Today, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) released legislation that would deliver temporary tax relief to the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Chairman Brady issued the following statement upon releasing the bill, which is expected to be formally introducedMonday, September 25, when the House returns to session.
“Hundreds of thousands of people throughout Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and other areas have been devastated by hurricanes and severe flooding that destroyed their homes, their vehicles, and their workplaces. Today, I’ve released legislation that delivers targeted, meaningful tax relief that will make it easier for people to recover and return home as soon as possible.
“My bill specifically helps hurricane victims keep more of their paycheck, deduct more of the cost of their expensive property damage, and have more affordable and immediate access to money they have saved for their retirement. The legislation will also encourage even more Americans to donate generously to help those in need. Taken together, these tax relief measures will help more people be able to bear the tremendous expense of recovering from these destructive hurricanes.
“I am grateful for my colleagues’ support in quickly developing this legislation to deliver meaningful relief to people in my home state of Texas and other affected communities.”
The Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017 takes the following targeted actions to help American families and communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria:
Deduction for Personal Casualty Losses:
- With respect to uncompensated losses arising in the disaster area, eliminates the current law requirements that personal casualty losses must exceed 10 percent of Adjusted Gross Income to qualify for deduction.
- Eliminates the current law requirement that taxpayers must itemize deductions to access this tax relief.
Penalty-Free Access to Retirement Funds:
- Provides an exception to the 10 percent early retirement plan withdrawal penalty for qualified hurricane relief distributions.
- Allows for the re-contribution of retirement plan withdrawals for home purchases cancelled due to eligible disasters.
- Provides flexibility for loans from retirement plans for qualified hurricane relief.
Encouraging Charitable Giving:
- Temporarily suspends limitations on the deduction for charitable contributions associated with qualified hurricane relief made before December 31, 2017.
Disaster-Related Employment Relief:
- Provides a tax credit for 40 percent of wages (up to $6,000 per employee) paid by a disaster-affected employer to an employee from a core disaster area.
Special Rule for Determining 2017 Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit:
- For 2017, allows taxpayers to refer to earned income from the immediately preceding year for purposes of determining the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
The legislation also includes temporary extensions of health programs within Ways and Means jurisdiction. This includes extending the Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) demonstration policy for three years to ensure this program can continue to operate and provide care to patients with severe immunodeficiency diseases. The IVIG demonstration would otherwise stop providing services to patients after September 30, 2017.