Since Congress overhauled the federal tax code in December 2017, forest landowners and timber business owners have scrambled to figure out how the new changes will affect them in 2018.
Fortunately, USDA Forest Service Forest Taxation and Estate Planning Program is here to help private forest landowners, foresters, loggers, and timber businesses navigate the new rules.
Growing and maintaining timber is a long-term investment. Because trees can take many years to mature, forests are managed over several decades. A landowner who plants seedlings in 2018 may not see a return on that investment until decades later, assuming no trees are lost to forest fire, insect infestation, hurricane, or other natural disaster.
While waiting for the trees to mature, timberland owners take steps to ensure the health of the trees in their care: they manage weeds and invasive insects, thin the forests to grow quality timber, maintain firebreaks to reduce the risk of wildfire, and may maintain roads. This work requires money. Fortunately, federal tax provisions help keep stewardship efforts affordable by allowing the deduction of tree planting and forest management.