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Taxpayers should write the name of the disaster (for example, Dixie Fire) in blue or black ink at the top of their tax return to alert FTB. If taxpayers are filing electronically, they should follow the software instructions to enter disaster information. If an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice related to the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.
Taxpayers who are victims of wildfires may claim a deduction for a disaster loss sustained in an area proclaimed by the governor to be in a state of emergency. For a complete list of all disasters declared by the governor, see the “List of Disasters” chart on FTB’s disaster loss webpage. Additional information and instructions are available in FTB Publication 1034, 2020 Disaster Loss: How to Claim a State Tax Deduction.
Taxpayers may claim their disaster loss in one of two ways: They may claim the disaster loss for the 2021 tax year when they file their return next spring, or they may claim the loss against 2020 income on this year’s return. An amended return may be filed by those who already have filed this year. The advantage of claiming the disaster loss in the prior tax year is that the FTB can issue a refund sooner.
Disaster victims also may receive free copies of their state returns to replace those lost or damaged. Taxpayers may complete form FTB 3516 and write the name of the disaster in blue or black ink at the top of the request.