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FTB Offers Tax Postponement Periods to Fire Victims

Released: October 29, 2007

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) today announced that taxpayers impacted by the wildfires in any of the federally declared disaster areas will be given special tax relief.

“The last thing victims of these fires need to worry about is taxes,” said State Controller and FTB Chair John Chiang. "We want to give people time to focus on putting their lives back together."

California will match the postponement periods announced today by the IRS giving taxpayers impacted by the disaster who have tax returns, payments, or other time sensitive acts due on or after October 21, 2007, through January 31, 2008, an automatic postponement through January 31, 2008. This includes the estimated tax payment for the fourth quarter, normally due on January 15. For complete details regarding tax deadline postponements, refer to the IRS News Release IR-2007-178.

Last week President Bush declared the counties of Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego a federal disaster area.

Other special tax rules apply to disaster losses. Taxpayers can claim a disaster loss in the tax year the disaster occurred (on the 2007 tax return that taxpayers will file next spring) or in the year before the disaster occurred (by amending the 2006 tax return filed earlier this year). The advantage of claiming a disaster loss in the prior year is that FTB can quickly issue a refund.

The Board of Equalization has also granted impacted taxpayers relief. Please refer to their news release at www.boe.ca.gov.

If taxpayers impacted by the fires need copies of state tax returns to replace lost or damaged ones, they should complete Form FTB 3516, Request for Copy of Tax Return. Print “Southern California Wildfires 2007” in red at the top of the request. Disaster victims receive free copies of tax returns. For more disaster loss information, refer to publication FTB 1034, Disaster Loss or IRS 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts.

Taxpayers should check FTB's Website at www.ftb.ca.gov for updates as conditions warrant. 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.