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Tax relief for Harvey victims

The Navasota Examiner

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Washington, October 5, 2017 | comments
By Nicole Shupe Examiner editor

The U.S. Congress and the White House came together to provide immediate tax relief Friday when President Donald Trump signed the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017 (H.R. 3823).

“It has been such a big week in Washington and it is having a big impact on our communities here at home,” said Congressman Kevin Brady. “I was pleased that the House and later the Senate passed my legislation that provides immediate tax relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria.”

Charitable giving

According to Brady, the tax provisions within H.R. 3823 will allow individuals and businesses from Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands the ability to deduct more for charitable giving.

The bill defines the Hurricane Harvey disaster area as those counties that were declared in a major disaster area in the president’s declarations prior to Sept. 21, 2017.

In total, the declarations listed 40 Texas counties eligible for individual or individual and public assistance from the federal government, including Grimes, Madison and Washington Counties.

No retirement penalties

The bill reads that any “distribution from an eligible retirement plan made on or after Aug. 23, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2019, to an individual whose principal place of abode” is in the Hurricane Harvey disaster area may withdraw funds for the purpose of rebuilding home or property damaged.

“This will allow families to dip into their retirement penalty free to rebuild their home or property,” said Brady. “It will allow them to write off more of their property losses, because our homes and our businesses took a huge hit in this hurricane.”

Employment subsidizing

H.R. 3823 allows for business in areas impacted by one of these three major hurricanes to continue to employee workers during the rebuild phase faced by Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

“It will help share the cost of employees up to $6,000 per year to keep them working while that local restaurant or local business is trying to get back on their feet,” said Brady.

Child tax credit

“We have a lot of people who depend upon the child tax credit or the earned income credit, especially low income folks who are trying to make ends meet, and some of their records aren’t available or they have been laid off temporarily because their business just isn’t back up and running,” said Brady. “(H.R. 3823) will allow past records to be able to be used to make sure that they keep getting the support uninterrupted.”

Future of tax reform

Brady hailed the passing of H.R. 3823 as “a major step toward delivering bold, transformational tax reform” and said that he is continuing “to meet regularly with centrist Democrats in the House, trying to find common ground.”

A meeting with the White House, Senate and the House on Wednesday morning was the first time all three came together in 31 years to discuss a unified tax reform framework focusing on “more jobs, fairer taxes and bigger paychecks.”

“This tax reform plan that we laid out with President Trump and the Senate is a game changer — It is a tax code built for growth, of jobs and paychecks and America’s economy and will leap frog America from nearly dead last in the world in competitiveness to among the top three best places on the planet for that next new job,” said Brady. “It was a big day for Americans who have been waiting more than 30 years for Congress to act, it was a historic day.”

For more information on H.R. 3823 and other federal bills on tax reform, go to www.congress.gov or www.kevinbrady.house.gov.
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