Grand County " Tax incentives available for homeowners to protect houses from fire
Grand County, Colorado
A bill passed by the Colorado Legislature should give some relief to private landowners bearing costs from beetle-kill trees, including in Grand County, Colorado.
HB08-1110, sponsored by Jefferson County legislators Rep. Robert Witwer and Sen. Mike Kopp, allows homeowners to take up to $2,500 in deductions on tree work done in “urban interface” areas of Colorado.
The deduction applies to work focused on making homes safer in the event of wildfire.
Both Grand County legislators Sen. Dan Gibbs and Rep. Al White supported the bill.
The tax deduction, which goes into effect in 2009, can be applied to work needed to make homes more FireWise, such as creating defensible space, developing emergency exits, establishing a viable water supply for fire-fighting, protecting home interiors with sprinklers, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers and updating homes with more fire-resistant materials.
“They’re supposed to be creating defensible space. That’s the key,” said State District Forester Ron Cousineau of the Granby office. “The legislation is intended to encourage wildfire hazard reduction.”
The tax deduction, certified by the Colorado Department of Revenue, would apply to work done from January 2009 until 2014.
The law states that 50 percent of the total cost of creating wildfire defenses can be used for the deduction, up to $2,500. In other words, if $500 is spent on mitigation work, $250 would qualify for the state-tax deduction. Only one income-tax filer per household may claim the deduction.
It’s one of the first bills that targets any private landowner who lives where there is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) in place. The state believes 94,739 households are within wildland urban interface zones, and 75 percent of those households are in areas where there are CWPPs.
It’s estimated the bill will cost the state $411,000 in the first fiscal year of the program (because the program starts halfway through the fiscal year), and $822,000 each year after that.
The bill is intended to encourage wildfire defense work that meets standards of the Colorado State Forest Service, and the deduction does not apply to work completed by the landowner himself or herself.
The bill also was not intended to reimburse individuals for planting trees, Cousineau said, or simply removing beetle-kill trees unless the removal promotes defensible space.
“I do think $2,500 is a great amount. It’s probably not enough to treat a 3-acre lot, but it is a positive impact on most folks who have a 1- to 2- acre lot,” Cousineau said.
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.
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