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Tax Relief for Victims of San Joaquin County Levee Break

Taxpayers who live in the federally declared disaster area affected by the June 3 Jones Tract Levee break will be given special tax relief, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced today.

"Victims of disasters, whether fires, earthquakes, or floods, need help. The Franchise Tax Board can lend a hand," said State Controller and FTB Chair Steve Westly.

The Presidential declaration proclaims the Jones Tract Levee break a major disaster. Special tax rules apply to disaster losses. Taxpayers can claim a disaster loss in one of two ways. They can claim the disaster loss in the year the disaster occurred when they file their 2004 tax year return next year. Or taxpayers can claim the loss in the tax year before the disaster occurred by filing an amended 2003 tax return if they have already filed or by filing an original 2003 return before the October 15 extended due date. 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 Joaquin Levee Break” 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 Joaquin Levee Break” in red at the top of the request.

To learn more about 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

At its height, the levee break covered 36 square miles of land under eight feet of water.