Editor’s note: Linda Markus Daniels is a founder of and principal in the Research Triangle Park law firm of Daniels Daniels & Verdonik, P.A.On Jan. 7, President Bush signed legislation allowing cash contributions made during January 2005 for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami to be treated as if such contributions were made in December 2004.

The new law, which was only introduced into Congress last Tuesday, was passed unanimously by the House and Senate two days later and then signed by the president the next day.

As a result of this legislation, contributions made through Jan. 31 can be deducted on 2004 returns rather than waiting more than a year before the 2005 returns would be filed. The only condition is that the contribution be made to an organization for which a deduction would otherwise have been allowed on the 2005 tax return.

This means that gifts to charities located in foreign countries will not be deductible, regardless of when made, unless a U.S. organization has full control over the funds.