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Franchise Tax Board offers relief period for fire victims

Extended to Dec. 15

OW Staff Writer | 10/9/2020, midnight

The Franchise Tax Board has extended the tax filing relief for people who were affected by wildfires that broke out last month in Los Angeles County and other counties throughout the state.

Taxpayers in areas that were declared disaster areas by Gov. Gavin Newsom will be granted an extension to Dec. 15 to file California tax returns on 2019 income and make any tax payments that would have been due between now and Dec. 15.

“Californians affected by this historic wildfire season need the opportunity to focus on themselves, their families and their properties,’’ State Controller and FTB chair Betty T. Yee said. “I hope this extension provides a small measure of relief under very difficult circumstances.’’

The relief applies to various upcoming tax filing deadlines including:

--Individual filers whose previous tax-filing extension was set to end Oct. 15. Any tax payments associated with the filings are not eligible for relief since they were initially due July 15; and

--Business entities with a due date between now and Dec. 15.

Wildfire victims may also claim a deduction on this year’s income tax return or next year’s return for a disaster loss sustained in an area proclaimed by the governor to be in a state of emergency, according to the Franchise Tax Board, which noted that those who have already filed tax returns this year can file an amended return.

Officials noted that the Franchise Tax Board can issue a refund sooner if the disaster loss is claimed on the 2020 tax return.

Taxpayers claiming the disaster loss should write the name of the fire in blue or black ink at the top of their tax returns to alert the Franchise Tax Board and to expedite any refund. Those who are filing electronically are urged to follow the software instructions to enter disaster information.