Senators Introduce Tax Relief Bill for Wildfire, Hurricane Victims

Washington November 16, 2018 – Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris (both D-Calif.) joined with Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to introduce the Hurricanes Florence and Michael and California Wildfire Tax Relief Act (S. 3648), to aid victims of recent natural disasters.

            “It’s heartbreaking to see our communities devastated by wildfire and hurricanes,” said Senator Feinstein. “Our bipartisan bill will help families recover by providing them with much-needed tax relief as we begin to rebuild in the aftermath of these natural disasters.”

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            “The wildfires that tore across California this year claimed precious lives, devastated communities, destroyed thousands of homes, and forced hundreds of thousands of Californians to evacuate,” said Senator Harris. “The road to recovery for these communities won’t be easy, and we have a responsibility to give them the federal support they desperately need. Today, I am proud to join with my colleagues to provide these families working to rebuild their lives with much-needed tax relief.”

            “The historic hurricanes that hit Florida and the Carolinas this year devastated communities across the Southeast,” said Senator Burr. “Homes were destroyed, businesses swept away and savings wiped out. It is critical that Congress act quickly to provide tax relief for those still struggling to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. This legislation provides several important tax breaks for eligible individuals and businesses that will help lessen the burdens they face and allow them to rebuild their futures.”

            “Hurricane Florence had a devastating impact on North Carolina, creating financial hardship for many families across the state,” said Senator Tillis. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation that would provide much-needed relief for families and small businesses who have been hit by recent natural disasters, including North Carolinians affected by Hurricane Florence.”  

            “Hurricanes Florence and Michael brought unimaginable devastation to South Carolina and surrounding states,” said Senator Graham. “This tax relief package will afford South Carolinians, and other Americans who have been impacted by disaster, greater flexibility in utilizing retirement account assets for immediate disaster-related needs. It’s similar to the legislation we passed to support Texans suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. I applaud Senator Burr’s leadership on this issue and urge Congress to pass our legislation immediately.” 

            “I’ve been working to ensure that Floridians who were affected by Hurricane Michael receive the support they need from the federal government, and one of the best ways to do that is to provide tax relief so that they can use their money to recover,” said Senator Rubio. “I am proud to work with my colleagues from other states experiencing natural disasters, including Senator Burr, to introduce this bill so that Americans affected by Hurricane Michael can continue rebuilding their lives and communities.”

Background

The Hurricane Florence and Michael and California Wildfire Tax Relief Act:

  • Allows more taxpayers to claim a deduction for personal property losses by removing the itemize requirement.
  • Removes penalties on certain hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts.
  • Encourages employers in hard-hit areas to retain employees.
  • Allows taxpayers to use earned income from the preceding year when claiming Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
  • Suspends limits on charitable contributions to disaster relief efforts.
  • Expands Opportunity Zones to hardest-hit areas.

You can read a copy of the bill here.