U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla, is doubling down on his support of a fellow member of the Florida delegation’s proposal to give Floridians impacted by Hurricane Michael tax relief.

Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Neil Dunn, R-Fla., unveiled the “Hurricane Michael Tax Relief Act” to help Floridians still recovering from last month’s hurricane which devastated the Panhandle.

“The Hurricane Michael Tax Relief Act allows individuals affected by the Category-4.9 storm penalty-free early access to their retirement savings and helps employers and businesses within the disaster area,” Dunn’s office noted. “Specifically, the bill allows for penalty free withdrawals from retirement plans, makes it easier to qualify for personal casualty loss deductions, provides tax relief to help businesses retain employees, temporarily suspends limitations on charitable contributions associated with hurricane relief, and grants taxpayers the option to refer to earned income from the previous year for determining the Earned Income Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits.”

“Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle with a vengeance last month, leaving a level of destruction most have never seen in their lifetime. As we work to pick up the pieces and rebuild our communities, many are struggling with the financial burden left by the storm. Victims of the storm should not be unfairly penalized for using their retirement savings during this unprecedented disaster,” Dunn said when the bill was introduced.“This important legislation allows folks to access money they have saved over the years without facing penalties, while temporarily suspending limitations on charitable contributions to our area that are associated with hurricane relief.”

“This legislation extends benefits based on counties that are currently approved for federal disaster assistance or in the major disaster area declared by the president,” Dunn’s office noted. “The Hurricane Michael Tax Relief Act is necessary to help victims get tax relief at a time when they will need it most.

The bill follows similar legislation from Republican U.S. Reps. George Holding and David Rouzer of North Carolina and U.S. Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina responding to Hurricane Florence last year.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month. So far, Dunn and Lawson are the only backers.

Lawson’s office came out swinging for the bill in recent days, noting the legislation will “provide individuals affected by Hurricane Michael penalty-free early access to their retirement savings and to help employers and businesses within the disaster area” and “extends benefits based on counties that are currently approved for federal disaster assistance or in the major disaster area declared by the president, which includes Leon and Gadsden counties.”

“This bill would also make it easier for individuals to qualify for personal casualty loss deductions, provide tax relief to help businesses retain employees, suspend limitations on charitable contributions associated with hurricane relief, and grant taxpayers the option to refer to earned income from the previous year for determining the Earned Income Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits,” Lawson’s office noted.

 

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