Taxing family forest owners: Implications of federal and state policies in the United States

Brett J. Butler, Paul F. Catanzaro, John L. Greene, Jaketon H. Hewes, Michael A. Kilgore, David B. Kittredge, Zhao Ma, Mary L. Tyrrell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Taxes are a prominent policy tool and one of a number of factors that have the potential to influence the decisions of the millions of family forest owners across the United States. After a literature review, tax policies most relevant to family forest owners were catalogued, preferential property tax program administrators were surveyed, focus groups with family forest owners and forestry/conservation professionals were held, and results were synthesized with the aid of experts. The results suggest that tax policies, in and of themselves, are not causing forest owners to take unplanned actions such as prematurely selling their land or harvesting trees. However, in combination with other factors, tax policies, especially property tax policies, can influence ownership and forest management decisions. Preferential forest property tax policies exist across the United States, but a general lack of awareness, confusion, and misinformation about these programs and their often complicated and/or restrictive requirements are preventing them from reaching their full potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-380
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Forestry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Estate tax
  • Family forest owners
  • Forest policy
  • Forest taxation
  • Income tax
  • Inheritance tax
  • Nonindustrial private forest owners
  • Property tax
  • United States


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