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Woodland Tax Credit Information
David Thomas
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Woodland Tax Credit Information

 

Auditor’s Office Welcome State Forester with Woodland Visit

Learn more: https://auditor.ashtabulacounty.us/dnn/Real-Estate/CAUV-Forestry-and-Ag-District

 

Saybrook Township- The Auditor’s Office took a field trip to the great outdoors to learn about tax credits and woodland management. Auditor David Thomas joined several staff members and Ohio Division of Forestry Coordinator John Kehn for a meeting and inspection of woodlands in Saybrook Township.

The discussions centered around tax credits provided by the State of Ohio or County Auditor’s Office for residents who plan to commercially timber and manage their woodland. The credits could amount to between 50%-75% off property taxes for parcels enrolled in the managed programs.

“Our biggest growth in tax credits have been for woodland CAUV and Ohio Forest Tax Law programs,” said County Auditor David Thomas. “The more we educate on these opportunities, the more people learn and enroll which is great!”

Auditor Thomas and staff visited a more than 60-acre piece of property not currently receiving credits during Forestry Coordinator Kehn’s visit. While there the visitors walked trails and explored several stands of woods to discuss best management practices. The forest had a nice variety of lumber possibilities, however due to the land being prior pasture and not managed, Kehn said it would be quite the project to get into production but doable.  

Those who own more than 10 acres of woodland have several options to receive tax savings through property tax relief. The most common says Auditor Thomas is the CAUV woodland program. Just like traditional CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Valuation) programs for farmland or animal husbandry, the woodland CAUV program decreases the market value of the property for tax purposes and gives the owner a significant reduction.

To qualify, residents would need a forest management plan and would have to follow that plan to commercially harvest the property. Those in the CAUV woodland program could qualify immediately, however should they wish to leave the program and no longer commercially timber, a recoupment of the past three years of tax savings is added to their tax bill as a penalty.

State Forest Tax Law is the other tax savings program which has no penalty if property owners leave the program but it also has a smaller tax savings. Residents would qualify with a similar woodland management plan and active work on the property until a commercial harvest of timber has been completed.

“Many people think woodland management is a huge task and it is beyond what a normal property owner can handle,” shared Auditor Thomas. “But in meeting with the Forestry Coordinator, the state makes it easy to understand the management steps and our office can assist in finding a forester to make your plan and a contractor to work the property.”

Thomas says a majority of the work required in area forests include removing grapevines and invasive species of plants while also selecting which trees should be harvested or which should be trimmed. Those interested in learning more about these programs should contact the Auditor’s Office to begin the process to enroll.

Prior to leaving the woods, Forestry Coordinator Kehn reminded the property owners about a federal USDA program called EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) which is a conservation program that provides financial and technical assistance to property owners looking to manage their woodlands. EQIP can help pay for the cost of foresters and upkeep.

“We appreciate Forestry Coordinator Kehn taking the time to show us how the Ohio Division of Forestry helps our property owners and highly encourage any local folks to reach out and ask for assistance,” said Auditor Thomas.

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auditor@ashtabulacounty.us

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