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State Grants Tax Relief to Victims of San Simeon Earthquake

Taxpayers who live in the federally declared disaster areas affected by the San Simeon earthquake will be given special tax relief, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced today.

"The victims of this devastating earthquake deserve the peace of mind that this tax relief provides," said State Controller and FTB Chair Steve Westly.

The counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara are designated as federal disaster areas. Special tax rules apply to disaster losses. Taxpayers can claim a disaster loss in the tax year the disaster occurred (on the 2003 tax return that most taxpayers will file this spring) or in the tax year before the disaster occurred (taxpayers can immediately amend the 2002 tax return filed last year). 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 "San Simeon Earthquake" 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 receive copies of tax returns for free. Print “San Simeon Earthquake” in red at the top of the request.

The 6.5 magnitude San Simeon Earthquake occurred in San Luis Obispo County on December 22, 2003.