Raising property taxes on forest & fruit tree reservations

Bill would tax forest reservations

Update: The legislature did not pass this bill. 

A bill - HF2672 - has been introduced that would allow counties to decide if they agree to the property tax exemption on forest reservations or if they want to deny the tax exemption and begin assessing property taxes on the land.  This bill should be opposed by our legislators. 

Currently the Iowa Code gives a property tax exemption for woodlands (called forest reservations in the law) that are at least two acres and have no less than 200 trees per acre.  There is also an exemption for fruit tree reservations.

This bill leaves it up to the counties to decide if the county will give the tax exemption.  Additionally the bill increases the minimum size of a forest reservation from 2 acres to 5 acres.

This bill has already passed the House and is now going to be taken up by the Senate. 

What you can do

  1. Ask the Ways and Means committee to oppose HF2672.  Their email addresses are: dan.dawson@legis.iowa.gov , carrie.koelker@legis.iowa.gov , pam.jochum@legis.iowa.gov , mike.bousselot@legis.iowa.gov , waylon.brown@legis.iowa.gov , chris.cournoyer@legis.iowa.gov , adrian.dickey@legis.iowa.gov , bill.dotzler@legis.iowa.gov , dawn.driscoll@legis.iowa.gov , mike.klimesh@legis.iowa.gov , janet.petersen@legis.iowa.gov , herman.quirmbach@legis.iowa.gov , david.rowley@legis.iowa.gov , jason.schultz@legis.iowa.gov , annette.sweeney@legis.iowa.gov , todd.taylor@legis.iowa.gov , cindy.winckler@legis.iowa.gov , brad.zaun@legis.iowa.gov
  2. Ask your state senator to oppose HF2672.
To look up your senate member, see www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/senate
To find your legislators, see www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find

Forest land should be subjected to property tax exemptions consistently across the state.  It should not be a county by county decision to grant or not grant property tax exemptions on forest and fruit tree reservations. 

A landowner should be rewarded for protecting woodlands.  A way to encourage the on-going protection for forested areas is to grant the landowner a property tax exemption on the forest.

Woodlands and forest reservations are important to Iowa’s environment.

  • Forests protect highly erodible land.  Some land should not be put into row crops.

  • By protecting highly erodible land, soil is kept out of our rivers, streams, and lakes, thus improving water quality.  Soil destroys fish habitat. 

  • Trees help cleanse the air.  Plus trees capture carbon dioxide.

  • Forests provide habitat for both non-game and game animals.

  • Trees provide beauty.  They attract tourists in the fall who enjoy looking at the fall leaves.

  • There is value in the landscape for things other than crops.

  • Property tax exemptions are provided for other purposes, so it is not out of the ordinary to provide a property tax exemption for forests and fruit tree reservations.

  • Fruit and nut trees are part of the economic activity in the state.

  • The derecho damaged large numbers of trees in Iowa. 

  • Iowa is losing a large number of ash trees due to the emerald ash borer.

We should be encouraging landowners to invest in those properties and keep them in forests and fruit tree reservations.

Fall in Iowa