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Land owners who wish current use assessment for property tax purposes on lands eligible for classification under the Designated Forest Land program must submit an application to the Lewis County Assessor's Office by December 31st. Applications taken in the calendar year prior to December 31st are inspected in the next year and either approved or denied. If the application is approved, it is taxed in the subsequent year. It takes two years after application for it to affect your taxes.
Provided that acreage is being used as originally intended, valuation of land for tax purposes under the Designated Forest Land classification is determined on the basis of "current use” rather than "highest and best use.” Under circumstances where land use is changed or withdrawn, the land becomes liable to pay compensating tax. The compensating tax calculation for removal is in RCW 84.33.140 and is the difference in value between what you actually paid and the current market value of land not in the program. The removal is for the last ten years the property was in classification. Accordingly, some of the classified land area may be withdrawn as long as remaining acreage meets the original requirements. Forest land owners with parcels of five or more acres dedicated to growing commercial timber may be designated as forestland and receive tax preferential treatment. To be eligible for the program your land must grow commercial timber, be harvested, and replanted.
Lewis County collapsed the Open Space Timber Program into the Designated Forest Land Program in 2014 per the change in the law by the Legislature and the adoption of the Ordinance by the Board of County Commissioners. We no longer accept applictions for Current Use Timber since that date. All forest lands must qualify under RCW 84.33 for Designated Forest Land to get tax preferential treatment.
Property owners may direct inquiries concerning Designated Forest Land classification to 360-740-1392. Application processing fees for the program must be submitted with the application and are not refundable should classification be denied.