August 01, 2015

The Tax Section's Role in Assisting Those Affected by Disasters and Other Tragedies

Michael Hirschfeld

On September 11, 2001, the world stood in shock as the World Trade Center was struck and then collapsed due to terrorist attacks. In an instant, many lives were lost and a far greater number of lives were disrupted. Within 48 hours of the attack, I received a call from the then Chair of the Tax Section, Dick Lipton, asking for creation of a 9/11 Task Force that would determine a way the Tax Section and its members could help. Canvassing our friends and members revealed that a key issue delaying recovery had tax at its core. The Tax Section took the lead in resolving that issue for the benefit of many, which opened the floodgates for millions of dollars in charitable giving. But how did tax—of all things—have any relevance, and what was this issue?

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