New hurricane relief bill offers tax breaks for victims

New hurricane relief bill offers tax breaks for victims
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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOvernight Health Care: Initial Senate tax bill doesn't repeal ObamaCare mandate | 600K sign up for ObamaCare in first four days | Feds crack down on opioid trafficking Overnight Finance: Senate GOP unveils different approach on tax reform | House tax bill heads to floor | House leaders eye vote next week | AT&T denies pressure for CNN sale GOP tax bill clears hurdle, heads to House floor MORE (R-Texas) on Friday released a new disaster relief bill that would provide temporary tax cuts to victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

“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,” Brady said of the bill.

The bill would allow those who do not itemize their deductions to get relief and eliminates current requirements on how large losses have to be relative to income. It would also allow the disaster victims to draw on retirement funds without paying a penalty and provide a tax credit to employers affected by the disaster for up to $6,000 per employee.

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The bill was received warmly by representatives of affected areas.

“Immediate tax relief is crucial to help Floridians rebuild and get back on their feet,” said Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan (R). “This measure is a positive first step on the road to recovery.”

The severity and proximity of the disasters in several states over just a few weeks has stretched the federal government’s response efforts, as the price tag on damage has steadily increased.

Earlier in the month, Congress passed a $15 billion disaster relief bill as a “downpayment” for Harvey relief in Texas and Louisiana. Several more measures are expected in the coming weeks and months to meet the needs of disaster victims.