I am so very honored to be heading to Capitol Hill in Washington DC this week to meet with elected representatives as part of a wildfire delegation representing survivors of the Thomas Fire and Woolsey Hill Fire, as well as the work of the Local Love Project.
We will be meeting with our Congressmen and Congresswomen to discuss recovery efforts and to advocate for tax relief for so many who were affected by the deadly megafires caused by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE).
Currently, the IRS tax code considers funds received for emotional distress (aka pain and suffering) and other categories of restitution as taxable income. These funds are critical to fire survivors as they work to rebuild their lives. Taxing pain and suffering only continues to re-victimize the survivor and limit their ability to rebuild their lives.
The State of California has already passed a law, AB1249, signed by Governor Newsom in September 2022, which made all aspects of fire victim claims non-taxable.
This bipartisan effort is spearheaded by Representatives LaMalfa (R-CA-1) and Thompson (D-CA-5) and has broad support across the aisle.
The current proposed legislation, H.R.176 — 118th Congress (2023-2024) [LaMalfa, R-CA-1]: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish a deduction for attorney fees awarded with respect to certain wildfire damages and to exclude from gross income settlement funds received with respect to such damages.
H.R.176 is a reintroduction from the 2022 legislation session of H.R.7305 — 117th Congress (2021-2022) [Thompson, D-CA-5], a bipartisan effort that was removed from the Omnibus Bill at the end of the 2022 congressional session.
We are asking our Congressional Representatives to stand with our wildfire community. The delegation is made up of survivors and disaster relief organizations from California, Oregon, and Colorado, who have come together with the help of the After the Fire Group out of Sonoma County. This will be a show of unity and help to create a common voice across the issue of megafires in our country. This bill will not only benefit the wildfire survivors and claimants, but will also assist future disaster-affected individuals, such as the Texas freeze and the Sunnyside condominium collapse of 2021.
Please write and call your Congressional Representative to ask them to support this bill for our wildfire-affected community.
Representing Ventura County, California 26th District
Congresswoman Julia Brownley
Phone: (202) 225-5811
Email form on her site: Email Me – Congresswoman Julia Brownley (house.gov)
Representing Los Angeles County, California 5th District
Congressman Tim McClintock
Email form on his site: Email Me | Congressman Tom McClintock (house.gov)
Thank you for your support.