Federal tax breaks proposed for Sandy victims

Federal tax breaks proposed for Sandy victims

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Two Democratic senators are proposing federal tax breaks to help victims recover faster from Superstorm Sandy.

Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey want to make all repair expenses fully tax deductible, reducing the tax bite of victims in their returns covering the current year.

The breaks would also include credits to subsidize home and business repairs and help businesses keep workers on the payroll.

The proposal wouldn't cost either state any of its scarce revenues as they try to rebound. But it would reduce payments to Washington as it seeks to reduce deficits.

The breaks announced Sunday would also provide relief for those who provided free temporary housing for victims and waive penalties for victims who have to withdraw from their retirement accounts to pay for storm costs.

"These changes to existing tax law are a common sense and simple way to help disaster victims, and a quick way to get them aid to repair their homes, to recover losses, and to support their businesses," Schumer said.

Businesses would see a tax credit for continuing to pay employees even when the business was shut down.

"This bill will provide critical tools to help families recover their losses, rebuild shattered businesses and restore communities devastated by the storm," Menendez said.

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