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State Grants Tax Relief to Victims of the 2007 California Freeze

Update #1: On April 21, 2007, FEMA amended 1689-DR-California for the Severe Freeze of January 11-17, 2007, declared by the President March 13, 2007, to add the following counties: Kings, Madera, and Merced for disaster Unemployment Assistance and Food Commodities. Stanislaus County is added for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. All counties within the State of California are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. For more information, see FEMA Disaster Summary 1689-DR and Update.

Original News Release: March 14, 2007

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today announced special tax relief for California taxpayers affected by the recent California severe freeze.

“The victims of crop damages need to know that California provides tax relief,” said State Controller and FTB Chair John Chiang. “The FTB is offering expedited refunds so those affected by disaster can get assistance.”

Twelve counties are designated as federal disaster areas: Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Monterey, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura Counties.

The President declared the California freeze a major disaster on March 13, 2007. Special tax rules apply to disaster losses. Taxpayers can claim a disaster loss in the tax year the disaster occurred or in the tax year before the disaster occurred. The advantage of claiming the disaster loss in the prior year is that the FTB can quickly issue a refund.

Taxpayers claiming the disaster loss should write “California Freeze 2007” in red ink at the top of the tax return to alert the FTB to expedite the refund. If taxpayers are e-filing, they should follow the software instructions to enter the disaster information.

Taxpayers needing copies of lost or damaged state returns should complete Form FTB 3516, Request for Copy of Tax Return. Disaster victims can receive copies of tax returns for free. Print "California Freeze 2007" in red at the top of the request.

To learn more about state disaster losses, refer to publication FTB 1034, Disaster Loss at www.ftb.ca.gov or the IRS 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts at www.irs.gov.