Tax Relief For Business And Property Owners Following Recent Earthquake In Napa Valley

NR# 49-A
Date: September 12, 2000
Customer and Taxpayer Services Division

Tax Relief For Business And Property Owners Following Recent Earthquake In Napa Valley

Emergency tax relief is available to businesses and property owners who suffered losses due to the recent earthquake in the Napa Valley, announced Dean Andal, Chairman, State Board of Equalization (BOE).

Special tax relief is available through three measures:

  • A one-month extension of the due date for sales and use taxes, gasoline tax, use fuel tax, alcoholic beverage taxes, cigarette and tobacco products taxes, energy resources and emergency telephone surcharges, as well as the integrated waste management fee, tire recycling fee, occupational lead poisoning prevention fee, childhood lead poisoning prevention fee, jet fuel tax, diesel fuel tax, interstate user tax, underground storage tank maintenance fee, oil spill prevention and response and administration fees, and hazardous waste fees.

  • A reduced property tax assessment and deferral of property taxes on damaged property such as home and business structures.

  • A refund of alcoholic beverage and cigarette taxes paid by distributors, wholesalers, and retailers on unmarketable goods.

Relief of Interest and Penalties
Relief from interest and penalties may be provided for those persons who are unable to file their returns and pay taxes due on time in the following programs: sales and use taxes, use fuel tax, alcoholic beverage taxes, cigarette and tobacco products taxes, gasoline tax, energy resources and emergency telephone surcharges, and hazardous waste fees, as well as the integrated waste management, occupational lead poisoning, and underground storage tank fees, jet fuel tax, diesel fuel taxes, interstate user tax, childhood lead poisoning prevention fee, and oil spill fees. Taxpayers must include with their returns a statement under penalty of perjury giving the causes for the late filing.

Relief from penalties, but not interest, is available with respect to the tire-recycling fee by including with returns a statement under penalty of perjury giving the causes for late filing.

Please note, the relief program for interstate user tax under IFTA applies for California tax only. To waive interest and penalties for another jurisdiction, the Board of Equalization must receive written approval from the other jurisdiction. For information regarding IFTA, please call the Fuel Taxes Division at (916) 322-9669.

Property Tax Relief
Napa County has in place an ordinance, authorized by Section 170 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, that allows county assessors to recognize a loss in a property's market value from a calamity. To be eligible for this relief, the loss in value must exceed $5,000.

Under a Section 170 ordinance, the assessed value of the damaged property is reduced in proportion to the loss in market value; the reduced value is used to calculate a pro-rata reduction in taxes. The property will retain its lower value, with reduced taxes, until it is restored, repaired, or reconstructed. The lowered value may, however, be annually adjusted by an inflation factor not to exceed two percent (Section 51, Revenue and Taxation Code).

Also, since the Governor has proclaimed Napa County to be in a state of emergency, owners of real property and manufactured homes may be eligible under Revenue and Taxation Code Section 194.1 to delay payment of the December 10, 2000 property tax installment without penalty. If all of the conditions for property tax deferral are met, and a property tax deferral claim is timely filed, the payment will be due and delinquent 30 days after a corrected tax bill is issued.

Property owners who have suffered damage from the earthquake should file an application with the county assessor for reassessment to reflect the condition and value of the property after the damage. State law normally requires that the claim and supporting information be filed within 60 days of the date of the disaster. Property owners are urged to contact the assessor's office as soon as possible to file applications for reassessment and claims for deferral of the December 10, 2000 tax installment, or to obtain more information.

Refund of Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages and Cigarettes
A refund of taxes paid or included in the price of alcoholic beverages or cigarettes may be obtained by distributors, wholesalers, and retailers if the products have been rendered unmarketable by reason of disaster. For alcoholic beverages, the loss must exceed $250; there is no minimum on cigarettes. Claims for alcoholic beverage tax refunds should be filed directly with the Board of Equalization's Excise Taxes Division within six months from when the damage occurred. Distributors' claims for cigarette tax refunds should be filed directly with the Board of Equalization's Excise Taxes Division, but retailers' and wholesalers' claims for cigarette tax refunds must be filed through their distributors.

For information regarding the alcohol beverage tax and the cigarette tax, please call the Excise Taxes Division at (916) 327-4208. For further information regarding property tax, please contact your local county assessor. For information on sales and use tax, the gasoline tax, the use fuel tax, and the other taxes, fees, and surcharges listed above, please call the Board's toll free Information Call Center at 1-800-400-7115. For copies of BOE 27, Penalty and Interest Relief for Disaster Victims, you may visit the Board's website, www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/boe27.pdf", or request copies through the faxback system or from a customer service representative at the Board's Information Call Center at 1-800-400-7115.

Copies of Board of Equalization Tax Records Available
Business owners needing to obtain copies of Board of Equalization tax records lost during the fires will be able to receive replacement. The Board will send business owners free of charge copies of critically needed tax records on file with the Board, including prior tax returns filed with the Board, copies of audits, and permit application forms. Those requesting records should call the Board's Customer & Taxpayer Services Division's toll free number at 1-800-400-7115.

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