Fiona Ma for State Assembly
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Tax relief for disaster victims passes Assembly

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Legislation to help businesses financially recover from disasters unanimously passed the Assembly Floor this week.

The bill, authored by Assemblyman Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), will provide tax relief by allowing impacted businesses to defer tax payments without additional costs.

The idea for the bill was brought forward by Board of Equalization Chairwoman Fiona Ma in the aftermath of the Valley fire in Lake County.

“When residents and businesses are impacted by disasters, the state needs to step up to help them recover. Giving these businesses additional time and flexibility in their tax deadlines, without fear of additional fees or penalties, is a common sense approach that can help ease the recovery process,” said Dodd. “I’m proud to help lead these efforts with Sen. Mike McGuire and Chairwoman Fiona Ma, who are equally dedicated to supporting victims of natural disasters.”

“The Valley fire was devastating to Lake County, and small businesses continue to struggle in its aftermath. We’re grateful to partner with Assemblymember Dodd and Member Ma to ensure local business owners have some peace of mind and needed tax relief during this ongoing recovery period,” McGuire said.

The 2015 wildfire season was one of the most devastating in California’s history. Assemblymember Dodd’s Fourth Assembly District was particularly impacted by the wildfires of 2015, containing nearly 58 percent of the total extinguished acreage by Cal Fire across the entire state.

In Lake County alone, the Valley fire destroyed nearly two thousand structures over a 23-day period, ultimately becoming the third-most destructive fire in California history.

“The 2015 fire season was a devastating tragedy for so many communities, especially those affected by the Butte and Valley fires, and AB 1559 by Assemblymember Dodd will help us to rebuild by providing relief for businesses affected by these disasters,” said State Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma, CPA. “I am eager to work with Assemblymember Dodd on passing this legislation and helping these communities rebuild and recover.”

If passed into law, the bill, AB 1559, will take immediate effect statewide. 

Under this legislation, future natural and economic disasters would be eligible for filing extensions three times greater than what is allowable under current law. 

Sen. McGuire and Assemblyman Dodd also are working with Gov. Jerry Brown’s office to provide additional relief for Valley fire victims through the state budget and administrative action. 

Last year Gov. Brown signed legislation co-authored by Dodd to provide income tax relief to other taxpayers impacted by natural disasters.