Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma tours wildfire damage in Lake County

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – On Monday California State Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma visited the massive destruction left behind in the wake of the Valley fire. 

Accompanied by Supervisor Rob Brown, Ma visited the areas of Anderson Springs, Cobb, Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake. 

In the midst of the devastation, she said she was heartened to see state agencies, nonprofit organizations, companies, law enforcement, elected leaders and volunteers throughout California joining together to grant relief and assistance to victims of wildfires.

"It is devastating to see the loss endured by so many families affected by the Valley fire," Ma said. "It is heartbreaking to know that entire communities have been reduced to ashes and though the people affected may rebuild, many personal items and memories are now completely lost."

The State Board of Equalization is participating in the Local Assistance Center located in Middletown, and staff will be on hand to offer assistance including: tax extension to file returns, relief from penalties and/ or interest from some taxes and fees, and replacing copies of records lost to damage for business owners and fee-payers.

“As a locally elected member of the Board of Supervisors, it is very important for me and my community to know that we have the support of state representatives like Board Member Ma,” stated Supervisor Rob Brown. “It is encouraging to have people like her come and show us support during this very difficult time.”

Also, seeking to give relief for taxpayers, the Franchise Tax Board will be offering a disaster loss deduction where victims can claim a disaster loss in either the year the disaster occurred or in the prior tax year. 

A new law automatically allows California disaster loss treatment for losses sustained in areas the governor declares a “state of emergency.” 

Gov. Brown made these state of emergency declarations on Sept. 11 for Amador and Calaveras counties, and Sept. 13 for Lake and Napa counties.

The Valley Fire/Lake County Local Assistance Center is located at the Middletown Senior Center, 21256 Washington St. It's open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice.

State agencies participating at the LAC:

· Department of Motor Vehicles;
· Department of Insurance;
· Vital Records;
· Employment Development Department;
· Contractor’s State License Board;
· Social Security;
· Board of Equalization;
· Franchise Tax Board.

To donate and directly assist victims who lost their homes in Lake County, visit http://www.lakecountylac.com/donate-now.html

To view a list of donation centers in Lake County, please visit: http://www.lovelakecounty.org/.

To sign up to volunteer and aid victims of the Valley fire, you can register online with North Coast Opportunities at www.ncoinc.org . Click on “Lake County Valley Fire Volunteer” under “Most Recent Opportunities” and then hit “Apply.” You will be contacted when a volunteer need arises that meets your availability and skillset.