Tax Guide for Timber Yield Tax
Helping your business succeed is important to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). The taxes you collect and pay to the state help fund state and local services and programs that are important to you and your community.
Understanding the tax issues specific to the timber industry can be time-consuming and complicated, so it is important that you get the information you need in a timely and understandable way, helping you focus on starting and growing your business.
This guide is provided to help you better understand the tax obligations specific to the timber industry and provides detailed information on property tax implications on harvest trees in California.
How the Revenue is Allocated
Although the tax is administered and collected by the CDTFA, the revenue, after state administrative costs, is allocated back to the county of harvest, whereby the county auditor distributes the funds among the jurisdictions within the county to replace the property taxes that had previously been collected under the ad valorem tax system.
How to Use This Guide
The Getting Started tab provides key resources related to registration, filing returns, account maintenance, and other important information you need.
The Industry Topics tab contains specific topics important to the timber industry.
The Timber Advisory Committee tab contains information related to Timber Advisory Committee, including public notices, meeting minutes & agenda.
The Harvest Value & Statistics tab contains proposed and adopted Harvest Values Schedules, Timber Tax Statistics, and Timber and Production Zone Values.
The Resources tab provides links to useful information, including special notices, other relevant industry guides, publications, statutory and regulatory information.
If You Need Help
See the How to Contact Us page for contact information. If you have suggestions for improving this guide, please contact us via email.
About Timber Yield Tax
The Timber Yield Tax is a property tax paid by timber owners when they harvest trees, or timber. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) administers and collects the Timber Yield Tax, which, after state administrative costs, is allocated to the counties where the timber was harvested. The CDTFA also determines the harvest values of timber and timberland production zone values.
Prior to 1976, timber and timberlands were subject to an annual ad valorem property tax administered by each individual county assessor. The Timber Yield Tax Law, passed in 1976, replaced the ad valorem tax on standing timber with a yield tax on the value of harvested timber. While the timber yield tax is a state tax deferred until the time of harvest, the taxation of timberland is still part of the local annual property tax that is administered by each county assessor.
The CDTFA receives notice of timber harvest permits filed with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the federal government agency timber harvest contracts. If you filed harvest forms with CAL FIRE or purchased a timber contract from federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) or the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the CDTFA will establish a timber yield tax account for you and assign an account number. Your registration will remain in effect until you notify the CDTFA that you will no longer harvest timber. Exception: The CDTFA will not register the owners of timber harvests that appear to have, in total, an immediate harvest value of $3,000 or less within a quarter.
If you own and harvest timber without authorization from CAL FIRE or the federal government, use a timber harvest plan approved for someone else, or sell Christmas trees from a Christmas tree farm, it is your responsibility to register with the CDTFA for the timber yield tax.
Whether you are automatically registered or register yourself with the CDTFA, you will be asked to furnish:
- The name(s) of the legal timber owner(s)
- Your driver license number
- Your Social Security number
- Your phone number
- Your mailing address (and county name)
- The type of ownership (individual, partnership, corporation, husband and wife, domestic partner, other)
- Type of harvest products (logs, fuelwood, Christmas trees, other)
- First date of harvesting (cutting the trees)
The CDTFA may request additional information necessary to fully complete your registration.
To register for your timber yield tax account, a seller's permit, any other permit, license (cigarette, tobacco, or fuel), or account with the CDTFA, visit our online registration system (beginning 8/12/2019). Online registration is the convenient way to register and is available 24 hours a day. If you have questions, please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711), Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00p.m., (Pacific time), except state holidays.
Updating Your Business Information with CDTFA
Go to www.cdtfa.ca.gov, login with your username and password to update your account information including, but not limited to, selling your business, changing your mailing address, email address, or telephone number, or closing your business. If you prefer, you may use form CDTFA-345-SP, Notice of Business Change, Special Taxes and Fees Accounts to notify CDTFA of changes. It is important to notify us so we can update our records to ensure you receive information, email reminders to electronically file, and other updates timely.
You may also contact CDTFA Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS: 711) and select the option for Special Taxes and Fees or send a message through our website at Email Your Tax Questions.
Timber Tax Rates
The CDTFA determines the Timber Yield Tax rate each December to be effective January of the following calendar year. The current and historical yield tax rates are available on our Tax & Fee Rates page.
The amount of tax due is dependent upon the volume of timber harvested, the CDTFA established value for the species harvested (see harvest value schedules above), and the tax rate. To compute your tax liability, simply multiply the net volume, by the species harvest value, and by the yield tax rate.
