What is Michigan’s Qualified Forest Program? The Qualified Forest Program (QFP) provides a tax exemption on privately owned forest property that is considered to be Qualified Forest Property. In exchange for the property tax exemption, landowners must manage their forests in a sustainable fashion for commercial harvest, wildlife habitat enhancement, and improvement of other non-forest resources. Management of the forest resources must be consistent with a professionally developed forest management plan. Allowing public access is NOT a requirement of land enrolled in the Qualified Forest Program.
How Does Land Qualify for the Program?
• Parcels must be 20 acres or larger to qualify
• Parcels from 20-39 acres must be at least 80% stocked with forest capable of producing wood products.
• Parcels from 40-640 acres must be at least 50% stocked with forest capable of producing wood products.
• A forest management plan is required for the parcels being enrolled.
Benefits: The program provides two potential tax benefits for enrolled landowners:
1. Maximum 18 mill reduction of school operating taxes on non-homestead property under a filed Qualified Forest School Tax Affidavit.
2. Prevention of the “uncapping” of a property’s taxable value when a parcel currently enrolled in the Qualified Forest Program changes ownership under a filed Taxable Value Affidavit.
How to Apply: Contact your conservation district forester, or the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for information about the program. Visit www.michigan.gov/qfp to download application instructions and forms.
• Hire a ‘Qualified Forester’ to develop your forest management plan. Your conservation district forester can help you get in touch with an interested Qualified Forester in your area through a referral program. A list of foresters eligible to write plans for the Qualified Forest Program in Kent and Montcalm Counties is available at the bottom of this page. Qualified Foresters are in high demand and forest management plans take time to write. Start the process as soon as possible to ensure that a forester is available to write your plan and that time allows to complete and submit all required forms to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. • Follow the instructions on the website and submit all forms and the $50 application fee. Complete applications must be received by September 1 prior to the tax year the exemption is requested.
Terms and Conditions
• Buildings and structures are allowed but are not eligible for exemption.
• The property will be subject to a recapture tax if the landowner does not follow the management plan or if the land is converted by a change in use.
• Enrolled landowners must pay an annual fee equivalent to two mills multiplied by the taxable value of the property.
• All fees and recapture taxes are deposited in the Private Forestland Enhancement Fund.
Private Forestland Enhancement Fund
The Private Forestland Enhancement Fund is intended to stimulate improved forest management on private lands. The fund supports opportunities for future high-quality timber supplies, increased employment opportunities, a diversified economy, as well as the conservation, maintenance, and enhancement of a stable private forest resource.
THE ENROLLMENT DEADLINE FOR THE 2020 TAX YEAR IS SEPT. 1 2019