Updated Forest Tax Rates

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released the new tax rates for use in 2018 through 2022 for land in the Managed Forest Law (MFL). These new tax rates are effective January 1, 2018.

The updated MFL tax rates saw an all around decrease. Open land entered before 2005 saw a decrease of 5¢ to $0.74 per acre. Closed land entered before 2005 dropped 12¢ to $1.75 per acre. Open land entered after 2004 decreased 10¢ to $2.04 per acre. Lastly, closed land entered after 2004 saw a reduction of 38¢ to $10.68 per acre.

Land in Forest Crop Law (FCL) will have the same tax rates in 2018. The current FCL tax rates were recalculated in 2012 and are effective until 2022. They are scheduled to be recalculated in 2022.

Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2017 Tax Year

As you begin to prepare your taxes for the year, head over to the National Timber Tax Website for some helpful resources. Tax tips for the 2017 tax year are now available.

This publication provides up-to-date federal income tax information affecting timber transactions.  It assists woodland owners, logging professionals, foresters and their tax accountants in filing the 2017 tax returns.

(The information presented here is for educational purpose only and is not intended for legal or accounting advice. It is current as of September 30, 2017.)

Qualified Charitable Distributions from your Individual Retirement Account

If you are over 70 ½ years old you are required to take money out of your individual retirement account (IRA). Normally when you take money out of your IRA this becomes a taxable event and raises your adjusted gross income. If you intend to give this money to charity, your taxable income is reduced by the amount of the gift after the donation. However, your adjusted gross income remains higher.

A way around this is through a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). [Read more…]

Governor announces location of WI DNR State Forestry Headquarters

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources state forestry headquarters will be relocating to the DNR Rhinelander Service Center by the first of next year.

As outlined in the 2017-2019 state budget, signed by the Governor September 21st, the Chief State Forester will move to the DNR-owned facility north of Highway 29 by January 1, 2018.  Over the next year, other forestry positions, currently located in Madison, will move to Rhinelander or locations north of State Highway 29 in phases.

“This move will put the Division of Forestry and its leadership in a better position to work with the primary forest industries in the state,” said Governor Walker in making the announcement today in Rhinelander. “We will also be able to work more closely with our forestry industry partners in growing the state’s $24.7 billion forest industry that already generates nearly 65,000 jobs.”

Following the Chief State Forester’s move, other members of the forestry leadership team will also be in the Rhinelander headquarters by the first of next year.

“The DNR is looking forward to the opportunity of better serving the area where most of the state’s timber industry is located,” said DNR Secretary Dan Meyer. “Together with partners such as the U.S. Forest Service, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association and the Wisconsin County Forest Association, we can better support and serve a thriving industry that is so important to our state’s economy.”

Every million dollars of output in the forestry industry creates $731,000 of output in other sectors. Every job in forestry supports 1.7 additional jobs in the state. Forestry is the number one employer in 10 counties.

Emerald Ash Borer found in Marathon County

MADISON – Emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Marathon County, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will quarantine the county as a result.

[Read more…]

EAB Found in Five New WI. Counties

MADISON – Emerald ash borer has been confirmed in five new Wisconsin counties, including two northern counties. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will quarantine all five.

The new counties are Chippewa, Green Lake, Marinette, Waupaca and Waushara. The Chippewa County infestation was discovered by a homeowner on private property where trees were dying. The other four were finds in monitoring traps set by the USDA-APHIS and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

[Read more…]

Watch for oak wilt signs to help stop the spread of this tree-killing disease

MADISON — Each year, a tree-killing fungal disease strikes and kills thousands of oak trees in Wisconsin’s forests, woodlots and urban areas. Oak wilt is common in southern and central Wisconsin and is becoming increasingly abundant in northern counties. It is difficult to control once the disease takes hold and prevention steps need to be taken to slow the spread.

“We are observing oak wilt in more places this year, probably due to the storms we had in the spring,” said Todd Lanigan, a forest health specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. “The first symptoms of oak wilt are branches with wilted leaves dropping in summer. These are not the brown, dry leaves you see in autumn. These are partially green to bronze-green and are not completely dry.”

Oak wilt is confirmed in all Wisconsin counties except Ashland, Bayfield, Calumet, Door, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Taylor counties.

DNR Invites Public to Participate in Bat Habitat Conservation Efforts

Cave-dwelling bat populations in Wisconsin are rapidly declining due to a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome.  Some species may soon be listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In preparation for this listing, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is teaming up with the Michigan and Minnesota DNRs to develop a large-scale Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The purpose of this HCP is to obtain a federal incidental take permit under ESA section 10 requesting authorization for the incidental take of bats during forest management activities. The goal of this project is the protection of federally endangered bat species and the continuation of forest management activities in the Lake States. [Read more…]

Become a Tree Seed Collector

The WI DNR Reforestation Program continues to purchase seed from private collectors. Over the years, our seedling demands have changed; thus, so does our need for seed.  In 2017, WI DNR will be purchasing seeds for the following species: american hazelnut, american plum, black cherry, bitternut hickory, black walnut, butternut, shagbark hickory, sugar (hard) maple, and the following oaks – bur, red, swamp white, white.

Please read the following information carefully to understand changes in 2017.  Before collecting any seed, please contact the nursery first to ensure purchasing is still open for species you intend to collect. Nursery staff can assist with species identification.  If you have any questions, call the nursery before you begin to collect seed!

[Read more…]

New DNR Tax Law Section for MFL and FCL

From: WI DNR Forestry News

As part of the DNR Strategic Alignment, the Division of Forestry has consolidated the tax law programs (Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law) and associated work into fewer positions under a new Tax Law section.  This section will focus on the tax law programs, allowing us to better meet our customers’ needs. 

Within the new section, six staff are located in Madison:  Tax Law Section Chief, Tax Law Administration Specialist, Tax Law Enforcement Specialist (vacant), Tax Law Operations Specialist, Tax Law Policy Specialist, and Tax Law WisFIRS Data Specialist (vacant).  There are also four teams of tax law specialists located throughout the state.  Each team consists of a team leader, 8 or 9 forestry specialists (field foresters working on tax law) and 1 or 2 administration specialists  (similar to administrative positions previously located in Madison) assigned to cover specific counties.

To find contact information for the tax law specialists that serve your area, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword “Forester” and select “DNR tax law specialists.”  There you’ll also find a description of the specialist’s roles and services offered.

You can find the new staff assigned to your area and their contact information directly in the Tax Law Directory.

Thanks for your patience through this transition and into the future as we continue our commitment to work together to sustainably manage and protect Wisconsin’s forest resources.

Contact:  R.J. Wickham, Forest Tax Section Chief, 920-369-6248 (mobile phone), Richard.Wickham@Wisconsin.gov