Paul Wellman (file)

Tax Duty Can Include Outdoor Donation

If putting together 2015’s tax returns forces you to stay indoors on a beautiful spring weekend, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wants to remind that Form 540 has a space for a donation to the great outdoors. You can make a voluntary contribution to numerous funds — ranging from health research to social programs — on page four of the California Resident Income Tax Return. CDFW suggests the California Sea Otter Fund (line 410) and the Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program (line 403).

Though the sea otter has been increasing in population, the 3,000 animals today are a small fraction of their historic numbers. The mammal continues to be listed under the Endangered Species Act, and donations go toward CDFW and the State Coastal Conservancy’s otter research and outreach programs. The Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program has collected more than $21 million through this program since 1983. The contributions help gain federal matching grants to support the recovery of state-listed flora and fauna. Past successes include the peregrine falcon and California brown pelican.

[UPDATE]: Chris Parry with the Coastal Commission adds that “donations to the Protect Our Coast and Oceans fund [Line 424] go back to communities in the form of grants to clean up shorelines, restore habitat, and foster coastal conservation and stewardship.” The fund must raise $253,000 to remain on the tax form, she wrote. It focuses on inspiring future stewards of the coast, with last year’s donations sending students from the Central Valley to Monterey beaches to study mole crabs and Los Angeles youth to explore Bolsa Chica wetlands and Abalone Cove, and more.

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