Categorized | Volunteering

Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act poised for Obama signature


The House of Representatives passed legislation Monday sponsored by Sens. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Dean Heller (R-NV), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that provides expedited tax relief for Americans making charitable donations in support of Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts in the Philippines.

The bill was sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA).

The bipartisan Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act is intended to spur donations to charitable organizations by allowing taxpayers who donate to the relief efforts now to receive tax benefits on their 2013 tax returns.

“I am pleased that this bill is on its way for the president’s signature. Given the great deal of help still needed, the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act will help spur another round of new contributions when charitable giving has tapered off and help American families get more back from their tax returns this year,” Hirono said.

“Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, leaving many in need of a home and a steady supply of food, clean water and medical supplies. This bill will allow for relief work to continue in the aftermath of this terrible storm,” said Heller, the bill’s Republican sponsor. “I am grateful for the hard work that Sen. Hirono has put into this legislation, and for the advocacy of Reps. Joe Heck, Eric Swalwell, Mike Thompson and others in the House of Representatives.”

“I am so pleased this important bill is on the way to the President’s desk for his signature,” Reid said. “We must do everything we can to help the Philippines after the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan. The stories I have heard from the thousands of Filipino-American families in Nevada are heartbreaking and this soon-to-be law will help spur donations and giving to continue in the relief efforts.”

“I am very glad that we are taking this significant step forward to help incentivize and facilitate charitable donations as the Philippines continues its long path to recovery from Typhoon Haiyan,” Menendez said. “I sincerely hope this commonsense, bipartisan legislation helps spur a new wave of contributions from taxpayers looking to make a difference in the relief efforts.”

“Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, affecting 16 million people. Recovery has only just begun and resources are badly needed for humanitarian assistance and rebuilding efforts,” Swalwell said. “I am privileged to represent a vibrant and dynamic Filipino population in the East Bay, many of whom have expressed their concerns about friends and family displaced by the storm. I take pride that the first bill I passed in the House of Representatives will speed recovery in an area that desperately needs support.”

“I am proud that this bill has passed the House. Now we need to get it onto the President’s desk so that people are encouraged to donate to the relief efforts,” Thompson said. “A lot of people in our communities have family and friends who were impacted by the typhoon. Passing this bill will help make sure aid keeps coming during these early stages of a long-term rebuilding effort.”

The Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act is supported by groups such as the Consuelo Foundation and Filipino Community Center.

“It has been truly heartbreaking to witness the death and destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Many families are still struggling to rebuild their lives, facing displacement and hunger. Everybody can make a difference, even if it’s donating just a little bit. Mahalo to Sen. Hirono and her colleagues for encouraging Americans to contribute,” said Edmund Aczon, Chairman of the Filipino Community Center Board of Directors.

While there was an immediate outpouring of donations and other assistance following the immense destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan this November, the length of the rebuilding process means contributions are still needed now and in the months ahead.

The tax code provides a delayed incentive for making charitable contributions. Taxpayers can claim a tax deduction for contributions they make to charities, but they receive the tax incentive many months later after they file their tax returns the following year. The Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act eliminates this delay.

The bill would allow taxpayers who donate to the relief efforts in the Philippines after the President’s signature and before April 15, 2014 to take the charitable deduction when they file their 2013 tax returns.

Taxpayers who donate in this timeframe but have already filed their taxes can amend their tax returns to receive these benefits this year.

Hirono, Heller, Menendez and Reid have also worked to support Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts by calling on the Obama Administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Filipino nationals currently residing in the United States.

Designed as an emergency measure for nations facing extreme hardships, TPS would allow Filipino nationals without permanent resident status to continue to stay in the US and provide working authorization temporarily until TPS status ends.

Hirono also recently penned an op-ed in The Hill to drum up support for TPS and the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard co-sponsored Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has announced that legislation she co-sponsored to offer tax relief on charitable donations to the Philippines has passed the House of Representatives.

The Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act, H.R. 3771, will allow Americans who made donations for storm relief and recovery in the Philippines to deduct them from their 2013 taxes. Under this bill, donations must be made after the president signs this bill into law and before April 15, 2014 in order to qualify.

“In the past several months, people in Hawaii and across the country have shown a tremendous outpouring of compassion and support for so many of our friends and family who were deeply impacted by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan,” said Gabbard, who spoke in support of the Philippines after the storm. “The legislation we passed in the House today will ease the tax burden for those who donated so generously to our friends and families in the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan’s destruction is almost incomprehensible, but the people of the Philippines have shown great resolve to move forward and rebuild their lives and their communities. I continue to pray for those who lost loved ones, and I encourage everyone to not forget that there is still so much work to be done, and to consider how we can help in their efforts.”

Legislation to provide tax incentives for charitable giving was also enacted following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

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