REVENUE AND TAXATION
TAXATION OF FOREST LANDS AND FOREST PRODUCTS
63-1705A. CLASSIFICATION OF FOREST LANDS. (1) The state shall be divided into four (4) forest valuation zones:
(a) Zone 1 shall consist of Boundary, Bonner, and Kootenai counties;
(b) Zone 2 shall consist of Benewah, Shoshone, Latah, Clearwater, Nez Perce, Lewis, and Idaho counties;
(c) Zone 3 shall consist of Adams, Valley, Washington, Payette, Gem, Boise, Canyon, Ada, Elmore, Camas, Blaine, Gooding, Lincoln, Jerome, and Minidoka counties; and
(d) Zone 4 shall consist of the remaining nineteen (19) counties.
(2) In all forest valuation zones, there shall be three (3) separate productivity classes of forest land: poor, medium, and good. These classes apply to forest land that may or may not be stocked with commercial or young growth timber.
(a) Poor productivity class is defined as forest land having a mean annual increment (MAI) of one hundred twenty-five (125) board feet per acre per year, based on a seventy-three (73) year rotation. This productivity class includes western white pine site index 35-45 and ponderosa pine site index 45-80. One hundred twenty-five (125) board feet per acre MAI shall be used in the valuation process.
(b) Medium productivity class is defined as forest land having an MAI of two hundred twenty-five (225) board feet per acre per year, based on a sixty-eight (68) year rotation. This productivity class includes western white pine site index 46-60 and ponderosa pine site index 81-110. Two hundred twenty-five (225) board feet per acre MAI shall be used in the valuation process.
(c) Good productivity class is defined as forest land having an MAI of three hundred fifty (350) board feet per acre per year, based on a sixty-three (63) year rotation. This productivity class includes western white pine site index 61 and above and ponderosa pine site index 111 and above. Three hundred fifty (350) board feet per acre MAI shall be used in the valuation process.
(d) For forest valuation zones 1 and 2, forest land shall be stratified into areas of similar productive potential using the habitat typing methodology described in "forest habitat types of northern Idaho: a second approximation," published by the United States government printing office for the United States forest service in 1991. Within these stratified areas, site index trees shall be selected and measured that will identify the site index to be used to place the land in one (1) of the three (3) productivity classes set forth in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this subsection.
(e) For forest valuation zones 3 and 4, the criteria for stratification shall be generally the same as that used in zones 1 and 2 based on the habitat typing methodology described in "forest habitat types of central Idaho," published by the United States government printing office for the United States forest service in 1981, with the following adjustments made in growth rates for lower moisture levels:
(i) For poor productivity class, one hundred twenty-five (125) board feet per acre MAI shall be used in the valuation process;
(ii) For medium productivity class, two hundred thirteen (213) board feet per acre MAI shall be used in the valuation process; and
(iii) For good productivity class, three hundred twenty (320) board feet per acre MAI shall be used in the valuation process.
(3) Lakes, solid rock bluffs, talus slopes, and continuously flooded swampy areas that are larger than five (5) contiguous acres in size and that can be identified through remote sensing shall be valued at forty percent (40%) of the poor bare land value as described in section 63-1706, Idaho Code. These areas are defined as being incapable of growing trees.
(4) Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, no parcel’s productivity classification can be changed from the classification existing on January 1, 2016, until requirements for landowner notification, inspector qualifications, and document retention have been met.
(a) Notice of intent to change classification must be provided in writing to the landowner of record or the landowner’s designee within two (2) weeks of any determination by the county assessor of intent to change classification. Such notice must be provided no later than the first Monday in November for the change to be in effect during the following year. Notice may be delivered in person or by United States mail, or, if agreed to by the assessor and the landowner, by electronic mail. Notice of intent to change classification shall include:
(i) A statement of intent to change the classification;
(ii) A statement of the present classification and the intended new classification;
(iii) A statement that the intent notice is not an assessment notice and that the assessment notice will be sent by the first Monday in June in the following year;
(iv) A statement that both the taxable value stated on the assessment notice and the classification may be appealed to the county board of equalization as provided in section 63-501A, Idaho Code; and
(v) Contact information identifying assessor’s office staff who may be contacted and how to do so.
(b) The inspector is the person assigned by the county assessor to review property characteristics and complete a timberland classification form provided by the state tax commission. The inspector must be proficient in each of the following:
(i) Navigating forest locations;
(ii) Skilled mapping techniques;
(iii) Establishment of plot locations;
(iv) Plant and tree identification; and
(v) Site tree identification and measurements.
(c) Inspector proficiency must be established by a minimum of twelve (12) months of experience doing fieldwork, including reviewing the characteristics of timberland, and:
(i) Passing a state tax commission-sponsored class on timberland appraisal and inspection;
(ii) Passing equivalent courses from an accredited college or university; or
(iii) Obtaining a degree in forestry or a related field from an accredited institution.
(d) Documentation related to timberland productivity classification shall be retained for no less than ten (10) years following classification determination. Documentation shall include but is not limited to:
(i) Timberland characteristics, on a form provided by the state tax commission, with sufficient detail to verify the classification, including the calculation of productivity class as set forth in subsection (2) of this section;
(ii) The location of any field plots and any site trees using map or global positioning system (GPS) coordinates;
(iii) A map illustrating property boundaries, habitat type-based stratifications as provided in subsection (2) of this section, and plot locations used in the determination of productivity class; and
(iv) Any imagery used to assess the parcel prior to field review.
(5) Provided the county assessor and forest land owner agree and the data is deemed by the county assessor to be acceptable and accurate, the data used to establish any parcel’s productivity classification may be provided by the forest land owner. In this case, inspector qualifications and proficiency provisions of this section shall not apply.
(a) When productivity data is provided to the county assessor by the forest land owner, it shall be deemed confidential production record information and not subject to public disclosure, pursuant to section 74-107(2), Idaho Code.
(b) When the alternate method described in this section is to be used, the county shall not be required to have a certified inspector to review property characteristics.
(c) To be considered acceptable, the classification of the timberland so established must result in market value for assessment purposes as defined in section 63-1705(3), Idaho Code.
[63-1705A, added 2020, ch. 247, sec. 2, p. 724.]