Filing Timber Tax Harvest Report and Timber Tax Return
File a Return Online – File your return and report through our online services using your username and password. Simply login using your username and password, click on the account for which you want to file a return, then select the File a Return link and follow the prompts.
Visit our Tutorials page for video instructions for filing your Timber Yield Tax Return and Harvest Report through our online services.
Additional Return Filing Options – You may also file your return by mail using the return or report forms listed below:
- CDTFA-401-APT, Timber Tax Harvest Report
- CDTFA-401-1PT, Timber Tax Return
- CDTFA-401-SPT, Timber Tax Return (Supplement)
For most accounts, timber yield tax returns must be filed for each calendar quarter. However, if Christmas trees are the only forest product you harvest and you harvest them in the fourth quarter of each year, you will file a return only for the fourth quarter of each year. The filing date is the last day of the month following the end of the quarter.
You must file your timber yield tax return as long as you remain registered with CDTFA, even if you do not harvest any timber during a reporting period or if all of your harvests for the reporting period qualify for the low-value exemption. Check boxes on the return allow you to indicate that you did not harvest timber during the reporting period, or all your harvests qualify for the low-value exemption.
You may owe the following penalty charges and/or interest if you do not file a timber yield tax return, if you file after the due date, or if you do not pay the tax you owe by the due date. The penalty for filing or paying late is ten percent of any tax amount due that was not paid by the due date.
- Late-file penalty - One hundred dollars ($100) if the tax return is not filed by the due date.
- Late-pay penalty - 10 percent (10%) of the tax amount due if the tax is not paid by the due date.
- Late-file and late-pay penalty - 10 percent (10%) or one hundred dollars ($100), whichever is greater, if the tax return is not filed and paid by the due date.
Interest accrues on a monthly basis. In certain cases, you may be eligible to request relief for interest on electronic payments made one business day late. For more information, see CDTFA-734, Request for Interest Adjustment on Electronic Payments—One Day Late.
Average Volume Per Log Calculator
For harvests of Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir, Redwood, and Port Orford cedar, you may need to determine the size code for the log, which indicate log quality and log value. The size code is determined by the average volume per log segment (AV/L), based on the industry standard of 16-foot short-log segments. For those species requiring a size code, only one size code per species may be reported in a quarter. Do not report multiple size codes for the same species on an operation in a reporting quarter. If you are reporting multiple species from the same harvest plan or contract in the same quarter, you must calculate the AV/L for each species.
If you need additional help with calculating the AV/L, please visit our Average Volume Per Log Calculator webpage.
Current Adopted Harvest Values Schedules
- Harvest Values Schedules
- Modified Harvest Value Schedule
- E-mail us if you would like to request prior records of Adopted Harvest Value Schedules.
When filing online, you are able to file your timber yield tax return and pay the timber tax due in one transaction. You may also visit our website to conveniently make a payment or learn about our various payment options.
Payments must be submitted by the due date to be considered timely. If you use the ACH Debit payment method and initiate your payment on the filing due date, you must complete your transaction by 3:00 p.m. (Pacific time) and select the next banking day as your debit date. Otherwise, your payment will not be initiated until the next banking day and will be late.
You must maintain adequate and complete records that will back up your timber yield tax returns, and make them available to the CDTFA upon request. Your records need to show all of the following:
- The contractual or financial agreements related to the ownership and logging of your trees
- The locations of the trees cut
- Wood product volumes
- The basis for computing harvest values
The timber industry customarily uses a variety of items to record this information. Your records may include the following:
- Financial books (ledgers and journals)
- Income tax returns
- Complete harvest plans
- Timber sale contracts
- Bills, receipts, invoices, statements, worksheets, and summaries
- Check stubs
- Scale tickets
- Appraisal notes
- Property maps
- Any other document used in preparing your timber tax return or that can substantiate your return
You must generally maintain records for a period of four years from the due date of your quarterly tax return, or the date the return was filed, whichever is later.
"Timber" means trees of any species maintained for eventual harvest for forest products purposes, whether planted or of natural growth, standing or down, including Christmas trees, on privately or publicly owned hand, but does not mean nursery stock.
"Timber owner" means any person who owns timber immediately prior to felling or the first person who acquires either the legal title or beneficial title to timber after it has been felled from land owned by a federal agency or any other person or agency or entity exempt from property taxation under the Constitution or laws of the United States or under the Constitution or laws of the State of California.
