Severance and property taxes

Robert Plamondon robert at plamondon.COM
Fri Aug 1 09:43:37 EST 1997

In article <01bc9e17$3a4a1020$ad0320ce at mckenney> "McKenney" <d_mckenney at> writes:

>In many states timber is considered real estate and real estate is taxed.
>Remember unlike most crops which require cultivation to reach maturity and
>marketability,  timber does not. Clearly, managed timber grows faster and
>may be worth more than unmanaged timber but left to itself timber grows
>quite well without the help of man. I think that might be part of the logic
>in taxing timber differently than other 'cash' crops.

I think that you'll find that timber taxes predate any widespread belief
in systematic timber management.  The purpose of taxes on standing timber
is to force owners to cut, thus creating jobs and bringing in tax
revenue.  The logic behind this is at odds with scientific timber
managment, since taxing standing trees every year pretty much forces
you to cut too much, too soon.

It also violates what I consider to be the first law of humane
taxation, which is to arrange taxes to fall when people have money in
their pockets, not when they're broke.  A severence tax does this:
selling the trees and paying the taxes happen in the same year.
Income tax works the same way.  Sales tax is even better, since the
taxes are determined on a day-to-day basis by your own spending.
Property tax, on the other hand, has no relationship to your ability
to pay your taxes.  The only good thing about it is that it funds
local programs controlled by local voters, which is such a huge
advantage that it's worth a certain amount of excess pain.

	-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc. 
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert at * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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