WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have introduced legislation to provide financial relief to the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund to help Virginia Beach shooting victims get the financial assistance they need.
The legislation, the Virginia Beach Strong Act, would ensure that any donations made to the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund on behalf of the families of the dead or wounded victims of the mass shooting in Virginia Beach are tax-deductible.
“There is nothing we can do to undo this tragedy or bring back the individuals we lost in this senseless act of violence, but we can try to make it as easy as possible for families and those injured to get the relief they need,” said the Senators. “This legislation will further incentivize donations to the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund by making sure that contributions to victims and families are permitted to be treated as charitable contributions.”
View the full bill below:
On May 31, 2019, a gunman opened fire at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, killing 12 people and injuring four.
Soon after, the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund at the United Way of South Hampton Roads was created to support the wounded victims and the families of those killed.
However, because the fund was set up exclusively for the benefit of those affected by the tragedy, it violates a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable tax rule that prohibits charitable funds from being earmarked for specific individuals. As a result, donations to the fund are not currently tax-deductible for those making the contributions.
The Virginia Beach Strong Act would clarify that any contribution made for the relief of the families of the dead or wounded victims is treated as a tax-deductible contribution. This legislation would also apply retroactively, classifying any such contribution made on or after May 31, 2019, as tax-deductible.
U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives that is supported by other Virginia House Representatives including Bobby Scott, Rob Wittman, Gerry Connolly, Denver Riggleman, Don Beyer, A. Donald McEachin, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton.