WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan legislation supported by Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) and passed by the U.S House will help earthquake victims in Haiti by offering an immediate tax benefit to Americans who make charitable contributions to aid the region. The bill allows individuals to claim donations to the relief effort made in January 2010 as itemized deductions on their January 2009 (Now through March 1) tax return, instead of waiting to claim it on their 2010 return.

“None of us can look at the devastation in Haiti without being moved to action, and I’m grateful for the outpouring of support from my constituents and people across the country,” said Congressman Himes. “All donations, large and small, are critical to providing the resources necessary for the relief effort in Haiti, and this legislation will hopefully spur even more assistance.”

This measure will promote timely giving to Haiti by providing Americans with an immediate income tax benefit that individuals can claim in 2009, instead of 2010. The bill would also make clear that the many taxpayers making a charitable contribution to victims of the Haiti earthquake through a text message will be able to rely on their cell phone bill when claiming a charitable donation.

In addition to this measure, the House of Representatives also passed a resolution expressing condolences to the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of January 12th, 2010.

In January of 2005, Congress enacted similar tax provisions for individuals that made charitable contributions to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami that occurred in late December of 2004. That bill (H.R. 241 in the 109th Congress) passed the House of Representatives without objection and subsequently passed the Senate by unanimous consent.