Wilk's bill to make wildfire settlements tax-free clears first committee

Today Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announced his measure to make wildfire settlement payments tax-free passed out of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.

“The last thing people deserve after losing their home to wildfire is a tax on the money that’s meant to help restart their life,” said Senator Wilk. “The legislature has said numerous times that certain wildfire settlements should be tax exempt. That should be the standard across the board, so victims have one less thing to worry about as they heal and move on.”

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

In 2022, Senate Bill 1246 and Assembly Bill 1249 were signed into law making settlements related to the Thomas, Woolsey, Butte, Camp, and North Bay Fires tax-exempt. Similarly, Senate Bill 370 and Senate Bill 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 into 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 victims of wildfire regardless of where they live, get the same treatment,” Wilk concluded