Bill description: This bill would establish a more transparent process for the valuation of privately-held forest lands for purposes of taxation.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?
When Idaho counties assess privately-held forest land for the purpose of property taxation, they use a formula designated by the Committee of Forestland Taxation Methodology, which consists of members from the state Tax Commission, local counties, timber harvesters, and others interested in timber harvestry. The formula considers multiple factors in determining a property’s total value. One of these factors is the productivity of the land for timber harvestry.
The current process for changing productivity classifications has not been transparent and has led to unexpected sharp increases in property taxes for landowners. HB 462 would take steps toward a more transparent process by re-setting property values back to their 2016 levels until a new process is established for changing productivity classifications. This new process would have to include both a means for notification of the landowner and retention of relevant documents used in the determination.
Upon adoption by the Legislature, the new process would go into effect, ensuring higher levels of transparency for timber-landowners to better understand why their property taxes have changed.
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