Tax Relief for Californians Affected by Wildfires
For Immediate Release
Updated 9/24/21: This news release has been updated to include Tehama and Trinity Counties.
Sacramento — The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today announced tax filing relief for Californians affected by wildfires. Taxpayers and businesses in presidentially-declared disaster areas are granted an extension to November 15, 2021, to file California tax returns on 2020 income and make any tax payments that would have been due between July 14, 2021, and November 15, 2021.
“We hope the additional time to file and make certain payments provides some relief to Californians affected by these devastating wildfires,“ said State Controller and FTB Chair Betty T. Yee.
FTB automatically conforms to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) postponement periods for presidentially declared disasters.
The IRS granted relief to individuals and businesses in six California counties: Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Tehama, and Trinity. Any counties added later to the disaster area will be granted the same extension of time to file. This relief applies to various upcoming tax filing deadlines that occurred starting on July 14, including the following:
- Individual filers whose previous tax-filing extension was set to end October 15. Because tax payments related to these returns were originally due on May 17, 2021, any payments associated with these filings are not eligible for relief.
- Business entities with a due date between July 14 and November 15.
- Quarterly estimated tax payments due September 15.
Taxpayers should write the name of the disaster (for example, Dixie Fire) in blue or black ink at the top of their tax return to alert FTB. If taxpayers are filing electronically, they should follow the software instructions to enter disaster information. If an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice related to the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.
Taxpayers who are victims of wildfires may claim a deduction for a disaster loss sustained in an area proclaimed by the governor to be in a state of emergency. For a complete list of all disasters declared by the governor, see the “List of Disasters” chart on FTB’s disaster loss webpage. Additional information and instructions are available in FTB Publication 1034, 2020 Disaster Loss: How to Claim a State Tax Deduction.
Taxpayers may claim their disaster loss in one of two ways. They may claim the disaster loss for the 2021 tax year when they file their return next spring, or they may claim the loss against 2020 income on this year’s return. An amended return may be filed by those who already have filed this year. The advantage of claiming the disaster loss in the prior tax year is that the FTB can issue a refund sooner.
Disaster victims also may receive free copies of their state returns to replace those lost or damaged. Taxpayers may complete form FTB 3516 and write the name of the disaster in blue or black ink at the top of the request.
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.