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More Tax Relief for Southern California Fire Victims

Released November 20, 2008

Sacramento – The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today announced payment and filing relief for people and businesses affected by the wildfires in the federally declared disaster areas.

California will match the postponement period announced today by the IRS. This gives affected taxpayers who have tax returns, payments, or other time-sensitive acts otherwise due between November 13, 2008, and February 11, 2009, an automatic postponement to February 11, 2009, without added penalties or interest.

Earlier this week, the wildfires were declared a federal disaster in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and Santa Barbara counties. Affected taxpayers are able to claim disaster losses in the current or prior tax year. Claiming the loss on a 2007 tax return filed earlier this year will allow FTB to quickly issue refunds to provide some financial relief.

Taxpayers claiming the disaster loss should write “Southern California Wildfires 2008” in red ink at the top of their tax return to alert FTB to expedite the refund. If taxpayers are e-filing, they should follow the software instructions to enter the disaster information. Taxpayers can get FTB’s amended 2007 tax return or original 2007 tax return at FTB’s website, ftb.ca.gov.

The Board of Equalization has also granted relief to affected taxpayers. Please refer to their news releases at boe.ca.gov.

Taxpayers needing copies of lost or damaged state returns should complete Form FTB 3516, Request for Copy of Tax Return, available online. Disaster victims can receive copies of tax returns for free. Print “Southern California Wildfires 2008” in red ink at the top of the request.

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

Taxpayers who have questions about their accounts can call FTB toll-free at 800.852.5711 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.