Breaking News: Disaster Relief Bill Signed by Governor

Posted on September 2, 2015 · Posted in Breaking News, Industry News

9/2/15 – CSEA-Supported Disaster Relief Bill Signed by Governor

On September 1, 2015 Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 35 (Wolk, D – Napa), a bill that provides relief to those affected by the 2014 Napa earthquake. This CSEA-supported bill also resolves a long-standing issue of bureaucratic delays, providing relief to disaster victims in the future. Similar to the federal process, Californians will now automatically be able to claim the deduction, instead of having to wait for the legislature to pass a bill specific to each disaster.

Due to a California law that required a governor-declared disaster to be supported by follow-up legislation, August 2014 Napa earthquake victims were unable to apply losses to their tax returns filed in the previous year. This resulted in delayed tax refunds that could have been used to help with the immediate rebuild and recovery from the disaster.

The Legislature has enacted identical treatment for almost every significant disaster that has occurred in California for the last 25 years. These bills have usually passed long after the tax filing deadline and taxpayers impacted by the disaster have had to file amended returns. CSEA has repeatedly brought this issue forward, including most recently at the 2014 Franchise Tax Board’s (FTB) Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights Hearing.

SB 35 solves this issue by providing for an automatic deduction when a state of emergency is called by the Governor, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2014. CSEA is thrilled that the signing of this bill will remove a legislative hurdle for you and your disaster affected clients.

You can view more information on state legislative bills watched by CSEA, on the CSEA website at www.csea.org/advocacy/legislative-bill-list.