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The Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, on 25 May 2011 declared the multiple tornadoes that hit Southern USA on 28 April 2011 and 22 May 2011 a disaster for tax purposes: Media Release No 80 (24 May 2011).

This declaration allows Australian taxpayers to claim an income tax deduction for donations made to the relief effort.

Funds still need to apply to the ATO for formal endorsement, and the ATO has established a fast track process for this purpose.

Donations to funds are tax deductible for a period of two years from 28 April 2011. Taxpayers should ensure that they retain a receipt for their donation.

For information on establishing a developed country disaster relief fund go here.