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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 1410

1st Engrossment - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/26/2015 03:55pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 03/04/2015
1st Engrossment Posted on 03/26/2015

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to taxation; Sustainable Forest Incentive Act; transferring powers from
the commissioner of revenue to the commissioner of natural resources; providing
rules for transfer of ownership; providing additional eligibility, certification,
and notification requirements; making clarifying changes; repealing obsolete
provisions; amending Minnesota Statutes 2014, sections 290C.01; 290C.02,
subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 4, 7; 290C.03; 290C.05; 290C.08; 290C.09; 290C.10;
290C.11; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 290C;
repealing Minnesota Statutes 2014, sections 290C.02, subdivisions 5, 9; 290C.06.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.01, is amended to read:


290C.01 PURPOSE.

It is the policy of this state to promote sustainable forest resource management on
the state's public and private lands. deleted text beginRecognizing thatdeleted text endnew text begin The state'snew text end private forests comprise
approximately one-half of the state forest land resourcesdeleted text begin, that healthy and robust forest
land provides significant benefits to the state of Minnesota, and that ad
deleted text endnew text begin. These forests
play a critical role in protecting water quality and soil resources, and provide extensive
wildlife habitat, diverse recreational experiences, and significant forest products that
support the state's economy. Ad
new text end valorem property taxes represent a significant annual
cost that can discourage long-term forest management investmentsnew text begin. In order to foster
silviculture investments and retain these forests for their economic, ecological, and
recreational benefits
new text end, this chapter, hereafter referred to as the "Sustainable Forest Incentive
Act," is enacted to encourage the state's private forest landowners to make a long-term
commitment to sustainable forest management.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.02, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Application.

When used in sections 290C.01 to deleted text begin290C.11deleted text endnew text begin 290C.13new text end,
the terms in this section have the meanings given them.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.02, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Approved plan writers.

"Approved plan writers" are natural resource
professionals who are self-employed, employed by private companies or individuals,
nonprofit organizations, local units of government, or public agencies, and who are
approved by the commissioner deleted text beginof natural resourcesdeleted text end. Persons determined to be certified
foresters by the Society of American Foresters shall be deemed to meet the standards
required under this subdivision. The commissioner deleted text beginof natural resourcesdeleted text end shall issue a
unique identification number to each approved planner.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.02, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Claimant.

(a) "Claimant" means:

(1) a person, as that term is defined in section 290.01, subdivision 2, who owns
forest land in Minnesota and files an application authorized by the Sustainable Forest
Incentive Act;

(2) a purchaser or grantee if property enrolled in the program was sold or transferred
after the original application was filed and prior to the annual incentive payment being
made; or

(3) an owner of land previously covered by an auxiliary forest contract that
automatically qualifies for inclusion in the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act program
pursuant to section 88.49, subdivision 9a, or 88.491, subdivision 2.

new text begin(b) new text enddeleted text beginThe purchaser or grantee must notify the commissioner in writing of the sale or
transfer of the property.
deleted text end Owners of land that qualifies for inclusion pursuant to section
88.49, subdivision 9a, or 88.491, subdivision 2, must notify the commissioner in writing
of the expiration of the auxiliary forest contract or land trade with a governmental unit and
submit an application to the commissioner by August 15 in order to be eligible to receive a
payment by October 1 of that same year. For purposes of section 290C.11, claimant also
includes any person bound by the covenant required in section 290C.04.

deleted text begin (b)deleted text endnew text begin (c)new text end No more than one claimant is entitled to a payment under this chapter with
respect to any tract, parcel, or piece of land enrolled under this chapter that has been
assigned the same parcel identification number. When enrolled forest land is owned by
two or more persons, the owners must determine between them which person is eligible to
claim the payments provided under sections 290C.01 to 290C.11. In the case of property
sold or transferred, deleted text beginthe former owner anddeleted text end the purchaser or grantee deleted text beginmust determine between
them which person
deleted text end is eligible to claim the payments provided under sections 290C.01 to
290C.11. The new text beginnew new text endowners, transferees, or grantees must notify the commissioner in
writing deleted text beginwhich person is eligibledeleted text end to claim the payments.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for certifications and applications
due in 2015 and thereafter.
new text end

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.02, subdivision 4, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Commissioner.

