Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tax credits for organ donors, and medals

The issue of what compensation or reimbursement if any to allow for organ donation continues to be raised, very slowly, cautiously, and modestly in American legislation. The latest attempt, in the current (111th) Congress: Living Organ Donor Tax Credit Act of 2009 (Introduced in House), proposes

"In General- In the case of an individual who donates a qualified life-saving organ of such individual for transplantation into another individual during the taxable year, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this chapter for the taxable year the sum of--
`(1) unreimbursed costs paid by the taxpayer in connection with such transplantation, and
`(2) any lost wages of the individual in connection with such transplantation.
`(b) Limitation- The credit allowed under subsection (a) with respect to any individual for any taxable year shall not exceed $5,000."

If this sounds excessively cautious, note that the previous (110th) Congress passed, and on October 14, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law, the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Congressional Gift of Life Medal Act (HR 7198) (Public Law No: 110-413). (It was passed without opposition in both houses of Congress). The Congressional Research Service summary of the law reads (emphasis added)

"10/14/2008--Public Law.
(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gift of Life Medal Act of 2008 - Makes any organ donor, or the family of any organ donor, eligible for a Stephanie Tubbs Jones Gift of Life Medal.
Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to direct the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network to establish an application procedure, determine eligibility, and arrange for the presentation of medals.
Allows only one medal per family. Requires that such medal be presented to the donor or, in the case of a deceased donor, the family member who signed the consent form authorizing the organ donation.
Authorizes the Network to collect funds to offset expenditures relating to the issuance of medals.
Prohibits federal funds from being used to carry out this Act. "

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