State Tax Relief for Victims of Wildfires in Amador, Calaveras, Lake, and Napa Counties

Sacramento — The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced that taxpayers affected by wildfires in Amador, Calaveras, Lake, and Napa Counties are automatically eligible for qualifying disaster loss treatment under the terms of a new law covering areas where the Governor declares a State of Emergency. Governor Brown made these declarations on September 11 for Amador and Calaveras Counties, and September 13 for Lake and Napa Counties.
Special tax rules apply to disaster losses. Victims can claim a loss in either the year the disaster occurred or in the prior year. Those who choose the latter can reduce their tax liability for the prior year, allowing FTB to quickly issue a refund.

Disaster victims who have not yet filed 2014 tax returns can claim disaster losses on their original returns. Those who have already filed 2014 tax returns can claim losses against that year’s income by filing a Form 540X, Amended Individual Income Tax Return. Taxpayers should write, “DISASTER –2015 BUTTE AND VALLEY WILDFIRES” in red at the top.

Taxpayers who need copies of lost or damaged state returns should complete Form FTB 3516, “Request for Copy of Tax Return,” which can be downloaded online. Disaster victims can get copies of tax returns at no charge by writing, “DISASTER –2015 BUTTE AND VALLEY WILDFIRES” in red ink across the top.

The new law also applies to taxpayers affected by the 2014 and 2015 State of Emergency declarations on the Governor’s website at gov.ca.gov.

For more details, please read FTB Publication 1034, Disaster Loss: How to Claim a State Tax Deduction at FTB’s website at ftb.ca.gov.

FTB administers two of California’s major tax programs: Personal Income Tax and the Corporation Tax. FTB also administers other non tax programs and delinquent debt collection functions, including delinquent vehicle registration debt collections on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and court–ordered debt. Annually, FTB’s tax programs collect more than 70 percent of the state’s general fund. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit taxes.ca.gov.

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