Forest tax – sometimes called timber tax – is an excise tax that began in 1971, when the Legislature excluded timber from property taxation. In place of a property tax on trees, timber owners pay a 5 percent excise tax on the stumpage value of their timber when it is harvested. In 1982, the Forest Tax was extended to timber harvested from state and federal land, in addition to private land.
Timber from private land: The person who owns the timber at the time of harvest is responsible for paying forest tax. Contractors performing labor and services for the timber owner are not responsible for the forest tax. When the owner of the timber cannot be determined, the landowner at the time of harvest will be responsible for the tax.
Timber from public land: The owner is the first person (other than the public entity) to acquire title or possessory interest to the timber.
The revenue is split between the counties and the state general fund. The timber is taxed at 5 percent, with 4 percent going to the county where the harvest occurred and 1 percent going to the state general fund.
Most timber harvests on private land require a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.
A copy of your approved permit will be sent to the Department of Revenue. The Department will then mail tax reporting forms and instructions to you. If you do not receive a return, call the Department of Revenue at 360-534-1324.
If a permit is not required, you must call the Department of Revenue at 360-534-1324 to register and pay your tax.
Forest tax is due at the end of the month following the end of the quarter when the timber was harvested (see chart below).
|For timber harvested during...||Taxes are due...|
|Quarter 1 (January 1-March 31)||April 30|
|Quarter 2 (April 1- June 30)||July 31|
|Quarter 3 (July 1-September 30)||October 31|
|Quarter 4 (October 1-December 31)||January 31|
There are two ways to file: online or by mail.
File online: Now you can file your forest tax return online where you file your business and occupation (B&O) taxes. Revenue’s free e-file system does the calculations for you, remembers your information, and gives you more ways to pay.
To get started, you’ll need your Account ID - formerly, known as your Tax Reporting Account Number (TRN) and Letter ID to access your forest tax account online. Both numbers are located on your forest tax return you received in the mail.
If you aren’t signed up for My DOR, sign up for a free account. You will need a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) username and password to log into My DOR. To access your Forest Tax information in My DOR. Learn how to set up your account.
Once you file your first forest tax return online, you will no longer receive a paper tax return. Instead, you will receive an email notification each quarter when your tax return is ready.
File by mail: Unless you have previously filed a forest tax return online, a return will be mailed to you each quarter. All first-time filers will receive a return in the mail. Send the completed return and your payment to the Department of Revenue at the address listed on the return. Blank forest tax forms are also available online.
If you do not receive a return, call the Department of Revenue at 360-534-1324.
If you have questions or need assistance from a Revenue forester, call 360-534-1324 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or e-mail us.