"Timber owner" includes any person who owns or acquires legal title or beneficial title to downed timber in this state. It also includes the seller of timber located on land owned by that seller if the timber sales agreement, contract, or other document provides for the payment of the purchase price on the basis of actual timber volume scaled and does not contain a passage of title clause.
Simply put, the timber owner is responsible for paying the yield tax. Generally, this is the timberland owner, but it may also be someone else. You are considered a timber owner if you own the trees immediately prior to their being felled or harvested, or you are the first person or entity (not exempt from property tax) to acquire legal title or beneficial rights to the timber after felling when the trees were owned by a state, federal, or other tax-exempt entity. Examples of such agencies are the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). A timber owner can be an individual, government agency, or legal entity such as a partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
Immediate Harvest Value
"Immediate harvest value" means the amount that each species or sub-classification of timber would sell for on the stump at a voluntary sale made in the ordinary course of business for purposes of immediate harvest.
Industry terms and meanings
Timber Harvest Operation or Operation
Both terms are synonymous with one another and they both refer to the harvesting of timber on private land under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal FIRE) or, to a timber harvest on public land with a timber sale contract between a public agency and a purchaser.
The value of the trees standing in the woods with access and all permits in place.
Timber Value Area (TVA)
A Timber Value Area is a geographic area of the state having common timber growing, harvesting, and marketing conditions, as defined by the CDTFA.
Size Quality or Size Code
The quality of the wood in a log affects its value. Generally, trees that are larger, older, and slower growing yield larger diameter logs that have better quality and therefore, have more value than logs from younger, smaller, faster growing trees. This characteristic is referred to as Size Quality. Size Codes are used to report the size quality of the species being reported. There are three size codes, with Size Code 1 being the highest value and Size Code 3 the lowest value.
Not all species have size codes because the value of the wood from every species is not always related to its quality. For example, specialty products which are produced from redwood or pine have value that is directly related to wood quality. Whereas, the value of construction grade lumber produced from fir, hemlock and spruce is not directly related to wood quality. Redwood, Pine, Douglas-fir and Port-Orford Cedar have size codes and Hem/fir and Cedar do not.
Types of Logging Systems Used to Harvest Timber
The logging system is the method used to move the logs from the stump to a truck or storage area. Logging codes and systems are as follows: (T) Tractor – pulling logs behind a tracked, wheeled, or rubber-tired tractor or skidder, or using a winch attached to a tractor. (S) High-lead cable and skyline – dragging logs or lifting logs off the ground with cables attached to poles or trees. (H) Helicopter – lifting and flying logs to a landing for loading on to trucks.
Harvest Values in Tables G and S of the CDTFA Harvest Values Schedule
The harvest values by species in each timber value area in Tables G (Green Timber) and S (Salvage Timber) are determined by analysis of market transactions in your area by CDTFA timber appraisers. The values represent the immediate harvest value of standing timber with all permits and access in place. These values are adjusted to the total volume reported in a quarter being greater than 300 thousand board feet (MBF)/, more than 5 MBF/acre, and an all tractor logging system.
General Tax Application
The timber yield tax applies to the harvest of forest trees, whether standing or down, for wood products. As a timber owner, you generally owe the timber yield tax when your trees are harvested:
- Regardless of the number of trees removed.
- Whether you sell, give away, trade, or use the trees yourself.
- Whether you have received any money for the trees.
- Whether the trees were diseased, dead, dying, or down.
- Whether the trees were harvested on public or private land (except for Indian tribal lands).
- Whether the land is designated as a Timberland Production Zone or zoned for some other use.
Please note: You owe the tax even though you may have filed an exemption form with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Such "exemptions" refer only to state timber harvest regulations and do not affect your tax liability.
The timber yield tax you pay is based on values established by the state for various timber products, as determined by analysis of market transactions in your area. You do not pay tax based on the amount you receive for your trees or wood products.
You do not owe the timber yield tax if:
- The trees are left lying on the ground, unused.
- You transfer ownership of the timber to a logger or to another person before the trees were cut and are, therefore, not the timber owner of the transferred timber. For this to apply, you must have a written contract that specifically transfers ownership of the trees to the other party before they are cut down. Please note: Most harvest contracts for felling and marketing timber do not transfer ownership of the timber before harvest.
- You remove trees from Indian tribal lands.
- You are a tax-exempt organization that does not pay property taxes on the land where the trees are growing.
- Your timber harvest has an immediate harvest value of $3,000 or less within a quarter.
Timber Yield Tax – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
COLLECTING THE TAX
Who must pay the timber yield tax?
