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Tax Bill for Tsunami Donations Signed

SB 50 allows taxpayers to deduct tsunami-relief donations made

Taxpayers who made tsunami-relief contributions in January of this year can now claim a deduction on their 2004 state income tax returns, according to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

"This is welcome news for the thousands of Californians who opened their hearts, and their wallets, to aid the victims of this terrible tragedy," said State Controller and FTB Chair Steve Westly.

Senate Bill 50 (Stats 2005, Ch. 5) (John Campbell R-Irvine; Abel Maldonaldo R-Santa Maria) conforms state law to federal law (Tsunami Relief Bill H.R. 241; P.L. 109-1) that allows both individual and business taxpayers to deduct January tsunami-relief contributions made to qualified charities from their 2004 federal income taxes. Absent this legislation, charitable contributions made in January 2005 would normally be deducted on the 2005 tax return due next year. Taxpayers now have the option to deduct their contributions on either their 2004 or 2005 California returns.

The new law only applies to cash contributions. The contributions must be made specifically for the relief of victims in areas affected by the December 26, 2004, tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

To get other information about this year's state tax rules, visit the FTB's Website at www.ftb.ca.gov.