How You Can Choose to Help Recover and Rehabilitate Wildlife When You File Your Taxes

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Voluntary taxes. It sounds like an oxymoron, but those contributions on your tax form can go a long way to supporting California’s native wildlife and plant species, says Tish Palamidessi of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

“Every Californian who files their taxes fills out a Form 540 and at the end is a voluntary tax contribution section and we happen to have three items on that list,” she told KCLU.

“They all work to protect rare, threatened or endangered species, or to rehabilitate injured, sick or orphaned wildlife in this state,” she said.

By donating even a few dollars to the Voluntary Tax Contribution Program for the Preservation of Rare and Endangered Species (Line 403 of Tax Form 540), the California Sea Otter Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund (Line 410), and to the California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund (line 439), you will help conserve and protect our state’s most endangered species, Palamidessi said.

Contributions to the California Sea Otter Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund (line 410) are split between CDFW and the State Coastal Conservancy for the benefit of southern sea otters.

Southern sea otters are the smallest of all marine mammals and once lived in coastal waters along the entire California coast. They play an important role in supporting the coastal marine ecosystem by helping to maintain healthy kelp forests and sea grasses.

Since 1995, California’s sea otter population has fluctuated between 2,000 and 3,000, as their numbers have been slow to rebound due to a variety of factors, including pollution, ship strikes, and pests from land animals. .

CDFW uses its share of tax donations to fund research into the causes of sea otter mortality. The Coastal Conservancy uses its share for grants to support research and aid in the recovery of the sea otter population.

Donations to the California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund (line 439) help support the care provided by licensed wildlife rehabilitation facilities to injured, sick, and orphaned native California wildlife.

CDFW uses donations to provide funds directly to wildlife rehabilitators statewide through a competitive grant program. Grants are used to support activities that include, but are not limited to, innovation in animal care during rehabilitation, veterinary treatment, dietary and behavioral fortification, facility operation, post-disease monitoring, release and conservation education for the public and local communities.

The California state tax deadline to file your 2021 taxes with the Franchise Tax Board is April 18, 2022.

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