Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

House Passes Hurricane Aid Package

Sep 28, 2017
Press Release
Help for Irma, Harvey, Maria Victims

WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan said legislation passed today by the U.S. House will provide much-needed assistance for Floridians and other storm-struck Americans.

“Immediate tax relief is crucial to help Florida residents rebuild and recover,” Buchanan said. “Passage of today's bill is a positive first step on what remains a long road ahead.”

The measure would provide hurricane victims with relief by allowing tax-free access to retirement funds, suspending limits on charitable giving to qualified hurricane relief charities and allowing more personal casualty losses to qualify for a tax deduction.

The Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Buchanan’s legislation to help citrus growers recover from crippling losses from Irma and citrus greening will be included in a hurricane relief package to be considered by Congress in October.

Buchanan also co-chaired a meeting Thursday morning of the bipartisan Florida delegation on hurricane cleanup efforts.

See background on the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act from the House Ways and Means Committee:

The bill makes the following changes:

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.