As Fire Season Heats Up, Tester & Moran Call for Relief for Those Hit Hardest

Wildfire Tax Assistance Act would let folks affected by wildfires focus on recovering, not filing taxes

As wildfires rage across the Mountain West, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are teaming up to give relief to families impacted by the blazes.

The Senators are introducing their bipartisan Wildfire Tax Assistance Act, which would allow the IRS to give folks who live in areas hit by serious wildfires more time to file their taxes while they recover.

“Wildfires can devastate homes, land, and property, and the last thing folks recovering from the aftermath of a fire need to worry about is filing their taxes,” Tester said. “Our commonsense bill will help Montana families and businesses by giving them more time and flexibility to file, so they can focus on what matters most – safety and recovery.”

Tester’s Wildfire Tax Assistance Act allows the Treasury Secretary to postpone taxes for businesses and individuals after disaster strikes, providing up to one year of extra time for people who live or work in areas that receive a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) following a wildfire. Montana received eight FMAGs in 2017 alone.

Tester has fought hard to help Montana deal with increasingly severe wildfires. After firefighting costs ate up over $2.4 billion of the U.S. Forest Service’s budget in 2017, President Trump signed Tester’s Wildfire Disaster Funding Act into law last March. The law provides a funding fix that enables the Forest Service to fight wildfires as it does other natural disasters, and frees up resources for fire mitigation work like trail maintenance and timber harvest.

Tester also passed the Fire Grants Reauthorization Act to make sure that Montana’s firefighters have the training and equipment they need to keep communities safe, and has pushed for passage of his Wildfire Mitigation Assistance Act to provide FEMA’s hazard mitigation funding to communities recovering from certain major wildfires so they can take steps like building erosion barriers, restoring burned land, and improving drainage systems to help prevent flooding.

More information about Tester’s work defending Montana from wildfires is available HERE.