"Commissioner" means the commissioner of deleted text beginrevenue
deleted text endnew text beginnatural resourcesnew text end.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.02, subdivision 7, is amended to read:


Subd. 7.

Forest management plan.

"Forest management plan" means a written
document providing a framework for site-specific healthy, productive, and sustainable
forest resources. A forest management plan must include at least the following: (i) forest
management goals for the land; (ii) a reliable field inventory of the individual forest cover
types, their age, and density; (iii) a description of the soil type and quality; (iv) an aerial
photo and/or map of the vegetation and other natural features of the land clearly indicating
the boundaries of the land and of the forest land; (v) the proposed future conditions
of the land; (vi) prescriptions to meet proposed future conditions of the land; (vii) a
recommended timetable for implementing the prescribed activities; and (viii) a legal
description of the land encompassing the parcels included in the plan. All management
activities prescribed in a plan must be in accordance with the recommended timber
harvesting and forest management guidelines. The commissioner deleted text beginof natural resources
deleted text end shall provide a framework for plan content and updating and revising plans.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.03, is amended to read:


290C.03 ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.

(a) Land may be enrolled in the sustainable forest incentive program under this
chapter if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) the land consists of at least 20 contiguous acres and at least 50 percent of the
land must meet the definition of forest land in section 88.01, subdivision 7, during the
enrollment;

(2) a forest management plan for the land must be prepared by an approved plan
writer and implemented during the period in which the land is enrolled;

(3) timber harvesting and forest management guidelines must be used in conjunction
with any timber harvesting or forest management activities conducted on the land during
the period in which the land is enrolled;

(4) the land must be enrolled for a minimum of eight years;

(5) there are no delinquent property taxes on the land; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

(6) claimants enrolling more than 1,920 acres in the sustainable forest incentive
program must allow year-round, nonmotorized access to fish and wildlife resources and
motorized access on established and maintained roads and trails, unless the road or trail is
temporarily closed for safety, natural resource, or road damage reasons on enrolled land
except within one-fourth mile of a permanent dwelling or during periods of high fire
hazard as determined by the commissioner deleted text beginof natural resources.deleted text endnew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (7) the claimant has registered the forest management plan under clause (2) with the
commissioner who has concurred that the land is qualified.
new text end

(b) Claimants required to allow access under paragraph (a), clause (6), do not by
that action:

(1) extend any assurance that the land is safe for any purpose;

(2) confer upon the person the legal status of an invitee or licensee to whom a duty
of care is owed; or

(3) assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to the person or property
caused by an act or omission of the person.

new text begin (c) The commissioner shall annually provide county assessors verification
information regarding plan registration under paragraph (a), clause (7), on a timely basis.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for calculations made in 2015 and
thereafter.
new text end

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.05, is amended to read:


290C.05 ANNUAL CERTIFICATION.

On or before July 1 of each year, beginning with the year after the deleted text beginoriginal
claimant has received an approved application
deleted text endnew text begin property tax parcel was enrolled under the
sustainable forest incentive program
new text end, the commissioner shall send each claimant deleted text beginenrolled
under the sustainable forest incentive program
deleted text end a certification form. For purposes of this
section, the deleted text beginoriginaldeleted text end claimant is the person that deleted text beginfiled the first application under section
290C.04 to enroll the land in the program
deleted text endnew text begin is the current property owner on recordnew text end. The
claimant must sign new text beginand return new text endthe certificationnew text begin by August 15 of that same yearnew text end, deleted text beginattesting
deleted text endnew text beginand (1) attestnew text end that the requirements and conditions for continued enrollment in the program
are currently being met, and deleted text beginmust return the signed certification form to the commissioner
by August 15 of that same year
deleted text endnew text begin (2) provide a report in the format and manner determined
by the commissioner on what management practices have been carried out on the enrolled
property in the past year
new text end. If the claimant does not return an annual certification form by
the due date, the provisions in section 290C.11 apply.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for certifications and applications in
2015 and thereafter.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.08, is amended to read:


290C.08 ANNUAL INCENTIVE PAYMENT; APPROPRIATION.