The timber owner has the responsibility for filing timber yield tax returns and paying any tax due. This is true even if you made a verbal or written agreement with another person stating that they will pay the tax. If you transfer ownership of the timber to a logger or to another person before the trees were cut, you are no longer the timber owner. However, for this to apply, you must have a written contract that specifically transfers ownership of the trees to the other party before they are cut down.
Why do I have to pay tax on trees that I harvest from land that I already own?
In 1976 when the Timber Yield Tax Law was passed, the value of the timber was removed as a taxable component of the land value. Prior to 1976 both the land and timber were subject to an annual ad valorem property tax. Today, the land value continues to be taxed every year by the county assessor, while timber is taxed only when it is harvested.
I don't understand how to prepare a Timber Tax Return. My county assessor sends me a property tax bill each year that tells me how much my property taxes are. If the yield tax is a property tax, why can't the CDTFA just send me a bill that tells me how much yield tax I owe?
The timber yield tax is a self-monitoring, self-reporting tax, and it is therefore incumbent on each timber owner with an active yield tax account to track the volume harvested from their operation, and to file quarterly CDTFA-401-1PT, Timber Tax Return for as long as they remain registered with the CDTFA. You must file quarterly returns even if you do not harvest any timber during a reporting period.
What does self-reporting tax mean?
The timber yield tax is a self-monitoring, self-reporting tax, much like federal and state income taxes. The different timber harvesting permits obtained from either state or federal regulatory agencies are valid for varying periods of time, depending on the type of permit you obtain. The timber owner is therefore the only one that knows when their harvesting operations will begin and end. Due to the nature of the regulatory process in California, it is incumbent on every timber owner in the state to monitor their own timber harvesting and to obtain bi-monthly log scaling summaries from the processing facilities the logs are delivered to in order to complete the tax return. You will remain registered with the CDTFA and will be required to file timber tax returns until you notify us, in writing that you no longer intend to harvest timber.
How do I obtain the bi-monthly log scaling summaries that I need to prepare my tax return?
Contact the processing facility (sawmill), your Licensed Timber Operator (LTO), or Registered Professional Forester (RPF) for copies of your log scaling summaries or log load delivery receipts. This may also be referred to as an Owner Yield Tax Summary.
Why do I have to use the CDTFA timber harvest values? Why can't I just pay the yield tax based on the amount of money I received from the sawmill, or my logger?
The yield tax law requires that the tax you pay is based on values established by the state for various timber products, as determined by analysis of market transactions in your area. You do not pay the yield tax based on the amount of money you received for your trees or wood products. The CDTFA issues schedules of timber harvest values twice each year.
Am I required to submit my log scaling summaries or any other supporting documentation along with my Harvest Report and Tax Return?
No. However, you must maintain adequate and complete records for four years that will back up your timber yield tax returns, and make them available to the CDTFA upon request.
I have an exemption harvesting permit with CAL FIRE that allows me to harvest my timber. If I am exempt, why do I have to pay yield tax?
You owe the tax even though you may have filed an exemption form with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). Such "exemptions" refer only to state timber harvest regulations and do not affect your tax liability.
Are any small scale, low value harvests exempt from paying tax?
Yes. You do not owe the timber yield tax if your timber harvest has an immediate harvest value, according to CDTFA value schedules, of $3,000 or less within a quarter.
When does the yield tax apply?
The timber yield tax applies when your trees are cut down and/or moved to any storage or wood processing area, such as a sawmill. If you use the logs yourself, the tax applies when the timber is moved to a storage area somewhere else on your property or when they are put into use, whichever occurs first.
When is the timber yield tax due?
The tax is paid on a quarterly basis and is due on or before the last day of the month following the quarter in which the scaling date for the timber harvested occurs. For example, if the timber was scaled between January 1 and March 31 the taxes would be due on or before April 30.
I haven't done any harvesting yet. Do I still need to file my timber tax return?
You must file quarterly timber tax returns as long as you remain registered with the CDTFA, even if you do not harvest any timber during a reporting period. A check box on the bottom of the Timber Tax Return allows you to indicate that you did not harvest timber during the period.
How long should I keep my timber tax account open?
You will remain registered with the CDTFA and will be required to file timber tax returns until you notify us that you no longer intend to harvest timber. A check box on the Timber Tax Return allows you to indicate when you have no further timber harvesting to report and you want to close your account. You can re-register at any time.
WHO IS LIABLE FOR THE TAX
Do I owe any tax if I give the trees away and did not receive any money for them?
