House to vote Monday on tax relief for victims of recent hurricanes

House to vote Monday on tax relief for victims of recent hurricanes 

Posted: 2:44 pm Sunday, September 24th, 2017

By Jamie Dupree

The U.S. House on Monday is set to vote on a package of tax relief provisions designed to help people who have suffered losses from damage associated with hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, also making it easier for others to donate money to charities to help with disaster aid.

“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,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), who heads the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.

The Brady plan – which still has to be officially introduced as a bill on Monday when the House reconvenes – is being added on to a bill that temporarily extends the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration, ensuring the FAA would not shut down operations at the end of this week.

Among the provisions in the bill:

+ The plan does not require taxpayers to itemize deductions in order to get this targeted tax aid.

+ It allows penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans to pay for qualified hurricane relief.

+ The bill allows tax deduction of uncompensated losses from these hurricanes, even if those losses don’t reach the required 10 percent of Adjusted Gross Income that is in current law.

The bill also includes provisions that would help with the creation of a “Private Flood Insurance Market,” as the Congress continues to struggle with how best to deal with a government flood insurance program that is in debt over $30 billion – and growing.

No cost estimate was made available for the bill, which would designate all extra costs under this plan as ’emergency,’ meaning it would be added to the federal deficit without a requirement for offsetting budget cuts.

You can read the text of the hurricane tax relief bill here.

This could be just a small chunk of tax news coming out of Capitol Hill this week, as GOP leaders have promised that the Congress and White House would release an outline of the first major tax reform plans since 1986.

Last week, there were several trial balloons that included some surprise provisions – as reports suggested that President Donald Trump might leave income tax rates the same for higher income earners.

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