Property tax and incentive programs for Minnesota forest landowners

Update–September 25, 2011:
Effective in 2011, payments in the Sustainable Forests Incentive Program will remain fixed at $7 per acre.  The maximum payment is limited to $100,000 to any taxpayer or tax ID number.  

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About woodland property taxes in Minnesota

Property taxes pay for important local government services. They also are a significant annual cost for you, the forest landowner. You may not fully recover costs, such as property taxes, associated with forest management, due to the 30 to 100 year time between harvests.

A recently updated publication by Mike Reichenbach and Mel Baughman includes detailed overviews of the following information about your Minnesota woodland property taxes:

  • property-taxes-and-family-forests-120626-coverTax classifications and class rates
  • How Minnesota’s Green Acres program works, including recent changes
  • Rural Preserve Program: Qualifications, enrollment, and ending enrollment
  • Sustainable Forests Incentive Act (SFIA): Qualifications, enrollment, incentive payment, acquiring enrolled land, and ending enrollment
  • 2c Managed Forest Land Classification: Qualifications and enrollment
  • Comparison between SFIA and Class 2c
  • How to get forest management assistance
  • More information

Mike’s work addresses legal and financial aspects of woodland ownership. He’s based in Cloquet.

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  1. i’m unable to download the “Property Tax Relief for Forest Landowners” (Baughman and Reichenbach)

  2. Dear Minnesota Forest Folks, Just a note to say our tax increase for next year is from $3,000 plus change to $9,354! Thanks for the info. We are exploring the 2c option for at least some of it! We lost ag due to lack of 10 contiguous acres farmed though every open spot is farmed and therefore lost green acres. It is tax help or the bulldozer!!

    1. The bad download link has now been fixed. If problems downloading the PDF continue, please post a comment to let me know. Thanks Marcia and Russ for pointing out the problem!

  3. Hi
    am still unable to download the:
    “Property Tax Relief for Forest Landowners”


  4. Hi Betty. I just tried to download it from my home computer, with semi-slow DSL. Took a long time (3 minutes?) but did eventually appear. Sorry, I can’t think of why the download problem would occur but will email you the doc.

  5. I can download OK but cannot print without scattered misprints. Any other problems like this or is it my printer?

  6. NEW!! FAQ added to help answer your questions. 65 questions to look through and if you still cannot find the answer you are looking for than post here and we will be happy to try to assist you.

  7. Do any of these programs provide some type of protection from Utility commissions or the County, who may be asking to purchase land for easements to be used for utility projects or road projects?

  8. The Sustainable Forest Incentive Act, 2c Managed Forest or the Rural Preserve Program do not place restrictions on the sale of the land or the purchase of the land by county government or utilities. The covenant that is in place on the property as required by the SFIA and the Rural Preserve program does require a waiting period before the land could be used for purposes other than forestry. If a property under SFIA is sold and the new property owner violates the covenant, penalties include the return of incentive payments paid over the past 4 years plus interest. This means the new owner and former owner, if they still own other land under that covenant (a single covenant may now be covering multiple ownerships), may be subject to a penalty or removal from the program. Covenant violations will be investigated on a case by case basis by the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

    1. Hi Leland. My understanding is that the repeal of SFIA is likely, but I don’t think it’s been signed yet by the governor. We’ll post an update as soon as this session shakes out and the future of these important programs becomes clearer. You might also check the Minnesota Forestry Association website, as MFA’s Bruce ZumBahlen has been keeping close track of the status of private forestry programs at the legislature.

  9. Nice job compiling the information. Thank you.
    Could be even better if you added RIM, CRP and CREP information.