Sea Otter, Tony Trupp
© Tony Trupp

Sea Otter

The California Sea Otter Fund

If you pay income taxes in California, there’s a quick and easy way that you can help protect sea otters and encourage their continued recovery. All you have to do is fill in a box! 

Donations to the California Sea Otter Fund go to research into sea otter mortality, and programs to improve near-shore ocean habitats and protect sea otters. To perform this important work, the Fund is made up only of contributions through this tax check-off program, so this is your once-a-year opportunity to make an impact that will last much longer. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. When preparing your California income tax return, go to the contributions section (side 4 of Form 540 or side 3 of Form 540-2EZ)
  2. Enter the amount of money you wish to donate to the California Sea Otter Fund in the box on line 410. Whole dollars only, please – the Franchise Tax Board will not accept cents. 
  3. Submit your tax forms as usual, and know that you’ve helped a really great cause. Plus, when you do next year’s taxes, this donation will be tax-deductible! 

If someone else prepares your state tax return: 

Please tell him or her if you want to make a voluntary contribution to the California Sea Otter Fund on line 410. 

If you use Turbo Tax:  
When you near the end of your tax return, it should ask if you want to make a voluntary contribution to a special fund. Click “Yes,” then scroll to line 410 and enter the amount you want to donate.

For additional information, please visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife tax check-off page at and the Sea Otter Fund Facebook page at

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Sea otters, © Tony Trupp
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Success Story
In December 2012, after much outreach from Defenders and our supporters, the "no otter zone" is finally no more.
Where We Work
The Golden state is home to millions of wild birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish that need our help.