Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Bill Would Make Federal Deduction Permanent, Available to Farmers, Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has cosponsored legislation to make permanent and expand a tax deduction for all businesses, including farmers and food manufacturers that donate food products to food banks, homeless shelters and other hunger-relief organizations.

Cochran is an original cosponsor of the Good Samaritan Hunger Relief Tax Incentive Extension Act of 2015 (S.930), which was introduced Tuesday by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The legislation would permanently extend the same tax incentives to donate food that are now available to corporations to all businesses, including farmers, ranchers, small businesses and restaurant owners.

“Surplus food too often goes to waste when it could be used to help those in need. Expanding the surplus food deduction to farmers, restaurants and small businesses could help ease the consistent pressures placed on food banks and charitable organizations in Mississippi and around the country,” said Cochran, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

The measure would allow all businesses to receive tax deductions worth the full, fair-market value of the donated food products. Extending the tax deduction to farmers is intended to increase the amount of fresh foods offered to food banks.

As much as 40 percent of the food produced, grown and transported in the United States is discarded because some businesses find it too costly to donate the excess food. After a recent extension of this tax provision, restaurants accounted for a 137 percent increase in the pounds of food donated.

Cochran cosponsored a similar bill in the 113th Congress that enjoyed the support of the Mississippi Food Network Feeding America, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Restaurant Association and others.

S.930 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. In addition to Cochran, the bipartisan measure is also cosponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).