Yes. The timber yield tax applies to the harvest of trees, regardless of the number of trees removed, even if you give the trees away.
If I trade my timber for services rendered by my logger, such as for site clearing or construction of a house pad, do I still have to pay the tax?
Yes. Timber yield tax applies to trading timber for services rendered with or without consideration.
Am I responsible for the yield tax if I use the trees I harvest from my property for my own personal use?
Yes. The timber yield tax applies to the harvest of trees even if you use them yourself.
Am I responsible for the yield tax if I cut trees down on my property and they are left lying on the ground, unused?
No. You do not owe the timber yield tax if the trees are left lying on the ground, unused.
Am I responsible for the yield tax if I transfer ownership of my timber to a logger or to another person before the trees were cut?
No. If you transfer ownership of the timber to a logger or to another person before the trees were cut, the timber is no longer your property and therefore, you are no longer the timber owner. For this to apply, you must have a written contract that specifically transfers ownership of the trees to the other party before they are cut down. Please note: Most harvest contracts for felling and marketing timber do not transfer ownership of the timber before harvest.
What if I belong to a tax-exempt organization that does not pay property taxes, do I have to pay the yield tax?
No. You do not owe the timber yield tax if you are a tax-exempt organization that does not pay property taxes on the land where the trees are growing.
Who pays the yield tax if I buy logs or standing timber from an organization that does not pay property taxes, or from a tax exempt state or federal agency, such as the USFS or BLM?
The first person or entity who owns timber immediately prior to felling or, that acquires either the legal title or beneficial title to timber after it has been felled from land owned by a federal agency or, any other person or agency or entity exempt from property taxation is the timber owner and is thereby liable for the yield tax. The yield tax is not applicable to timber owned by Indian tribes, nor to any purchasers of that timber or logs derived therefrom.
Am I responsible for paying income tax or any other taxes on the proceeds from my timber harvest?
The timber yield tax is a property tax based on the value of your standing timber. Other taxes, including sales tax and state and federal income tax, may apply to your operation. Please visit the Sales & Use Tax in California for more information on the application of sales and use tax. You should contact a tax professional for advice on how to comply with other possible tax requirements.
Where can I find more information on the yield tax and how to prepare a Harvest Report and Tax Return?
Detailed information on the timber yield tax and on timber tax reporting is available in CDTFA Publication 87, Guide to the California Timber Yield Tax and in California Timber Yield Tax Law.
HARVEST REPORT AND TAX RETURN
How do I calculate Average Volume per Log on my harvest report?
You will need your log scaling summary or Owner Yield Tax Summary from the processing facility your logs were delivered to in order to make this calculation. The total lineal feet by species harvested in the quarter, is divided by 16. This is the number of 16 foot logs for the species. The total net species volume (in MBF) harvested in the quarter is then divided by the number of 16 foot logs. This result is then multiplied by 1000 to compute the average board foot volume per 16 foot log (AV/L) for the species. (e.g. [net MBF volume ÷ (net lineal feet ÷ 16)] × 1000 = AV/L.
How do I determine the species Size Code?
A: After calculating the average volume per 16 foot log (AV/L) for the species, use the following AV/L categories to determine the Size Code:
|Volume per Log||Size Code|
|Under 150 B.F. /Log||3|
|150 – 300 B.F. /Log||2|
|Over 300 B.F. /Log||1|
How do I know how many acres to report that are harvested during the reporting period on my harvest report?
Enter the actual total acres harvested on your operation during the quarter being reported. This may be all, or only a portion of the total number of acres listed on your harvesting permit. You may need to contact your logger or forester to assist you with determining the actual number of acres that logs were removed from during the quarter. The actual number of acres harvested in the quarter is needed in order to determine if the operation qualifies for the Low Volume per Acre Deduction.
How are adjustments to the values in the schedules applied when preparing a tax return?
If the volume harvested in the quarter is < 25 MBF, deduct $150/MBF from the value in the table.
If the volume harvested in the quarter is between 25 MBF AND 99 MBF, deduct $100/MBF from the value in the table.
If the volume harvested in the quarter is between 100 MBF AND 299 MBF, deduct $50/MBF from the value in the table.
If the volume harvested in the quarter is < 5 MBF acre, deduct $30/MBF from the value in the table.
If the timber harvested in the quarter was logged with a yarder/skyline logging system, deduct $60/MBF from the value in the table. If the timber harvested in the quarter was logged with a helicopter logging method, deduct $200/MBF from the value in the table.
When do I use a Modified Value Schedule instead of the regular Green or Salvage Tables?
