President Barack Obama signed into law a bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to change the tax deadline to allow people who donated money after Jan. 1 to charities that help the families of two slain cops apply for an immediate tax deduction rather than wait until next year.
The Slain Officer Family Support Act extends the tax deadline so that individuals making donations to organizations supporting the families of assassinated NYPD Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos can apply deductions to their 2014 tax returns. Prior to the enactment of the new law, individuals would have had to make their contributions by December 31, 2014 to qualify for a tax deduction in connection with a 2015 filing.
The legislation, which was sponsored by Jeffries and U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island) extends the date of eligibility for a deduction to April 15. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) led the effort to pass the bill in the Senate. The president signed the legislation on April 1.
As a result of the new law, charitable contributions made by this year’s April 15 tax filing deadline will be deductible immediately.
“The assassination of Detective Ramos and Detective Liu was a national tragedy, and it required a national response. We cannot bring these heroes back, but we must do everything possible to support the families they left behind. The passage of this law is a step forward in the healing process, and provides an immediate tax benefit to those who did the right thing in supporting the families of these slain detectives,” Jeffries (D-Brooklyn-Queens) said in a statement.
“Because NYPD Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos gave their lives in the protection of their fellow citizens, we have a sacred duty to honor their sacrifice and support their suffering families. That is why I am so proud that the Senate and House came together in a bi-partisan fashion to pass this legislation – originally crafted by my friend, Representative Hakeem Jeffries – that appropriately rewards the generous individuals in New York and across the country that made charitable donations to these families,” Schumer said.
Liu and Ramos were shot to death at point blank range while sitting in their marked patrol car on a Bedford-Stuyvesant street on Dec. 20, 2014.
The two cops had been assigned to patrol the Tompkins Public Housing Development as a part of a “critical-response detail” deployed due to an uptick in violence there over the past year, according to Jeffries, whose congressional district includes parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Liu and Ramos were both posthumously promoted to the rank of first-grade detective. The New York Times reported that first-grade detective is the highest rank for an NYPD detective.
Bill Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said the new law Obama signed “will ensure continued support to the families of two heroes who dedicated their lives to public service, NYPD Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.”