House Okays Tax Breaks for Haiti Gifts

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Taxpayers who give to the Haiti relief effort can write off those donations on their 2009 tax returns.

Under the current law, people who donate would have to wait until they file their 2010 tax returns next year to make deductions.

On Wednesday, the House passed a bill allowing deductions on contributions made before the end of February. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure soon.

"It's a simple gesture, but it will encourage giving in this challenging economy," Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore, said.

"The Red Cross wholeheartedly supports Congress' efforts to aid charitable giving during this time of unprecedented need for Haiti," the American Red Cross said in a statement. "The outpouring of support from the American public is making it into the hands of the Haitian people, and this legislation will help us provide even more help and hope to survivors."

Last week's quake killed an estimated 200,000 people, left 250,000 injured and made 1.5 million homeless. A 6.1 magnitude aftershock caused more damage Wednesday.

A similar law was passed in 2005 for donations to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami that happened in December 2004.

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