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Murkowski Cutting Through Red Tape for Charitable Food Donations

Sen. Murkowski toured the Food Bank of Alaska facility in Anchorage on May 1st, 2013 with Food Bank officials Mary Sullivan, Michael Miller and Mike Sobocinski

Sen. Murkowski toured the Food Bank of Alaska facility in Anchorage on May 1st, 2013 with Food Bank officials Mary Sullivan, Michael Miller and Mike Sobocinski

PHOTO: Courtesy of the office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski

Senator: Hunger isn’t a Tax Law Definition, It’s a Silent Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Lisa Murkowski has introduced legislation designed to increase the amount of food donations going to Native communities by amending the Federal tax code to make corporate charitable donations of food to Indian tribes tax deductible.

“Hunger isn’t a legal issue or a tax law definition – it’s a silent crisis in our communities where families often have to decide between heating their homes or putting food on their tables,” said Murkowski.  “We shouldn’t create legal barricades and boundaries to allow our First People to receive food gifts from corporations. This legislation would provide an important tool for tribal governments to accept food donations from corporations and distribute it where aid is most needed.”

Sen. Murkowski toured the Food Bank of Alaska facility in Anchorage on May 1st, 2013 with Food Bank officials Mary Sullivan, Michael Miller and Mike Sobocinski

“Given the limitations of IRS Code, Food Bank of Alaska could do nothing to assist and serve our Alaska Native partners,” said Mary Sullivan, Director of Advocacy & Agency Relations for the Food Bank of Alaska.  “That’s why we are very thankful to Senator Murkowski for introducing this important legislation. A change in section 170(e)(3) of the IRS Code is required to include federally recognized tribal entities as legal recipients of privately donated food.  This small but fundamental language change would ensure a more equitable distribution of all donated food throughout Alaska, and every other state.”

WHY THIS IS NEEDED: Section 170(e)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code allows corporations to take an enhanced tax deduction for donations of food inventory; however, the food must be distributed to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, such as food banks. Under current law, Indian tribes do not qualify as eligible recipients.

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