Wilk bill would make wildfire settlements tax-free

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News release 

Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, introduced legislation that would help victims of wildfire by exempting settlement payments they receive from state income tax. 

“When you’ve lost everything, the last thing you need is a tax hit on the settlement money meant to help restart your life,” Wilk said in a news release. “The Legislature has already decided that certain wildfire settlements shouldn’t be taxed. So instead of cherry-picking who gets a break, this bill makes it standard across the board.” 

Senate Bill 1004 would make settlement payments made in connection with any California wildfire, from Jan. 1, 2020, forward, tax exempt. Until now efforts to do this have only been case-by-case. 

In 2022, SB 1246 made settlements related to the Thomas Fire and Woolsey Fire tax exempt. And last year, SB 542 did the same for the Zogg Fire. Both bills passed unanimously and were signed into law by the governor. 

“I feel deeply for those who lost their homes, memories, and livelihoods to wildfire. My goal with this bill is to ensure that they have one less thing to worry about, so they can focus on rebuilding and move forward,” concluded Wilk. 

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