Modified Value Schedules should only be used when reporting dead and dying timber that is a direct result of a large scale catastrophic event that has caused a significant material change in marketing conditions and timber values. Examples include large catastrophic wildfires, ice storms, blowdown, flood, disease, drought, and insect epidemics. The CDTFA prepares modified schedules for these specific events.
How do I request a refund?
If you have overpaid the tax directly to the CDTFA, you may file a claim for refund online by logging in to our online service system using your User ID and Password. Go to your timber tax account, under the I Want To section, select More, then select Submit a Claim for Refund, or by filing an amended return(s). Claims for refund should specify the period for which you are making the claim and the amount of the refund. For additional refund details, please visit the Special Taxes and Fees refund page.
You can also file a claim for refund by mailing a completed form CDTFA-101, Claim for Refund or Credit to:
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
Timber Tax Program, MIC:88
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0088
How long do I have to file a refund claim for the yield tax?
Whichever of the following dates occurs last is your filing deadline:
- Three years after the due date of the return on which you overpaid the tax
- Six months after you overpaid the tax
- Six months after the date a determination (billing) became final
Be sure to file your claim for refund by the applicable deadline. If you don't file on time, the CDTFA cannot consider your claim, even if you overpaid the tax. If you have questions about your deadline to file a refund claim, contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711) and select the option for Special Taxes and Fees, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., (Pacific time), except state holidays.
Timber Advisory Committee
The Timber Advisory Committee (TAC) is a standing committee appointed by the CDTFA's Director, composed of:
- One representative of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
- Current representative – James Dahlen; TAC Chair; Term began 2020
- One representative of the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
- Current representative – Dan Stapleton; Term began 2022
- Five assessors from the rate adjustment counties
- Current representative – Cindie Froggatt; Plumas County; Term began 2021
- Current representative – Howard LaHaie, Humboldt County; Term began 2023
- Current representative – Leslie Morgan; TAC Vice-Chair/Secretary; Shasta County; Term began 2008
- Current representative – Craig Kay, Siskiyou County; Term began 2023
- Current representative – Jennifer Perry; Del Norte County; Term began 2019
- One member representing small-scale timber owners
- Current representative – Lennart Lindstrand, Jr.; Term began 2013
- One member representing large-scale timber owners
- Current representative – Marty Olhiser; Term began 2003
The TAC has a vital role in the adoption of the biannual harvest values and schedules. The TAC's duties are to provide consultation to the CDTFA on the timber tax program areas and are advisory in nature.
November 9, 2023
- May 16, 2023 Meeting
- E-mail us if you would like to request prior records of Timber Advisory Committee meetings.
Timber Advisory Committee History
Unless otherwise stated, all statutory references noted in this section are to the California Revenue and Taxation Code. All rule references are to the California Code of Regulations, Title 18, Public Revenues.
The Z'berg-Warren-Keene-Collier Forest Taxation Reform Act, AB 1258, Chapter 176, Statutes 1976, changed the method of taxing timber in California by replacing the ad valorem tax on standing timber with a yield tax on harvested timber. The resulting timber yield tax is imposed on every timber owner who harvests timber or causes it to be harvested on or after April 1, 1977.
The Act also required the Board of Equalization (Board) to appoint a Timber Advisory Committee (TAC) with which to consult prior to adopting administrative regulations governing the assessment of harvested timber and underlying lands.
Section 434.2 of the Revenue and Taxation Code requires the Board to appoint the TAC members. Section 431(c) defines the TAC as "a standing committee appointed by the board composed of one representative of the Board of Equalization, one representative of the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, five assessors from the rate adjustment counties defined in Section 38105, and one member representing small-scale timber owners, and one member representing large-scale timber owners." Section 434.2 directed the Board to appoint the TAC within 30 days of the effective date of the section; thus, the first TAC was appointed in June 1976.
The original legislation provided that rate adjustment counties were those counties where property tax revenues on timber represented two percent or greater of the county's total property tax revenue. Subsequently, those counties were named in section 38105 as the "rate adjustment counties," as follows: Alpine, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity, and Yuba.
On July 1, 2017, the Timber Tax Section was included in the transition to the new California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA, or Department) agency under AB 102, the Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017: California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). Under this legislation, TAC organization, procedures, and appointments were also transferred to CDTFA- Timber Tax Section staff and administration. All reference herein to the Board (BOE) shall be noted as CDTFA, as of July 1, 2017.
