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Congressional Delegations Introduce Disaster Tax Relief Act
Nebraska Ag Connection - 04/12/2019

The Nebraska congressional delegation has introduced legislation to provide tax relief for Nebraskans impacted by the severe 2019 storms and flooding. The bill, known as the Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019, would deliver tax relief to areas that received a federal disaster declaration between January 1, 2019, and April 15, 2019.

The bill is also cosponsored by the entire Iowa Congressional delegation, including Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

"Nebraskans have had their homes and businesses destroyed by blizzards and severe flooding. We are strong and tough, but I'm committed to providing people with some relief in as many ways possible. I hope Congress will quickly enact the Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 so that we can lighten the load for families who are hurting," said Sen. Deb Fischer.

"Offering tax considerations to areas hit by natural disasters is just one small piece of what the federal government can do to assist Americans struggling in the aftermath. As we advocate for further on-the-ground assistance, additional funding, and regulatory relief to ensure agencies can meet Nebraskans' needs, I will continue to work on the Ways and Means Committee to ensure these provisions are enacted to assist Nebraskans. I appreciate Sen. Fischer introducing this bill in the Senate, and thank Senator Sasse, Congressman Fortenberry, Congressman Bacon, and the members of the Iowa delegation for joining our effort," said Congressman Adrian Smith (NE-03), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

"Nebraska is going to rebuild, and some common-sense tax relief is a good way to help our neighbors. We have the grit and the work ethic to fight through this. The recovery process is going to take time but we're going to get the job done," said Sasse.

"This devastating flood destroyed more than 2,000 homes, 340 businesses, and took several lives, making it the worst natural disaster to hit the state in our 152-year history. The economic impact has also been severe and will hurt the state of Nebraska for years to come. Current estimates reveal, the cost of the damage has surpassed $1.3 billion. Nebraskans are strong and resilient people, but they need to know that the Federal Government is with them and will help them through these difficult times. I thank Senator Fischer and Congressman Smith for their work on this bill, and am glad to support it," said Bacon.

"A perfect storm of factors enabled the dislocation and distress we see around us. Nebraskans are hurting. True to their character, they are also coming together in this moment to help each other. Others from around the country are helping as well. But it is not enough. The federal government has a critical role to play as well. Right now, we need to put aside any political differences, find consensus, and lend a helping hand to our fellow citizens devastated by these unpredictable, unforeseen events," said Fortenberry.

The Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 provides the following tax relief:

- No penalty for early withdrawals from retirement accounts for those in affected areas

- Employee retention credits for employers with inoperable businesses who continue to pay employees

- Eliminating the deduction cap for donations to projects in disaster areas, driving charitable donations to affected areas

- Expanding casualty loss deduction to assist with destroyed property, allowing deductions for property damage not covered by other insurance and other federal programs

- Making earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) changes, allowing people whose wages fell due to the disaster to claim the previous year's credit if their wages decrease

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