West Virginia is 79 percent timberland (12 ½ million acres). The majority of this land is owned by small private landowners. This living and growing renewable resource has a major influence on our environment and supports an industry which is growing in both jobs and economic value.
The State of West Virginia recognizes the value of managing this resource. Through proper management, the potential losses to wildfire, insect, disease and exploitation can be reduced. This tax incentive approach was enacted to encourage landowners to actively manage their forest land thereby increasing the amount and quality of the resource.
Everyone benefits because managed timberland is much more productive than nonmanaged timberland. In addition to increased income, it creates a diverse environment, including wildlife habitat, and overall use and appreciation of the land. Proper management encourages business, which means jobs for many people and income for the landowner and local communities.
The appraised value of Class II, III and/or IV forested property is reduced under Managed Timberland. It is based on the ability of the land to produce future income according to its use and productive potential, market comparables and market analysis.
How to File for Managed Timberland
The initial CONTRACT for Managed Timberland Property Valuation is due before July 1 of any year. This Contract is good until cancelled in writing by the landowner. However, when property is withdrawn from the Managed Timberland Incentive Program, a new Contract must be filed before the property can be reinstated.
A separate Contract must be filed for each ownership in each County. In case of multiple owners, either all owners involved must submit notarized signatures or one may sign for all if provided a Power of Attorney, a copy of which must accompany the Contract. A professional forester may apply on behalf of client(s), but must provide a contract signed by the owners(s).
The annual APPLICATION for Certification as Managed Timberland must be submitted to the Division of Forestry between March 1 and September 1 of each year to remain in the Managed Timberland Tax Incentive Program. A separate Application for Certification must be filed for each ownership in each County. The Application for Certification can be filed by the owner or professional forester managing the land.
I. Ten contiguous wooded acres, minimum.
II. Management plan.
III. No harvesting activities until a management plan is in place.
IV. All owners must be in agreement
The Contract states that the land is being used in a planned timberland management program and is devoted primarily to forest use. In compliance with the Law, the owner may;
(1) File a notarized document that the land is being protected and managed. (Demonstration of the plan must be made available upon request.)
(2) Submit a plan prepared by a professional forester and intention to follow that plan.
Most private timberland owners can receive up to 75 percent cost sharing assistance for plans, and in some cases a free plan. Information on cost sharing and management plans can be obtained from the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
If a plan does not exist when the Contract is filed, it is anticipated that a plan can be developed by the end of the second year after filing the Contract. Until a plan has been prepared, harvesting activities cannot be conducted. This guarantees that regeneration is planned and that the harvest is carried out in a way that will provide regeneration.
Once land is placed under a Managed Timberland Contract, all management activities must be as specified in the plan. This ensures that the land will produce continuous crops of timber on a perpetual basis. Using the forest management plan will maximize the productivity of the forest for the owner.
If the County Assessor or the Tax Commissioner has cause to believe that a plan is not being followed, a request is made to the Division of Forestry for an inspection to determine if the land qualifies for the program and the plan is being followed. “Falsification of certification or failure to follow a professionally prepared plan will result in loss of valuation as managed timberland.
1. You must have a minimum of 10 wooded acres before submitting the completed contract. The land cannot be designated as subdivision. If you are in doubt, please contact your county assessor’s office.
2. Sign and have your signature notarized by a notary public. All owners of the property must sign the document unless a power of attorney is submitted for the one signature. Your signature(s) and that of the notary public must be original signatures. Out of state notarization must comply with that particular state’s requirements for mailing documents out of state (i.e. embossed seal, notary stamp, or no seal).
3. Please provide a mailing address to which we can mail any further correspondence, as well as a day time telephone number.
4. Send the originally signed and notarized contract to the Division of Forestry, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, W.V., 25305-0184. The document must be postmarked with a date on or before July 1 of the upcoming tax year.
1. The application is the second document required for managed timberland consideration. This form identifies the property and is filed on a yearly basis.
2. Sign and have your signature notarized by a notary public. Again, all owners of the property must sign the document unless a power of attorney letter is submitted for the one signature. Your signature(s) and that of the notary public must be original signatures. Out of state notarization must comply with that particular state’s requirements for mailing documents out of state (i.e. embossed seal, notary stamp, or no seal).
3. On the reverse side of the form you will be asked to identify each parcel of land by filling in the district, tax map number, parcel number, and acreage. If you do not know what this information should be, please phone your county assessor’s office for assistance.
4. Send the originally signed and notarized application to the Division of Forestry, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, W.V., 25305-0184. The document must be postmarked with a date on or before September 1 of the upcoming tax year
PLEASE NOTE: YOU MAY MAIL BOTH THE CONTRACT AND THE APPLICATION TOGETHER TO THE DIVISION OF FORESTRY, BUT THE ENVELOPE MUST BE POSTMARKED ON OR BEFORE THE JULY 1 DATE.