IRS Announces Relief for Victims

IRS Announces Relief For Victims of Colorado Wildfires

The Internal Revenue Service announced special tax relief for Colorado residents affected by the wildfires that began April 23, 2002. President Bush signed the federal disaster declaration on June 19, 2002.

For the purposes of this tax relief, affected taxpayers include individuals and businesses located, or those whose tax records, are in an area within one of the 32 zip codes listed on the attachment. Additionally, relief workers, fire fighters and taxpayers outside these 32 zip codes, who are significantly impacted by the fires, also will qualify for the relief described below. When filing amended tax returns or taking advantage of the additional time to file, taxpayers should mark their tax returns in red ink with Disaster Relief, Colorado Fires, at the top of their tax forms.

Tax relief includes giving affected taxpayers the option of claiming uninsured disaster related casualty losses on either their 2001 or 2002 federal income tax returns. Filing amended returns and claiming the losses on 2001 tax returns usually results in a tax refund. Un-reimbursed losses, those not covered by insurance, are deductible to the extent they exceed $100 and ten percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income.

In addition, affected taxpayers are granted the following relief:

Taxpayers with tax returns originally due between April 23 and October 15, 2002, will have until October 15, 2002, to file without penalty. Taxpayers may request an additional extension of time to file, not to exceed six months in total, by filing the appropriate form on or before October 15, 2002.

Taxpayers, who requested an extension of time to file their 2001 individual income tax return to August 15, 2002, will have until October 15, 2002, to file without penalty. Fiscal year corporations that have obtained an automatic six-month extension of time to file with the extended due date falling between April 23 and October 15, 2002, will not be eligible for any further extensions under section 6081 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Automatic extensions doe not apply to Form 5500 series returns (certain pension returns) and information returns.

No failure to pay penalty or interest will be due from an affected taxpayer from the later of the original payment due or April 23, 2002, until October 15, 2002.

The time for making deposits for employment and excise taxes is not extended. However, the IRS will consider requests for abatement of the failure to deposit penalty based on reasonable cause for deposits due between April 23, 2002, and October 15, 2002 on a case-by-case basis.

Taxpayers who need copies of previously filed tax returns in order to apply for benefits or file amended returns claiming fire losses, can have their requests expedited and will not be charged the usual photocopying fees. Taxpayers must complete Form 4506, Request for Copy or Transcript of Tax Form, label the top margin of the form, Disaster Relief, Colorado Fires and submit to the IRS.

Affected taxpayers in the disaster area can get tax information at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sites. For locations and hours, contact FEMA at 800-621-3362 everyday 8AM-6PM. Hearing and speech impaired taxpayers can call 800-462-7585.

General IRS help is available at 800-829-1040. IRS forms and publications can be ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORMS or downloaded from the IRS’s web site at

32 Colorado ZIP Codes with Significant Impact from Fires (Taxpayers Granted Automatic Relief)

County Name Zip Codes
Custer 81252, 81253
Douglas 80135
El Paso 80919,80809
Garfield 81601,81602,81647
Gunnison 81230,81231
Jefferson 80425,80433,80470
La Plata 81301,81302,81326,81329
Las Animas 81091,81082
Mesa 81523
Park 80820,80827
Pitkin 81623
Rio Blanco 81641
Rio Grande 81132,81137,81154
San Miguel 81423
Saguache 81125
Teller 80814,80816,80863