Updated Position Statement: Tax Treatment of Private Forestland and Products 

November 15, 2021 

SAF’s Board of Directors recently approved an updated position statement, “Federal, State, and Local Tax Treatment of Private Forestland and Products” drafted by the Committee on Forest Policy. 

According to lead author Austin Carroll, some of the key changes to the newly revised statement include updates to reflect current taxation policies and treatments, greater emphasis of how forest tax treatments are less equitable and certain than those of other long-term investments, and discussion on how taxation and risk impacts forest management, retention, markets, and ecosystem services. Excerpt below.


Support the equitable and stable tax treatment of forestland and products.


Current federal, state, and local tax systems and policies impacting the use, management, and retention of forestland and products.


The Society of American Foresters (SAF) believes tax policies based on equity and certainty are required to encourage the nation’s private forest landowners to make sustained, long-term capital investments in forest management. Such investments promote the retention and creation of healthy and sustainably managed forests that contribute significantly to the nation’s economy. Rather than distorting market forces, taxation of private forest landowners should be comparable to tax treatment of other long-term investments. Alleviating any prevailing uncertainty in tax policies relating to forest management is important to forest landowners due to the unique and long-term characteristics associated with timberland investments. Sound tax policy helps ensure sustained environmental and social benefits within a predictable economic framework. Tax incentives, such as use-value property taxation, management cost deductions, capital gains treatment of timber sale revenue, and the amortization of reforestation expenses are tools that should be maintained to reduce the financial burden of forest management. New policies should strengthen deductions for landowners faced with involuntary conversion of timber, especially those considered casualty loss.

SAF encourages members and stakeholders to read, share, and use this and other National Position Statements when developing local unit statements, public comments and letters, talking points, and any other outreach opportunities.

Download and share the full statement.