Lincoln cosponsor of (HAITI) Act as Senate Unanimously Approves Plan

Washington – As Arkansans continue to donate generously to the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln today voted legislation that will make it easier to contribute to these programs.
Lincoln is an original cosponsor of the Haiti Assistance Income Tax Incentive (HAITI) Act, legislation that will allow U.S. taxpayers to make charitable contributions to Haiti relief programs until March 1, 2010 and still claim those contributions on their 2009 income tax return. President Obama is expected to sign the bill this week.

“The humanitarian tragedy in Haiti continues to escalate each day, and for those of us seeing the images back home, the death toll and destruction is heartbreaking,” Lincoln said. “I am proud of the Arkansans, including our service members and National Guard, who have risen to aid Haiti by donating their time, their medical expertise, their spiritual guidance and their financial resources.

“Many Arkansas families are struggling through difficult economic times right now, but for those who are able to make cash donations, this legislation will make it easier to do so.”

The proposal is similar to legislation passed unanimously in 2005 following the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.  That legislation allowed 2005 charitable donations to be counted toward 2004 tax returns.  Under current law, taxpayers would have to wait until next year’s filing season to claim a tax deduction for Haiti-related contributions.  This proposal is limited to cash contributions made specifically for Haiti disaster relief.

This tax proposal will give Americans an added incentive to donate immediately and provide relief organizations with cash support. Many relief organizations have asked for cash donations, which actually helps save money by eliminating shipping costs to transport goods from the U.S. and allows cash to flow into local economies, stimulating recovery and growth.

Lincoln warned Arkansans to be weary of donating to organizations with which they are not familiar and to give to organizations they know and trust.