Wilk’s bill to make wildfire settlements tax free clears Senate 

Politics and government

News release 

Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced that his bill to make wildfire settlement payments tax-free was approved unanimously on the Senate floor. 

“Wildfire victims, who have lost everything through no fault of their own, deserve every cent of any settlements they may receive. The Legislature already recognizes this, and has granted tax-free status to numerous wildfire settlements,” Wilk said in a news release. “This bill creates consistency and will help alleviate an unnecessary burden on those working to rebuild their lives.” 

Senate Bill 1004 would make settlement payments made in connection with any California wildfire, from Jan 1, 2020, forward, tax-exempt and would have a 10-year sunset. 

In 2022, SB 1246 and Assembly Bill 1249 were signed into law, making settlements related to the Thomas Fire, the Woolsey Fire, the Butte Fire, the North Bay Fires, and the Camp Fire tax-exempt. Similarly, SB 370 and SB 542 proposed to do the same for the Kincade and Zogg Fires. Both passed the Senate unanimously in 2023.  

In 2020 the Bobcat Fire, which burned over 115,000 acres and destroyed homes in the Juniper Hills community, was determined to have been caused by a tree coming in contact with power lines. 

“Unfortunately, any settlements my constituents may receive will not be tax-free because the Bobcat Fire was not included in past legislative efforts. SB 1004 would ensure that they, and all California wildfire victims, get the same treatment,” Wilk concluded.   

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