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.

House eyes last-minute tax break for Chile donations

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Taxpayers may still be able to deduct last-minute donations to Chile earthquake relief from their 2009 taxes, if a bipartisan bill introduced in the House on Tuesday is signed into law.

Two representatives from Michigan -- Sander Levin, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, and Dave Camp, a Republican on the committee -- introduced the bill, which would allow taxpayers to deduct these charitable donations from their 2009 taxes instead of having to wait until next year.

"Millions of families have given selflessly, even in uncertain economic times, so that those struck by natural disaster may begin rebuilding their lives," Levin said in a statement. "This bill will encourage those who are considering a donation to take action now."

Donations to Chile would have to be made before the April 15 filing deadline to qualify for a 2009 deduction.

As for taxpayers who may have already filed their 2009 returns -- that's not a problem, said Jackie Perlman, a tax analyst with The Tax Institute at H&R Block. If the law passes, taxpayers can still take advantage of the 2009 deduction by filing an amendment through the 1040-X, a form for making changes to a tax return after it's filed.

Or, they can simply wait to file their deduction until next year instead, she said.

Perlman also cautions donors to beware of scammers and make sure they're only donating to qualified, tax-exempt charities. Taxpayers interested in the deduction should note that the bill has merely been introduced -- it's not a law, just yet.

"You're certainly more than welcome to make a donation to Chile earthquake relief but if you're assuming the bill is going to pass, that may not be wise," Perlman said. "You always want to wait until it's a done deal."

Haiti's top corporate donors

In January, Congress unanimously passed a law that makes donations to Haiti tax deductible in the 2009 tax year, if the donations were made between January 11 and March 1. President Obama signed the bill into law on January 22.

The bill introduced today would also extend the deadline for tax-deductible Haiti donations to April 15.

Chilean officials estimate that some 2 million people have been affected in one way or another by the earthquake, while 708 have been reported dead. January's earthquake in Haiti left an estimated 212,000 people dead and more than a million homeless. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 22,349.59 -9.64 -0.04%
Nasdaq 6,426.92 4.23 0.07%
S&P 500 2,502.22 1.62 0.06%
Treasuries 2.26 -0.02 -0.70%
Data as of 6:47am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 25.02 -0.14 -0.56%
Advanced Micro Devic... 13.30 -0.11 -0.82%
Apple Inc 151.89 -1.50 -0.98%
General Electric Co 24.87 0.12 0.48%
Ford Motor Co 11.84 0.12 1.02%
Data as of Sep 22
Sponsors

Sections

The shutdown, which raised protests from navigator groups, will occur from midnight to noon on on all but one Sunday. More

As if Uber's new CEO didn't already have his work cut out for him, Dara Khosrowshahi has to deal with losing London. More

When you're making big career decisions, you turn to your mentors and your trusted peers. But how do you find these mentors and trusted peers in the first place? More