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State tax relief for California wildfire victims

California taxpayers affected by the recent California wildfires are eligible for special tax relief.

Taxpayers affected by the wildfires can claim a disaster loss in either the current tax year or the prior year. Claiming the loss in 2007 will allow FTB to quickly issue a refund to the affected taxpayer.

The personal income tax relief is available in counties that have had federal emergency disaster declarations. Counties declared a disaster area to date include: Butte, Kern, Mariposa, Mendocino, Monterey, Plumas, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, and Trinity Counties. If you have clients claiming the disaster loss, write "California Wildfires 2008" in red ink at the top of the tax return to alert FTB to expedite the refund.[1] Taxpayers can get FTB's amended 2007 tax return or original 2007 tax return at FTB's website at ftb.ca.gov.

Your clients who need copies of lost or damaged state returns should complete Form FTB 3516, Request for Copy of Tax Return. Disaster victims can receive free copies of tax returns. Print "California Wildfires 2008" in red at the top of the request.

We will regularly post updated tax information relating to the fires on our website.

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.

Tax information for same-sex married couples

The California Supreme Court recently invalidated two segments of the Family Code that prevented same-sex couples from getting married. The Court ruled that same-sex couples were allowed to marry beginning June 16, 2008, at 5:00 p.m. (see FTB Notice 2008-5 ).

We established a new web page to answer your questions about this ruling, and its effect on the tax laws. The California same-sex married couples (SSMCs) web page presents:

  • Information about the California Supreme Court’s decision on SSMCs.
  • The main SSMC tax issues and frequently asked questions. This includes information on income withholding, estimated tax payments, filing status requirements, etc.
  • A draft copy of Tax Information for Same-Sex Married Couples (FTB Pub. 776) that is available for review and comment.

Bookmark the SSMC webpage to check for updated FAQs, important news, and other information. You can also sign up to receive updates on SSMCs through FTB’s subscription services . Go to ftb.ca.gov and search for subscription services

New online service for lien payoff demand requests

We recently introduced e-Demand, an online application that makes it easier for escrow, title, or mortgage companies to submit lien payoff demand requests. The e-Demand application is a fast and easy way to submit demand requests to us for individuals or business entities. Up to ten e-Demand requests can be submitted in a single session.

To access e-Demand, go to ftb.ca.gov and enter e-Demand in the search field. From this webpage you can also link to other lien information sources. For answers to your questions about this new service, please call 916.845.7086.

[1] Taxpayers who e-file should follow their software instructions to enter the disaster information.