WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Neal Dunn (FL-02) introduced legislation to ease the financial burden on those who were devastated by Hurricane Michael. 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. 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,” said Dr. Dunn. “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.”
Hurricane Michael devastated Florida’s Panhandle, as well as parts of Alabama and Georgia on October 10, 2018. 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. 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 has been cosponsored by Congressman Al Lawson (FL-05), whose district was also ravaged by the storm. The legislation mirrors the same tax relief that was extended to victims of the 2017 storms, as well as a bill introduced by Representatives George Holding (NC-02), David Rouzer (NC-07), and Tom Rice (SC-07) pertaining to Hurricane Florence.