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Tax News
Tax relief for Southern California fire victims

Taxpayers affected by the wildfires in any of the federally declared disaster areas will be given special tax relief.

California will match the postponement periods announced by the IRS, giving taxpayers affected by the disaster who have tax returns, payments, or other time-sensitive tax obligations 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.

The counties in the declared state and federal disaster area are Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.

Other special tax rules apply to disaster losses. Your clients who are affected 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 we can quickly issue a refund.

The Board of Equalization has also granted relief to affected taxpayers. Please refer to their news release at

If your clients are affected by the fires and 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.

Check our website at for updates as conditions unfold. Your clients 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.

See "Inside FTB" in this issue for more information about steps we have taken relating to the California fires.