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Reed Bill would Provide Tax Relief to Federally-Declared Natural Disasters

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Washington, DC, August 5, 2014 | comments

Tom Reed has introduced a bill to help victims of natural disasters recover faster with tax relief to alleviate cleanup and rebuilding expenses. The bipartisan National Disaster Relief Tax Act will provide tax relief to communities across the country devastated in a presidentially-declared disaster in recent years.

“It’s only fair communities hit hard by recent natural disasters get the same care and opportunities to rebuild that other parts of the country received,” Reed said. “Right now, there’s no consistency in tax relief for natural disasters and that’s putting a real strain on anyone trying to get back on their own two feet. Families that recently went through a natural disaster fairly deserve the same treatment Congress has historically given to the families of natural disasters in years past.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), who joined Reed to introduce the bill said, “It is imperative that we use the tax code to help victims and local governments meet challenges they face following a disaster. I fought for tax relief for Sandy victims because they deserved every possible resource to help them rebuild, and I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to expand the reach of our recovery policies. Instead of being left holding the bag, these victims deserve the same care that other regions received following similar disasters.”

Congress has historically helped disaster-hit communities rebuild with tax relief provisions as it did in the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma and Ike; Tropical Storm Irene; tornadoes in Kansas, Alabama and Oklahoma; and flooding and landslides that struck Colorado and Washington. Reed’s bill would extend that relief to disasters that happened since 2011.

"Even with the long history of providing this relief to communities across the country, Congress has only done so in an ad hoc way, leaving out dozens more federally-declared disasters including Hurricane Sandy, the second-costliest natural disaster in the history of our country and recent flooding that devastated parts of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes,” Reed continued. “Those communities need help just like any other community left in the wake of a federally-declared natural disaster.”

Reed’s bill uses tax provisions commonly used in other disaster relief bills to help communities recover, including:  

·         Allows for greater disaster-related charitable contributions;

·         Makes it easier for individuals to deduct disaster-related losses;

·         Provides additional tax credits to rebuild disaster areas and provide low income housing;

·         Waives the threshold for individuals to claim losses to their property, including homes and cars.

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