Q&A on the News

-- Jody Garrard Smith, Vinings

A: Yes, taxpayers can write off donations made to the relief efforts in Haiti on their 2009 income tax returns. President Barack Obama signed the bill, HR 4462, into law on Jan. 22. It applies to cash contributions made to U.S.-based, tax-exempt charities after Jan. 11, 2010, and before March 1, 2010. Otherwise, individuals making the charitable contributions would have had to wait to claim the deductions on a 2010 tax return. You will need to show bank records or a written document from the charity that reflects the amount of the gift and date, and that also could include a telephone bill for money donated via text message. The bill also hoped to encourage more donations to the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, according to its sponsors.

Q: Is “The Lovely Bones” movie based on a true story?

-- Judy Wooten, Canton

A: “The Lovely Bones” is based on the 2002 best-selling novel written by Alice Sebold. The story about a 14-year-old girl who is raped and murdered in 1973 and watches over her family and the killer from heaven was the author’s debut novel. The best-selling novel was adapted to film by Peter Jackson.

Lori Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or e-mail q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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