Victims of 2011 Windstorm Damage Get Tax Relief

September 7, 2012

Sacramento—Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1544, the Windstorm Tax Relief bill authored by Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, O.D (D-West Covina). This bill provides tax relief to individuals and businesses who suffered damages as a result of last year’s windstorms. 

Beginning on November 30, 2011, powerful windstorms blew through Los Angeles County including much of the San Gabriel Valley, toppling trees, downing power lines, slowing traffic, damaging homes and vehicles, and knocking out electricity for over 350,000 customers.  The cleanup in Los Angeles County alone topped $17 million.

Existing Federal and state law allows taxpayers to deduct disaster losses in the year they occurred (or for a prior year by filing an amended return), but only when the President officially declares the event a disaster. While the damage from the windstorms was significant enough for the Governor to declare a State of Emergency for the region, it was just shy of the threshold necessary for the President to designate it a “disaster area”.

Senator Hernandez’ legislation, SB 1544, amends state law to allow taxpayers who suffered damages during the 2011 Windstorms to carry forward 100 percent of their uninsured losses for 20 years, and claim losses for 2011 by filing an amended return. This bill gives affected residents and businesses the same tax relief that has been afforded other Californians afflicted by declared emergencies.

Senator Hernandez said, “The damage from these windstorms was so significant, it seemed a little silly to withhold some measure of relief simply because it didn’t meet some technical threshold as a ‘disaster’, and I am glad to see the Governor agreed with me.  Now people affected by these severe winds can get the tax relief they need and deserve to help come back from the losses they suffered.”

This bill was also supported by the El Monte and South El Monte Chamber of Commerce, the City of San Gabriel, and the County of San Bernardino.

Senator Hernandez represents the 24th Senate District, which includes parts of the City of Los Angeles including El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, City Terrace, Montecito Heights, as well as East Los Angeles and the Cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, Monterey Park, Rosemead, and West Covina. The district also includes the communities of Avocado Heights, Citrus, Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, South San Gabriel, Valinda and Vincent.