September 12, 2017 / 10:13 PM / in 9 months

House committee considering tax relief for hurricane victims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tax-policy writers in the U.S. House of Representatives are considering legislation to bring tax relief to businesses and individuals affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the top House lawmaker on tax issues said on Tuesday.

A damaged coastal house is pictured after Hurricane Irma passed the area in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, U.S., September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Representative Kevin Brady, Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said staff was working with lawmakers from affected states to craft a bill that would help lessen the blow of property losses, facilitate access to retirement savings and encourage charitable giving.

He said the committee could act on legislation before Oct 1.

Boats that have come ashore are pictured on Watson Island Miami, Florida, U.S., September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

“They’re really looking at how do we get our small businesses back up and running, how do we get customers to them and how do we help families and communities rebuild,” Brady told reporters.

In past years, aides say Congress has sought to help disaster victims through a number of tax innovations including special tax credits for low-income housing, tax deferrals on gains from insurance payments and special refunds on tax filings from past years.

Irma has caused widespread damage in Florida, weeks after Harvey inundated Houston and southeast Texas with record flooding last month.

Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Peter Cooney

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