DUTIES OF THE TAC
Sections 434, 434.1(a), 38109, 38116(a), and 38204 and Property Tax Rule 1023(c) include reference to the duties of the TAC. The major role of the TAC is to consult with the Board every six months regarding the estimates of "immediate harvest value." In an opinion dated August 29, 1978 (No. 78-52), the state Attorney General stated that the duties of the TAC "… are advisory in nature and encompass no administrative responsibilities." The opinion further stated that "[t]he basic flow of information is from Committee members to the Board, not from the Board to the Committee. The Committee members can adequately perform their consultation function by providing information concerning valuation procedures and by applying their expertise to any questions raised by the Board."
The original language of the Z'Berg-Warren-Keene-Collier Forest Taxation Reform Act required that the Board complete the following after consultation with the TAC:
On or before September 1, 1976, prepare instructions setting forth temporary criteria and procedures for grading timberland on the basis of site quality and operability (section 434).
Prior to December 31, 1976, and periodically thereafter, adopt regulations establishing a standard unit of measure for timber and conversion factors for converting other units of measure to the standard (section 38109).
On or before December 31, 1976, designate areas containing timber having similar growing, harvesting, and marketing conditions to be used as timber value areas for the preparation and application of immediate harvest values (section 38204).
On or before March 1, 1977, estimate the immediate harvest values of each species or sub-classification of timber within the "timber value areas" for timber to be harvested between April 1 and December 31, 1977. On June 30 and December 31 of each year thereafter, estimate the immediate harvest values for timber harvested during the succeeding two calendar quarters (section 38204 and rule 1023).
On or before March 1, 1977, adopt regulations setting forth the final procedures for grading timberland on the basis of its site quality and operability, replacing the instructions adopted on or before September 1, 1976 (section 434.1(a)).
On or before January 1, 1980, and every three years thereafter, adopt schedules re establishing the value of each grade of timberland pursuant to section 434 (section 434.5 (b)). (Section 434.5 was rewritten in 1984, establishing new values for timberland and implementing a formula for adjusting timberland values for subsequent years.)
In addition to the specific statutory duties listed above, the TAC performs other duties in support of the timber tax program, such as reviewing proposed amendments to statutes or administrative rules and generally advising the Board on timber issues. The following significant changes have been made by the Board, through the consultation and advice of the TAC, in the timber tax program since completing the initial statutory requirements:
1997- Harvest values schedules were simplified from 27 pages to 10 pages. This included the allowance of adjustments in the form of deductions to the values in the schedules for logging systems, small total volume, and county locations.
1998 - Rule 1024 was developed, exempting any timber from the timber yield tax if the tax on the timber would amount to less than the cost of administering and collecting the tax. The rule became effective April 8, 1999.
2000- Timber yield tax was converted from a system using old growth and young growth classifications to a system based on average log size, removing much of the subjectivity of the previous system. Some species were consolidated, reducing the number of species' categories. This further simplified the harvest values schedules.
2001- Criterion, based on historical data, was implemented for establishing the value of salvage species in Table S, Salvage Harvest Values, of the Harvest Values Schedules. Specifically, when there are not enough salvage sales in a species category to establish its immediate harvest value, the value is deemed to be 75 percent of the corresponding green values listed in Table G, Timber Harvest Values, of the Harvest Values Schedules.
2010 - Rule 1020 was amended to address the changes in marketing conditions since the rule was last amended in 1977. The timber value areas were realigned to reflect the changes in marketing conditions. The amendment became effective November 17, 2010.
July 1, 2013 - Logging system deductions went from $50/MBF for Skyline Cable to $60/MBF. (Helicopter remained unchanged at $200/MBF.)
July 1, 2014 - LV/A deduction went from $25/MBF to $30/MBF.
November 2016 - TAC approved staff’s recommendation that the percent of green value for salvage in the absence of sales varies by species and TVA, and is subject to annual review.
There is no set schedule governing when or how often the TAC shall meet. When the yield tax system was being implemented, meetings were held on a frequent basis to address important issues and statutory requirements. Currently, the TAC meets twice a year, which enables the Department to consult with the members before meeting in open session to adopt harvest values schedules on or before June 30 and December 31 of each year. For these regularly-scheduled TAC meetings, CDTFA staff provides suggested harvest values schedules that are developed from information collected statewide on the sale of logs and standing timber. Additional TAC meetings are occasionally held if issues arise that require the Department or its staff to consult with the TAC.
