Last week, the Senate approved a bill that would allow donors to accelerate the income tax benefits of charitable cash contributions for the relief of victims of the earthquake in Haiti. Previously passed by the House, the bill is now cleared for signature by the President, which is expected this week.

The bill would allow individuals who make charitable contributions to aid Haitian earthquake victims to elect to claim an itemized charitable deduction on their 2009 tax return (instead of having to wait until next year to claim the deductions on their 2010 tax return). The election would apply only to Haitian relief contributions made in cash after January 11, 2010, and before March 1, 2010. If the election is made, Haiti relief donations would be deductible on the 2009 return, not the 2010 return.

The bill also would relieve recordkeeping requirements for Haitian relief contributors. For these contributions, a telephone bill would satisfy the recordkeeping requirements if it shows the name of the donor organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.

If you itemized your deductions on schedule A, don't forget to provide to your tax advisor your Haitian relief contribution to deduct on your 2009 tax return.

As always, we will continue to provide to you the most up to date tax information that affects you.


(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).