Tree Growth Tax Law program
Landowners who wish to keep their woods as part of the working forest may be eligible for a lower property tax rate. The Maine Legislature enacted the Tree Growth Tax Law in 1972 to help Maine landowners maintain their property as productive woodlands, and to broadly support Maine’s wood products industry. You should be sure you understand all of the benefits of Maine’s Tree Growth Tax Law, as well as the penalties for removing your land from the program.
To enroll your property in the Maine Tree Growth Tax Program, you must have at least ten acres of forest land managed primarily for the production of commercial forest products. The first step is working with a consulting forester to complete a Woodland Management Plan. The plan will include an inventory of timber, a description of the property, and management recommendations based on the landowners’ priorities and goals. The decision to enroll land in the Maine Tree Growth Tax Program is a long term one. The penalties for removing land from the program can be high, so consider all the aspects before enrolling.
By completing your Woodland Management Plan and working with your Consulting Forester, you’ll go a long way toward determining whether Maine’s Tree Growth Tax Law is right for you. To be sure you’re up to date with current requirements of the Tree Growth Tax Law, call the Maine Forest Service.
View current Tree Growth Tax Rates
Download the Tree Growth Tax Law Application and Schedule (Adobe version)
If you elect to enroll a parcel of land in the Tree Growth Tax Program, you need not designate all of the acres as productive forest. You may decide to manage some of your land (minimum of ten acres) for timber production, and some of your land for other purposes. Remember, land managed for timber harvesting can often provide many other benefits, including wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, recreation, and clean water, to name a few. Land within the parcel not managed primarily for commercial harvesting will be valued on the basis of just value. Your consulting forester can help you make those choices and document them in your Management Plan. The Maine Forest Service respects your choices and helps you put them into action.
For more information on Maine’s Tree Growth Tax Program and other “current use” property tax programs, please contact the Bureau of Revenue Services or the Maine Forest Service. Tax Bulletin #20 explains the Farmland Program and Tax Bulletin #21 explains the Open Space Program, these two programs are alternatives for those who do not wish to actively manage their land for commercial forest products.