Tester Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Provide Taxpayer Relief for Montana Wildfire Victims

Senator’s bill to exclude wildfire relief payments, other compensation for losses from taxable income

As a part of his continued work to lower costs for Montanans and support victims of wildfires, U.S. Senator Jon Tester recently introduced bipartisan legislation to provide taxpayer relief to Montanans that receive qualified wildfire relief payments.

“When wildfires hit, families pay a price far greater than any dollar amount—so it’s critical that we provide relief to those hit hardest,” said Tester. “As fire seasons become longer and more extreme, we know that wildfires are becoming even more common in the Treasure State each year, which is why we need to ensure that those affected receive the relief they deserve. I’ll always fight to lower costs for Montanans, and look forward to getting this bipartisan bill across the finish line.”

Currently, some qualified wildfire relief payments to taxpayers count towards their gross taxable income, thus raising the income taxes on taxpayers impacted by wildfires. Tester’s bipartisan legislation will exclude from the gross income of a taxpayer, for income tax purposes, qualified wildfire relief payments, including compensation for losses, expenses, or damages (including compensation for additional living expenses, lost wagers, personal injury, death, or emotional distress) paid in connection with a qualifying wildfire disaster.

Tester has led the charge to mitigate the risk of wildfire in Montana communities. Tester secured $4.4 billion for wildfire suppression in the 2023 government funding package. In November of 2021, Tester secured $3.37 billion to reduce wildfire risk, which included $500 million for Forest Service Community Defense Grants, $500 million for prescribed fires, $500 million for mechanical thinning and timber harvest, and $200 million for post-fire restoration activities through his bipartisanInfrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.


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