Tax Relief Coming to Colorado Wildfire Victims

Victims of the New Year wildfires in Colorado now have one less thing to worry about. The Internal Revenue Service has given individual and business taxpayers affected by the disaster until May 16 to file and pay an array of federal taxes.

The fires started December 30, wiping out hundreds of homes in Boulder County. At present, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared all of Boulder County a federal disaster area, allowing any residents and businesses within the county to qualify for the IRS relief measures.

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If FEMA expands the disaster declaration to cover more counties or locations, those new areas would automatically be included in the IRS relief provisions. A current list of eligible locations can be found on the disaster relief page of the IRS website.

More time to file and pay

The IRS relief delays various tax deadlines for filing and payment that would otherwise have occurred between December 30 and May 16. Individual taxpayers and businesses within the disaster area now have until May 16 to file their returns and pay any taxes that would have been due during the postponement period.

The new May 16 deadline applies to:

  • 2021 individual income tax returns that would have been due otherwise on April 18;
  • 2021 business returns that would have been due in March and April;
  • Quarterly estimated income tax payments otherwise due on January 31 and May 2 (taxpayers can skip the fourth-quarter estimated tax payment normally due on January 18, and simply include it with the 2021 return when they file—or send it in to the IRS before May 16).

For a complete list of the tax returns, payments and other tax-related items that qualify for the IRS relief, see the Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses page on

Relief measures are automatic

The extended deadlines and other relief measures are applied automatically to those taxpayers inside the federally declared disaster area. Taxpayers do not need to contact the IRS to qualify for the relief.

That said, if a taxpayer within the disaster area gets a notice of late filing or late payment from the IRS with a due date within the December 30-May 16 time frame, the taxpayer should call the number printed on the notice to have the penalty abated.

Taxpayers with uninsured or unreimbursed losses due to the fires can choose to make the claim either on the return for the year the loss occurred, or on the return for the previous year. The IRS reminds filers to write the FEMA declaration number 4634DR on returns that claim such a loss.

Publication 547 has details on claiming disaster-related losses.

Source: IR-2022-01

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