75 percent of Colorado Homeowners Unaware of Colorado Wildfire Tax Credit

Little known $2500 tax incentive available to those who do wildfire mitigation

Apr 04, 2013, 10:40 ET from The Allstate Corporation

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With less than two weeks before tax day, Coloradoans are eagerly searching for ways to add up their deductions. In a recent survey of Colorado homeowners, Allstate Insurance Company found that 75 percent were unaware of a wildfire mitigation tax subtraction* that could add up to a $2500 credit come April 15. Additionally, of the 17 percent who were aware of the credit, only 14 percent of that group has taken advantage of the credit, meaning there's money left on the table for work necessary to protect Colorado homes from wildfire.

The Colorado Wildfire Tax Credit incentivizes residents to do wildfire mitigation work. As seen during the destructive 2012 wildfire season, many Colorado residents reside in fire danger areas. In fact, of the same group of homeowners surveyed, nearly 20 percent believe they live in a high fire danger area, and 45 percent of those surveyed are concerned about the threat of wildfires near their homes. Of those residents who responded they are concerned about the risk of wildfire near their home, 66 percent had done work to reduce risks around their home. For those residents who have done mitigation, it's important to make sure the credit is applied to taxes.

Not surprisingly, more people who consider themselves as living in a high fire danger area are aware of the tax credit (20 percent) than those who don't think they have high fire danger (71 percent), but the number of people who have taken advantage of this credit remains low, even if mitigation work took place.  

Of those surveyed, residents who live in Pikes Peak area (El Paso, Fremont and Teller counties) seem to be the most concerned about the threat of wildfires with 75 percent responding they were concerned about the threat of wildfires in their area. However, although they had the highest concerned levels, they had the lowest awareness of the wildfire mitigation tax subtraction credit with only 13 percent awareness.

While there are some stipulations to the tax subtraction, many homeowners who have completed wildfire mitigation work are eligible for this incentive.  In fact, of those who were previously unaware of the tax subtraction, 62 percent said learning about the tax subtraction did incentivize them to take action, and they indicated they were more likely to do mitigation.

Allstate encourages all homeowners, whether they'll take advantage of the tax subtraction or not, to prepare their home against the threat of wildfires. Forecasters are calling for a warm and dry summer and Allstate has these tips to share with homeowners:

  • Create and maintain a defensible space around your house
    • Eliminate fuel sources like dry landscaping, woodpiles and decks.
    • Prune trees and shrubs.
    • Trim taller trees so lowest branch is no less than six feet from the ground.
    • Remove dead leaves and branches from the yard.
    • Clear branches from around the roof and chimney.
    • Mow lawn regularly and dispose promptly of cuttings and debris.
    • Clear roof, gutters and eaves of debris.
    • Maintain your irrigation system.
    • Move firewood and storage tanks 50 feet away from the home.
    • Store flammable liquids properly.   
  • Create a home inventory and know where important belongings are located
    • Locate and store all your important documents in one location. Items like passports, insurance documents, marriage/birth certificates, financial statements, etc. should all be in one location.
    • Create a home inventory with pictures and/or videos. Store the images and videos offsite or in a cloud based technology like www.digitallocker.com. Make sure you open drawers, closets and jewelry boxes and get images of as many of your belongings as possible.
    • Know exactly where your irreplaceable items like heirloom jewelry, fine artwork and pictures are stored so in case of an emergency evacuation, if time permits, you can easily grab the items and get out of the house as soon as possible.
  • Contact your local insurance agent for an annual insurance review
    • It's a good policy to have an annual meeting with your local insurance agent. They can help you assess the changes in your life and discuss the insurance that is available so that you can choose the insurance protection that fits your needs.
    • Anytime you have a life change, like a new house, marriage, family addition, home renovation, you should call your agent and assess the changes.

While the wildfire season is gearing up to be volatile, homeowners can, and should, take steps to help protect their homes, and they should take advantage of the tax subtractions if they do the proper mitigation work.

Survey Methodology
This automated poll was conducted November 26December 2, 2012 with 865 homeowners in Colorado.  The margin of error for a sample size of 865 interviews is +\- 3.33% at the 95% confidence level. The survey was conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, Inc.

*As authorized by §39-22-104(4)(n), C.R.S., for income tax years 2009 through 2013 individuals, estates and trusts may subtract from federal taxable income 50 percent of the costs incurred in performing wildfire mitigation measures. For qualifications and limitations under the Wildfire Mitigation Measures Subtraction, please visit the Colorado Department of Revenue.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com, www.allstate.com/financial and 1-800 Allstate®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®." As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.

SOURCE The Allstate Corporation