Burr, Tillis introduce bipartisan bill to aid nation’s victims of natural disasters

U.S. Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) recently introduced legislation to provide tax relief for the victims of Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael, and certain California wildfires.

The bipartisan Hurricanes Florence and Michael and California Wildfire Tax Relief Act, S. 3648, sponsored on Nov. 15 by Sen. Burr, counts Sens. Tillis and Bill Nelson (D-FL) among its six original cosponsors.

“The historic hurricanes that hit Florida and the Carolinas this year devastated communities across the Southeast,” Sen. Burr said earlier this month. “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.”

Sen. Burr noted that S. 3648 “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.”

For example, if enacted, S. 3648 would remove a requirement to itemize, thereby permitting more taxpayers to claim a deduction for personal casualty losses, according to a summary provided by Sen. Tillis’ office.

S. 3648 also would remove penalties on certain hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts and would allow taxpayers to use earned income from the preceding year when claiming Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, according to the summary.

Additionally, the bill calls for suspending limits on charitable contributions to disaster relief efforts and increasing Opportunity Zones to the hardest-hit areas around the country, the summary said.

“Hurricane Florence had a devastating impact on North Carolina, creating financial hardship for many families across the state,” Sen. Tillis said. “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.”

S. 3648 has been referred for consideration to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.