In the State of New Hampshire, timber is considered real estate and, as such, is subject to taxation. However, the method of taxation for timber differs from other forms of real estate and is outlined in the State Constitution. Timber is only taxed at the time of cutting, and the rate of taxation is designed to promote sustainable timber growth.
To ensure that municipal assessing officials are aware of timber cutting operations, property owners are required by law to submit a Notice of Intent to Cut Timber, using Form PA-7. This notification is essential as it informs assessing officials, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration (DRA), and the New Hampshire Division of Forest & Lands about the impending timber cutting activity. Timber on all land holdings is taxable at 10% of the stumpage value at the time of cutting, except for specific exemptions, which include:
1. 10 MBF (thousand board feet) of saw logs and 20 cords of fuel wood for personal use by the owner.
2. 10 MBF of saw logs and 20 cords of wood for land conversion purposes (with all required permits).
3. Shade and ornamental trees near buildings.
4. Christmas trees, fruit trees, nursery stock, and short rotation tree fiber.
5. Firewood for maple syrup production.
6. Government and utility entities not selling the wood.
The Notice of Intent to Cut (PA-7) form must be accurately completed, including a volume estimate, and must be signed by the assessing officials before any cutting operations can commence. A supplemental PA-7 is necessary only if the total cut volume exceeds the initial estimate by 25% or if a timber tax bond was initially required. The supplemental Intent to Cut form should be signed before exceeding the original volumes.
You can obtain Notice of Intent to Cut (PA-7) forms from your local town office, by calling the DRA at (603) 230-5950, or by visiting the DRA website.
Municipal officials have up to 15 days to sign the Notice of Intent to Cut. They may withhold their signature for specific reasons, including improper form completion, land enrolled in unproductive current use, the requirement for a timber tax bond, or missing signatures from all property owners.
The responsibility for paying the timber tax depends on the type of ownership and may fall on the owner with timber rights, including joint tenants, tenants in common, persons with deeded timber rights on previously owned land, or persons purchasing timber on public lands.
Extensions for timber cutting are permitted upon a written request by the owner to assessing officials before April 1. These extensions allow cutting to continue through June 30, with reports due by August 15.
Upon completion of timber cutting, owners must file a Report of Wood Cut (PA-8) with the town and the DRA within 60 days or by May 15, whichever comes first. This report serves as the basis for determining the timber yield tax. (This report is generated by NH DRA and is not available online.)
If you believe you have been overtaxed, you have the right to appeal in writing to the Town within 90 days of receiving the tax bill. If the Town denies your appeal, you may then appeal to the Board of Tax and Land Appeals (BTLA) within 6 months of the tax bill for a hearing.
Non-compliance with timber tax regulations can result in fines of up to $2,000. Additionally, a Doomage penalty may be imposed for improper reporting, which is twice the amount of the tax that would have been due with timely and accurate reporting. The DRA and NH Division of Forest & Lands have the authority to issue cease and desist orders for cutting operations not in compliance with RSA 79.
This document provides a summary of the relevant laws, and for further information and detailed references, please visit the DRA website.
Should you have any inquiries or require clarification on these regulations, please do not hesitate to contact the NH Department of Revenue Administration at (603) 230-5950 or visit www.revenue.nh.gov.