On September 21, 2020, we outlined in this article relief the IRS provided with respect to certain victims of recent Oregon wildfires. On September 30, 2020, the Department of Revenue (“DOR”) followed the IRS, providing similar relief for taxpayers affected by Oregon wildfires. Additionally, the DOR published a set of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) pertaining to this new tax relief.
Who Is Eligible?
FAQ1 makes it clear that any taxpayer residing, having a principal place of business, or maintaining tax records in Douglas, Clackamas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties will be eligible. Additionally, any taxpayer in a locality later added by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the IRS will receive the same relief.
What Is the Relief?
FAQ1 and FAQ2 provide that any eligible taxpayer who incurs any penalties or interest related to late filing or late payment related to due dates that fall on or after September 7, 2020, and before January 15, 2021, will have all such penalties and interest waived by the DOR. Although the DOR indicated it will attempt to waive all those penalties and interest without any further action by the eligible taxpayers, the DOR instructs any eligible taxpayer that does not automatically receive relief to contact the DOR.
For eligible taxpayers having problems making timely payments, FAQ3 encourages those taxpayers to contact the DOR to set up a payment plan.
FAQ4 provides a list of more than two dozen taxes that are subject to this relief. Interestingly, FAQ5 provides different rules for timber tax estimated payments, noting those must be made quarterly in certain circumstances. If an eligible taxpayer has a quarterly payment due in October for which the eligible taxpayer is unable to make a timely payment, the DOR instructs the eligible taxpayer to make a written request for penalty waiver when filing the eligible taxpayer’s timber tax return.
FAQ6 specifically addresses the property tax ramifications in the event a taxpayer’s property is damaged or destroyed during the wildfires. In such instances, the taxpayer may seek tax proration. The DOR provides a separate explanatory document related to tax proration.
Finally, FAQ7 and FAQ8 reiterate earlier informal pronouncements of the DOR making it clear that eligible taxpayers are instructed to contact the DOR if they believe they are entitled to relief or have any other questions.
We will continue to look for additional guidance related to the Oregon wildfires. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments about this or other recent announcements, please do not hesitate to contact Dan Eller or Alee Soleimanpour.
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