New 2c Managed Forest Land tax classification

August 11, 2008 at 9:21 pm 11 comments

The Minnesota legislature has created a new property tax classification for which many Minnesota woodland owners are eligible. This is big news–the new class rate is 0.65 percent, which is a 35 percent reduction.

This new Department of Revenue property tax classification is called 2c Managed Forest Land.

White pine photo by esagor

“In addition to leadership from the Minnesota Forestry Association and all the partners who helped, we need to especially thank Senator Tom Bakk and Representative Larry Hosch for sponsoring legislation that led to the 2c Managed Forest Law. The Departments of Revenue and Natural Resources were also very cooperative in drawing up the application and final rules to allow landowners easy access to the program” said Tom Kroll, Arboretum Director at Saint John’s University.

Who’s eligible for this new classification? Any landowner with at least 20 wooded acres (but not more than 1,920 acres) under a current forest stewardship management plan. The forest management plan must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, and must be no more than ten years old. Landowners who don’t have a forest management plan can contact their local DNR Forestry office to request one.

Land already enrolled in a tax reducing program such as Sustainable Forest Incentive Act or Green Acres, to name a few, are not eligible for the 2c Managed Forest Land program. Landowners may also want to confirm that enrolling into 2c will benefit their tax situation. In some instances landowners might currently be taxed at 0.50% rate and enrolling into 2c would raise their tax rate.

Eligible landowners can apply for a change of classification through their county assessor. The assessors have the application form and can provide additional information. (The application form can also be downloaded here.) Landowners who wish to participate for the 2009 tax year need to submit their application by September 1, 2008 through their county assessor.

More detail on eligible acreage (from the application form):

(1) Unplatted real estate that is rural in character, is not used for agricultural purposes, and is not improved with a structure; may qualify for a reduced class rate of 0.65 percent if the property meets all existing requirements. The property must have a qualifying forest management plan (forest stewardship plan) in place, but the property cannot be enrolled in the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act (SFIA) program. A minor ancillary, non-residential structure (see instructions for description) does not disqualify a property from this classification. The commissioner of natural resources must confirm that a property qualifies for the classification.

A property that is improved with a structure that is not a minor ancillary non-residential structure will be split-classified, with 10 acres being assigned to the structure.

[Update: For much more information on eligible acreage, see this post.]

Change in highest and best use rules: According to Kroll, the law also changed the rules on “highest and best use” as regards classification. This means that someone with eligible forest land and a plan is entitled to be in the new 2c class (Even if it has lakeshore or is just down the road from a big development.) In the past such properties would have been classed to seasonal recreational or commercial based on their “highest and best use.”

To be clear, the valuation method of property will not change. Property values will continue to be estimated based on comparable sales of similar properties by willing sellers to willing buyers.

“This new tax class is a good thing for Minnesota woodland owners, and the Minnesota Forestry Association is proud to have helped move it forward” said MFA president John O’Reilly.

How to get a forest stewardship plan: Forest stewardship plans are prepared by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) professionals and their private forest management (PFM) partners. PFM partners include private consulting foresters, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and others. Landowners who do not already have a qualifying plan are unlikely to be able to obtain one in time to enroll in the 2c classification for the 2009 tax year (before September 1, 2008).

The DNR expects a major increase in requests for stewardship plans in the coming months, due largely to the availability of the new 2c classification. As a consequence, landowners may experience delays in processing their plan requests. More information on this process will be available from DNR, and through this site, in coming months.

To sign up for a stewardship plan, contact your local DNR Forestry office. You’ll be added to a list and your plan will be prepared either by a DNR forester or an approved contractor.

For more information: Contact your county tax assessor, DNR Forestry office, or the Department of Revenue. If you’re currently enrolled in the Green Acres program, you may want to read this thread on our discussion board about the relationship between Green Acres and the new 2c Managed Forest Land classification.

Questions: Feel free to add your questions either below or on the discussion board, and we’ll do our best to answer them.

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. shawna  |  November 11, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    I am moving into a new house that is surrounded by managed forest. It is owned by the owner who lives behing us. I was just wondering the rules of a managed forest. Is it ok for the public to walk through there? Please e-mail me back if you can help me out.
    thank you
    shawna

    Reply
  • 2. esagor  |  November 12, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    The parcel behind you is private property, and you’d need permission before entering the property.

    Reply
  • 3. Stacy  |  November 25, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Can you tell me what happens to land that is sold if it is in the 2C classification?

    Reply
    • 4. esagor  |  December 5, 2008 at 6:06 am

      Hi Stacy. Unlike the Sustainable Forestry Incentive Act, there is no binding commitment associated with enrollment in the 2c Managed Forest Lands class. That means that there is no penalty for withdrawal, and as long as the current owner meets the requirements of the classification, the land is eligible.

      You may wonder if the management plan remains valid with a change in ownership. That depends, but in general yes it does. There is an obligation to follow the recommendations of the management plan that is registered with the MN DNR – Division of Forestry (see Who’s eligible for this new classification? above).

      That means two things:
      First, the new owner would need to contact the DNR to update the owner information on the registered plan.

      Second, if the new owner feels that the existing plan (assuming she obtains it from the seller) is a good match for her ownership objectives, there may be no need to replace it. If not, the new owner would need to obtain a new plan that better reflects her objectives and future vision for the land.

      Reply
  • […] Fact Sheet MFA’s SFIA overview page SFIA: A Landowner’s Guide(PDF) and FAQs (18 p. PDF) More on 2c Managed Forest Land on our blog Timbertax.org MDA Conservation Funding […]

    Reply
  • […] Fact Sheet MFA’s SFIA overview page SFIA: A Landowner’s Guide(PDF) and FAQs (18 p. PDF) More on 2c Managed Forest Land on our blog Timbertax.org MDA Conservation Funding […]

    Reply
  • […] Click for more information on the 2c Managed Forest Land classification. […]

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  • […] Click for more information on the 2c Managed Forest Land classification. […]

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  • […] 1.  2c Managed Forest Land Tax Classification: This is a new tax classification for vacant wooded land.  The class rate is 0.65%, 35% lower than the class rate for 2b Timberland.  Enrollment requires a registered Woodland Stewardship Management Plan.  Landowners must complete the application form CR-2c MFL and provide it to the county assessor to verify that the property qualifies for this program.  Learn more about the 2c Managed Forest Lands tax class. […]

    Reply
  • […] 1. 2c Managed Forest Land Tax Classification: This is a new tax classification for vacant wooded land. The class rate is 0.65%, 35% lower than the class rate for 2b Timberland. Enrollment requires a registered Woodland Stewardship Management Plan. Landowners must complete the application form CR-2c MFL and provide it to the county assessor to verify that the property qualifies for this program. Learn more about the 2c Managed Forest Lands tax class. […]

    Reply
  • 11. Lori Dowling, Itasca County Commissioner  |  November 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Does the 2c Law require an update every five years? These can cost as much as $500……
    Seems to be a deterrant.

    If this actually is the law, can it be modified or the state asked to pony up more plan writers? I am currently leading an initiative in Itasca County to have a forester position do plan writing.

    My main purpose in promoting the pilot program in Itasca County was to get this program available to the common person. I have been very suprised at how many do not want that to happen.

    Reply

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News and information of interest to Minnesota woodland owners. Sister site to MyMinnesotaWoods.org.

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