MFS reports to Legislature on Tree Growth Tax

Tree Growth tax reportMaine’s Tree Growth Tax Program, which provides for current use taxation of land used for commercial forestry, came under much scrutiny in 2012 and the 125th Legislature passed a law authorizing the Maine Forest Service to audit properties enrolled in the program. The MFS report went to the Taxation Committee March 3.
The Legislature charged MFS to make findings from the audit, including:

  1. Any findings related to any differences in compliance issues based on the location of parcels, such as coastal and waterfront properties as compared to other parcels;
  2. A summary of data concerning violations and enforcement activities;
  3. An assessment of the effectiveness of the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law in promoting the harvesting of fiber for commercial purposes and its impact on the fiber industry and,
  4. Recommendations to address any problems identified and to ensure that parcels enrolled under the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law meet the requirements of the law.

In addition to responding to legislative direction, MFS addressed three key questions of its own:

  1. Does the landowner’s management plan meet the requirements of the TGTL?
  2. Is the landowner following their management plan?
  3. Has the landowner harvested wood from their enrolled land?
MFS reported it has gathered enough information to answer the Legislature’s questions and its own, “with the exception of coastal and island parcels.”