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California Taxpayers Impacted by Wildfires Receive More Time to File, Pay

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For Immediate Release

10.13.2017

California Taxpayers Impacted by Wildfires Receive More Time to File, Pay

Sacramento — The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today announced special tax relief for California taxpayers impacted by wildfires. Affected taxpayers are granted an extension to file 2016 California tax returns and make payments until January 31, 2018.

"Families affected by natural disasters need time to recover and rebuild their lives and homes," said State Controller Betty T. Yee, who serves as chair of FTB. “We can alleviate one worry by offering extra time to file their taxes.”

FTB automatically follows federal postponement periods for any presidentially declared disasters.

Today, the IRS granted relief to individuals and businesses in nine counties: Orange, Solano, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma, and Yuba. This relief applies to various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on October 8, 2017. This includes:

  • Individual filers whose tax-filing extension runs out on October 16, 2017. Because tax payments related to these 2016 returns were originally due on April 18, 2017, any payments associated with these filings are not eligible for this relief.
  • Quarterly estimated tax payments due January 16, 2018.
  • Quarterly payroll and excise tax returns due on October 31, 2017.
  • Calendar-year tax-exempt organizations whose 2016 extensions run out on November 15, 2017.

Yee also noted that disaster victims may receive free copies of state returns to replace lost or damaged ones. Taxpayers may complete Form FTB 3516, Request for Copy of Tax Return  and print the name of the disaster in red ink (for example, Tubbs Fire) at the top of the request.

Taxpayers 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 “Qualified Disasters” chart on FTB’s Disaster Loss webpage.  Additional information and instructions are available in FTB Pub. 1034, How to Claim a State Tax Deduction for Your Disaster Loss.

Disaster-loss rules apply to victims in Governor-declared or presidentially declared disaster areas. Taxpayers may claim a disaster loss in one of two ways: They may either claim the disaster loss in the tax year that the disaster occurred, when they file their 2017 tax return next spring. Or, taxpayers may claim the loss in the tax year before the disaster occurred by filing either an amended or original 2016 tax return. The advantage of claiming the disaster loss in the prior tax year is that the FTB can more quickly issue a refund.

Taxpayers claiming the disaster loss should write the name of the disaster in red ink at the top of the tax return to alert FTB to expedite the refund. If taxpayers are e-filing, they should follow the software instructions to enter disaster information.

In addition, FTB automatically follows announced federal postponement periods for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Affected taxpayers are granted an extension to file tax returns and make payments until January 31, 2018. For instance, if Hurricane Harvey impacted a taxpayer who earns income in California, that taxpayer has extra time to file a California tax return.

On September 26, 2017, the IRS issued a recap of special relief for taxpayers affected by the three hurricanes. The IRS extended the due dates for filing tax returns and paying taxes until January 31, 2018.

A variety of other returns, payments and tax-related actions also qualify for additional time. See the disaster relief page on IRS.gov for details on these and offer relief the IRS has offered since these hurricanes began hitting in August.

The FTB will also follow these extended dates and will cancel interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply.

Additional business tax relief for wildfire victims is available through the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). More information is available here.

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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