Tips for Disaster Survivors

Understand how taxes may apply to your

insurance and SDG&E recoveries

re: 2007 Wildfires


In a federally declared disaster, such as the 2007 San Diego Wildfires, special federal and state tax law provisions provide some tax relief for fire victims:

 ·         personal property recovery exempt from tax

·         additional $250,000 per PERSON exclusion on primary residence

·         4 years from fire to file losses

·         reasonable TAX FILINGS EXTENSIONS allowed


Not SO good news—ITEMS BELOW are taxed aS ORDINARY INCOME At high rate:



·        LOST WAGES


Please email your general questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or call CARe at 888-216-8264.

CARe will post TAX FAQs on its website:



  To get general disaster tax answers—at no cost to you—from highly qualified DISASTER tax professionals please email your general questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. regarding your 2007 wildfire tax issues. Answers will include the appropriate tax authority citations.

If you were insured by Allstate and had a structural loss between September 6, 1996 and December 6, 2010 then you need to know about this class action lawsuit AND ACT or you might loose your rights to pursue ANY further legal action.

To learn more about what you need to do, please go to

Please look into this ASAP. Deadlines are comming up very quickly!


I'd like to take the time to remind disaster survivors who have insurance money held in escrow by their mortgage company to check if you're being paid interest on those funds. Many institutions will pay interest if asked, although it can take asking several different people, or moving up the chain of command at the mortgage company before finding someone who is willing to admit this. 

This is especially true of homeowners who were included in a class action lawsuit settled in November of 2009. Although this settlement was specifically with Countrywide/Bank of America, it has been reported to us by survivors using many other banks and mortgage companies that they also received interest once they persisted.

Here is a clip from an article posted on our site:

A class action filed on behalf of California fire victims against Countrywide Home Loans was settled November 25, 2009 in Los Angeles Superior Court (Van Der Touw v Countrywide, BC392189).

Based on alleged violations of California's Civil Code Section 2954.8, and Business and Professions Code Section 17200, the class action suit claimed that the mortgage lender, Countrywide Home Loans, breached California laws by not paying homeowners the minimum 2% interest on insurance proceeds held by their lender. The code sections apply to state, not federally, chartered institutions.

The practice of withholding interest on monies held from insurance settlement proceeds or escrow account holders amounted to free funds at the expense of diligent homeowners who suffered damages from an insured peril. Individually, no case would have prevailed because any recovery would have been insignificant compared to the costs of litigation.

For more information, click here:

Inspirational Quotes

Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is a greater.

William Hazlitt


We lost our home in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire in Poway CA. As was the case with most (if not all) of my neighbors, we were drastically under insured through no fault of our own. I don’t believe that anyone is prepared for such a catastrophic emotional and financial loss. The task of completely rebuilding your life is monumental. Fortunately, the city of Poway co-operated with CARe and allowed them to hold bi-weekly insurance meetings in the City Chambers. After attending 2 of the group meetings we then scheduled several one-on-one meetings with CARe and were able to start to piece together the puzzle that is a catastrophic insurance claim. The resources which CARe was able to put us in touch with were incredible, and after they showed us the basics of handling an insurance claim we felt that we had knowledge to work through the once daunting task of negotiating with our insurance company. We could not have made it through the process without the information, help and encouragement that we received from CARe

Witch Creek Fire Survivor, 2007