Tax Relief Offered to California’s Winter Storm Victims

Given the President’s federal declaration on Monday that severe winter storms resulted in a major disaster for some California counties, including San Bernardino, the Franchise Tax Board today (March 9) announced that special tax relief will be available to California taxpayers affected by the January storms; this will specifically be available to taxpayers in Calaveras, Imperial, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Siskiyou Counties who suffered due to high winds, heavy rain and snowfall, and/or severe mud and debris flows during the period of January 17 to February 6, 2010. In a statement released today, State Controller and FTB Chair Jon Chiang said, “California families who suffered property damage can find quick relief through their tax returns.” The disaster declaration allows affected taxpayers to claim disaster losses in the current or prior tax year. Claiming the loss on a 2009 tax return will allow FTB to issue refunds quickly; those who have already filed a 2009 tax return can file an amended return to claim their losses. Taxpayers claiming the disaster loss should write “California Winter Storms 2010” 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 forms for the 2009 tax return or amended 2009 tax return at FTB’s website, ftb.ca.gov. (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 the Franchise Tax Board toll-free at 800/852-5711 Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.

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