TENURE OF TAC MEMBERS
While the law requires the Department to appoint the TAC members, there is no statutory provision for the tenure of the appointments. Over the years, term limits have changed several times. Initially, under the Board of Equalization TAC members served at the pleasure of the Board. On February 9, 1995, the Board approved one-year term limits and this lasted through 2014. Beginning in 2015, in a move to reduce the time involved that is required for the annual appointment process, including the requirements for administering the oath of office and all of the associated paperwork, the Board switched to 4-year terms. The 4-year terms were designed to coincide with the midterm election cycle, in consideration of the county assessors who are elected officials. Currently, under the administration of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the executive director or a member of the CDTFA legal department administers the oaths of office to the members at the first TAC meeting scheduled after their 4-year term appointment by the Director.
At its inaugural meeting, the TAC members elected two officers a Chair and a Vice-Chair/Secretary. The Board's representative was selected to serve as the Chair at that meeting and the agency representative has remained in that role since that time (under both the Board of Equalization and the Department of Tax and Fee Administration). Over the years, several assessors have been selected to serve as Vice-Chair/Secretary. The TAC is free to elect new officers each year if it so desires.
COMPENSATION OF TAC MEMBERS
There are no provisions for compensating the TAC members. However, Government Code section 11009 does provide for the payment of "necessary expenses" for persons serving on boards, commissions, or committees without compensation. This allows for travel and per diem compensation for those members who do not receive reimbursement as part of their full time position(s). In order for members to receive travel expense reimbursement, the oaths of office must be filed with the Secretary of State each time new members are appointed. Department staff files these papers on behalf of the members.
Historic Listing of Timber Advisory Committee Members
|Raymond J. Flynn 1976-94||1976||1994||Humboldt|
|Gerald Cochran 1995-06||1976||2006||Del Norte|
|John Thorne||1990||1992||El Dorado|
|John Winner||1995||2002||El Dorado|
|Marsha Wharff 2007||2001||2007||Mendocino|
|Tim Holcomb||2004||2007||El Dorado|
|Mike Mallory 2010-12, 2015-18||2005||2018||Siskiyou|
|Linda Hill 2008-2009||2008||2010||Humboldt|
|Charles Leonhardt 2019, 2020||2007||2020||Plumas|
|Karl Weiland||2019||2022||El Dorado|
|Jennifer Perry||2019||Present||Del Norte|
|Leslie Morgan 2021||2008||Present||Shasta|
|Mari Wilson 2013-14||2011||2022||Humboldt|
|Large Timber Owners||Start||End|
|Small Timber Owners||Start||End|
|Lennart Lindstrand, Jr.||2013||Present|
|Board of Forestry||Start||End|
|Robert M. Maclean||1976||1983|
|George YG Gentry||2012||2015|
|Board of Equalization / California Department of Tax and Fee Administration||Start||End|
|James Dahlen 2020, 2021||2020||Present|
* TAC Chair
** TAC Vice-Chair/Secretary
Public Notice to Adopt Timber Harvest Schedules
- Meeting Notice — June 27, 2023
- Currently under consideration are the proposed Timber Harvest Values Schedule for the period July 1 – December 31, 2023.
- E-mail us if you would like to request a copy of the recently proposed Timber Harvest Value Schedules.
Adopted Harvest Values Schedules
Historical Harvest Values Schedules
- Year 2022
- Year 2021
- Year 2020
- Year 2019
E-mail us if you would like to request prior Historical Harvest Schedules.
Timber Yield Tax Harvesting Statistics
- California Timber Harvest By County
- E-mail us if you would like to request prior Historical Timber Yield Harvesting Statistics.
Timberland Production Zone (TPZ)
- 2023 Timberland Production Zone Values
- E-mail us if you would like to request prior Historical Timberland Production Zone Values information.
Need to know more? Follow the links below for more information about the topics covered in this guide, as well as other information you might find helpful:Open All Close All
Laws and Regulations
Other Helpful Resources
- Contact Us
If you have questions regarding this program, please contact Timber Tax Program at the following address or telephone number:
Timber Tax Program, MIC: 88
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
450 N Street
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0088
Telephone 800-400-7115 (CRS:711)
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- Get It In Writing! – Tax and Fee Laws can be complex, and you are encouraged to put your tax questions in writing. You may also send your request in a letter to: Program Administration Branch, MIC; 31, California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, P.O. Box 942879, Sacramento, CA 94279-0031.
- Taxpayers' Rights Advocate (TRA) – The TRA Office helps taxpayers when they are unable to resolve a matter through normal channels, when they want information regarding procedures, or when there are apparent rights violations.