Subdivision 1.

Annual payment.

An incentive payment for each acre of enrolled
land will be made annually to each claimant in the amount determined under section
290C.07.new text begin By September 1 of each year, the commissioner will certify to the commissioner
of revenue the annual incentive payment that each claimant is entitled to receive.
new text end The
incentive payment shall be paid new text beginby the commissioner of revenue new text endon or before October 1
each year based on the certifications due August 15 of that year. Interest at the annual
rate determined under section 270C.40 shall be included with any incentive payment not
paid by the later of October 1 of the year the certification was due, or 45 days after the
completed certification was returned or filed if the commissioner accepts a certification
filed after August 15 of the taxes payable year as the resolution of an appeal.

Subd. 2.

Appropriation.

The amount necessary to make the payments under this
section is annually appropriated to the commissioner new text beginof revenue new text endfrom the general fund.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for certifications and applications in
2015 and thereafter.
new text end

Sec. 10.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.09, is amended to read:


290C.09 REMOVAL FOR PROPERTY TAX DELINQUENCY.

The commissioner new text beginof revenue new text endshall immediately remove any land enrolled in the
sustainable forest incentive program for which taxes are determined to be delinquent as
provided in chapter 279 and shall notify the claimant new text beginand the commissioner new text endof such action.
Lands terminated from the sustainable forest incentive program under this section are not
entitled to any payments provided in this chapter and are subject to removal penalties
prescribed in section 290C.11. The claimant has 60 days from the receipt of notice
from the commissioner new text beginof revenue new text endunder this section to pay the delinquent taxes. If the
delinquent taxes are paid within this 60-day period, the lands shall be reinstated in the
program as if they had not been withdrawn and without the payment of a penaltynew text begin and the
commissioner of revenue shall notify the commissioner of reinstatement
new text end.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 11.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.10, is amended to read:


290C.10 WITHDRAWAL PROCEDURES.

new text begin (a)new text end An approved claimant new text beginor current owner of lands enrolled new text endunder the sustainable
forest incentive program for a minimum of four years may notify the commissioner of the
intent to terminate enrollment. Within 90 days of receipt of notice to terminate enrollment,
the commissioner shall inform the claimant in writing, acknowledging receipt of this
notice and indicating the effective date of termination from the sustainable forest incentive
program. Termination of enrollment in the sustainable forest incentive program occurs
on January 1 of the fifth calendar year that begins after receipt by the commissioner of
the termination notice. After the commissioner issues an effective date of termination,
a claimant wishing to continue the land's enrollment in the sustainable forest incentive
program beyond the termination date must apply for enrollment as prescribed in section
290C.04. A claimant who withdraws a parcel of land from this program may not reenroll
the parcel for a period of three years. Within 90 days after the termination date, the
commissioner shall execute and acknowledge a document releasing the land from the
covenant required under this chapter. The document must be mailed to the claimant and is
entitled to be recorded.

new text begin (b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), new text endthe commissioner may allow early withdrawal
from the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act without penalty when the state of Minnesota,
any local government unit, or any other entity which has the power of eminent domain
acquires title or possession to the land for a public purpose deleted text beginnotwithstanding the provisions
of this section
deleted text end. In the case of deleted text beginsuchdeleted text endnew text begin an eligiblenew text end acquisition new text beginunder this paragraphnew text end, the
commissioner shall execute and acknowledge a document releasing the land acquired by
the state, local government unit, or other entity from the covenant.

new text begin (c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the commissioner shall allow early withdrawal
from the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act without penalty when the state acquires a
permanent conservation easement on the enrolled property and the conservation easement
is at least as restrictive as the covenant required under section 290C.04. In the case of an
eligible easement acquisition under this paragraph, the commissioner shall execute and
acknowledge a document releasing the land subject to the easement from the covenant.
new text end

new text begin (d) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), the commissioner shall allow early withdrawal
from the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act without penalty for land that is subject to fee
or easement acquisition or lease to the state of Minnesota or a political subdivision
of the state for the public purpose of a paved trail. In the case of an eligible fee or
easement acquisition or lease under this paragraph, the commissioner shall execute and
acknowledge a document releasing the land subject to fee or easement acquisition or lease
by the state or political subdivision of the state.
new text end

new text begin (e) new text endAll other enrolled land must remain in the program.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 12.

