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Pascrell Fights for Tax Relief to Federally-Declared Natural Disasters

Washington, DC, August 6, 2014

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, today announced that he joined Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) in introducing a bill to help victims of natural disasters recover faster with tax relief to alleviate cleanup and rebuilding expenses. The bipartisan National Disaster Relief Tax Act will provide tax relief to communities across the country devastated in a presidentially-declared disaster in recent years.

“It is imperative that we use the tax code to help victims and local governments meet challenges they face following a disaster,” said Rep. Pascrell.  “I fought for tax relief for Sandy victims because they deserved every possible resource to help them rebuild, and I am proud to join this bipartisan effort to expand the reach of our recovery policies. Instead of being left holding the bag, these victims deserve the same care that other regions received following similar disasters.”

“It’s only fair communities hit hard by recent natural disasters get the same care and opportunities to rebuild that other parts of the country received,” Reed said. “Right now, there’s no consistency in tax relief for natural disasters and that’s putting a real strain on anyone trying to get back on their own two feet. Families that recently went through a natural disaster fairly deserve the same treatment Congress has historically given to the families of natural disasters in years past.”

Congress has historically helped disaster-hit communities rebuild with tax relief provisions as it did in the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma and Ike; Tropical Storm Irene; tornadoes in Kansas, Alabama and Oklahoma; and flooding and landslides that struck Colorado and Washington. This bill would extend that relief to disasters that happened since 2011.

Last May, Rep. Pascrell led a bipartisan coalition in introducing legislation to provide tax relief to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  The Hurricane Sandy Tax Relief Act of 2013, modeled after a similar bill passed into law in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, is aimed at providing tax relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy in areas designated as Federal Disaster Areas by the President.

The National Disaster Relief Tax Act uses tax provisions commonly used in other disaster relief bills to help communities recover, including:  

•    Allows for greater disaster-related charitable contributions;
•    Makes it easier for individuals to deduct disaster-related losses;
•    Provides additional tax credits to rebuild disaster areas and provide low income housing;
•    Waives the threshold for individuals to claim losses to their property, including homes and cars.

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