FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2015
Mary Ann Dunwell, Public Information Officer
(406) 444-6700, MDunwell@mt.gov
Molly Petersen, Public Information Specialist
(406) 444-4331, MollyPetersen@mt.gov
Owners of property damaged by wildfire, natural disaster may qualify for tax relief
Helena – The Montana Department of Revenue encourages Montana property owners whose homes or forestlands are damaged or destroyed during wildfire season to apply for property tax relief.
A property owner whose home or outbuildings are partially or totally destroyed by wildfire, rendering the property unsuitable for its previous use, may be eligible for property tax relief. Businesses whose equipment is destroyed may also qualify.
The tax relief is prorated based on the number of days in the tax year that the property is unusable. The relief is available for the current tax year. The department asks property owners to complete Form AB-25 to apply for the property tax relief. They’ll need to complete the application by December 31, 2015.
In addition, a forestland owner whose standing timber has been destroyed by wildfire during 2015 will receive a reduction in the assessed value for 20 years beginning with the 2016 tax year. The land impacted by the wildfire will need to have been classified as commercial forestland by the Department of Revenue prior to the loss. Forestland owners need to complete Form AB-26, which can be done at any time following the loss.
Both Form AB-25 and Form AB-26 are available at all Department of Revenue local offices and on the department's website at revenue.mt.gov/propertytax-relief.
"Montana wildfires can be devastating and we are sorry for Montanans who may lose homes and other property to wildfire or any natural disaster,” said Revenue Director Mike Kadas. “This tax relief can be significant and help provide some relief as property owners recover from wildfire.”
The state’s natural disaster property tax relief also covers properties damaged by flood or wind.
Montana property owners who experience a natural disaster-related loss of a dwelling also may be eligible for an income tax deduction. In addition, the department can issue replacement copies of property records, past-year tax returns, or other revenue-related information that is lost in a wildfire.
For more information, contact your local Department of Revenue office. You can also phone the call center toll free at (866) 859-2254, or in Helena at 444-6900, or visit the department's website at revenue.mt.gov.
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