TOPEKA - Twice as many have filed for a special state sales tax exemption offered after recent wildfires than filed in all of 2016 after wildfires raged in Barber and Comanche counties.

Nine refunds were sought last year, and 18 have filed exemptions this month, most coming from southwest Kansas, according to Chase Blasi, legislative liaison with the Kansas Department of Commerce. He informed the House Taxation Committee of the numbers on Tuesday afternoon. 

Blasi said the Kansas Livestock Associaiton and Kansas Farm Bureau have done a good job promoting information about the tax break for those replacing or repairing fire-damaged fencing around agricultural land. The governor signed the legislation last week, and it took effect March 23. 

This year, the state is offering a sales tax exemption certificate that can be used at the point of purchase. Last year, farmers sought refunds after paying the sales tax upfront. The certificate was intentionally written into this year's legislation, because legislators noted that farmers found the refund process cumbersome and did not take full advantage of the program. 

Information about applying for the exemption certificate is on ksrevenue.org, or is available by calling the department, (785) 296-3070.

The sales tax exemption may be used by those purchasing supplies or services to rebuild fencing after 2016 or 2017 wildfires in the state, and will remain available through Dec. 31, 2018.