%2.99%
30 yr refi3.49%3.49%
15 yr refi2.72%2.72%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
Nasdaq 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
Treasuries 1.74 -0.01 -0.40%
Data as of 6:22pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Reynolds American In... 53.78 6.61 14.01%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 6.68 -0.23 -3.33%
AT&T Inc 37.49 -1.16 -3.00%
Microsoft Corp 59.66 2.41 4.21%
Bank of America Corp... 16.67 0.11 0.66%
Data as of 4:03pm ET


Wells Fargo's vast network of branches hasn't buckled much in recent years. But that may not change, experts say. More

Passes for the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington D.C. are 'sold out' through March 2017. More

A number of popular websites were down for some users on Friday in what appears to be a massive DDoS attack. More

The University of Illinois partnered with Coursera to launch one of the most affordable online MBA programs yet. More