new text begin [290C.101] TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For purposes of this section, "new owner" means a
prospective purchaser or grantee.
new text end

new text begin (b) For purposes of this section, "owner" means a grantor or seller.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Disclosure to new owner. new text end

new text begin When lands enrolled in the sustainable forest
incentive program are sold or transferred to new owners, the owner must:
new text end

new text begin (1) disclose to the new owner information describing the imposition of penalties in
section 290C.11 for noncompliance with sections 290C.03 and 290C.04; and
new text end

new text begin (2) obtain the signature of the new owner on a statement acknowledging the
disclosures.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Notification to commissioner. new text end

new text begin (a) An owner must notify a new owner
if the owner transfers all of the owner's land enrolled in the sustainable forest incentive
program to the new owner. A new owner must notify the commissioner within 60 days
of the transfer of title to the property if the owner has notified the new owner that the
owner has transferred all of the owner's land enrolled in the sustainable forest incentive
program to the new owner.
new text end

new text begin (b) An owner who transfers only part of the owner's land enrolled in the sustainable
forest incentive program, or all of the owner's land enrolled in the sustainable forest
incentive program to more than one new owner, must notify the commissioner in writing
of the transfer within 60 days of the transfer of title. The notification must include the
legal description of the transferred property, the tax parcel number, and the name and
address of the new owner.
new text end

new text begin (c) Upon notification, the commissioner shall inform the new owner of the
restrictions of the covenant required by section 290C.04, and that the new owner must
register a new forest management plan within two years from the date the title of the
property was transferred.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Termination of enrollment. new text end

new text begin The commissioner will terminate enrollment
in the sustainable forest incentive program according to the procedure in section 290C.10
for failure of the new owner to register a forest management plan within the time period
in subdivision 3, paragraph (c).
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 13.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 290C.11, is amended to read:


290C.11 PENALTIES FOR REMOVAL.

(a) If the commissioner determines that land enrolled in the sustainable forest
incentive program is in violation of the conditions for enrollment as specified in section
290C.03, the commissioner shall notify the deleted text beginclaimantdeleted text endnew text begin current owner of the enrolled landnew text end of
the intent to remove deleted text beginalldeleted text endnew text begin that tax parcel of thenew text end enrolled land new text beginwhere the violation has occurred
new text endfrom the sustainable forest incentive program. The deleted text beginclaimantdeleted text endnew text begin current owner of the affected
tax parcel
new text end has 60 days to appeal this determination under the provisions of section 290C.13.

(b) If the commissioner determines the land is to be removed from the sustainable
forest incentive programnew text begin due to the construction of a buildingnew text end, the deleted text beginclaimantdeleted text endnew text begin current owner
of the tax parcel that is in violation
new text end is liable for payment to the commissionernew text begin of revenuenew text end in
the amount equal to deleted text beginthe payments received under this chapter for the previous four-year
period, plus interest
deleted text endnew text begin 25 percent of the estimated market value as property reclassified under
section 273.13, due to the structure being on the taxed parcel, as determined by the assessor
new text end.

new text begin (c) If the commissioner determines that the land is to be removed due to changes in
the use of the land for uses other than forestry purposes, the current owner of the tax parcel
that is in violation shall be liable to the commissioner of revenue in an amount equal to
30 percent of the estimated market value as property reclassified under section 273.13,
due to the change in use, as determined by the assessor.
new text end

new text begin (d)new text end The claimant has 90 days to satisfy the payment for removal of land from the
sustainable forest incentive program under this section. If the penalty is not paid within
the 90-day period under this paragraph, the commissioner shall certify the amount to the
county auditor for collection as a part of the general ad valorem real property taxes on the
land in the following taxes payable year.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 14. new text begin REPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2014, sections 290C.02, subdivisions 5 and 9; and 290C.06, new text end new text begin are
repealed.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end