Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

88.52 CUTTING TIMBER; TAXATION.
    Subdivision 1. Yield tax, when to be paid. The merchantable timber shall either be cut,
or the yield tax hereinbefore mentioned shall be paid upon its value as standing timber, at the
expiration of the period fixed in the contract for the duration of the auxiliary forest; or at the
expiration of any renewal of the contract.
    Subd. 2. Examination, report. When any timber growing or standing in any auxiliary forest
shall have become suitable for merchantable forest products, the commissioner shall, at the
written request of the owner, a copy of which shall at the time be filed in the office of the county
auditor, make an examination of the timber and designate for the owner the kind and number of
trees most suitable to be cut if in the judgment of the commissioner there be any, and the cutting
and removal of these trees so designated shall be in accordance with the instructions of the
commissioner. The commissioner shall inspect the cutting or removal and determine whether it
or the manner of its performance constitute a violation of the terms of the contract creating the
auxiliary forest or of the laws applicable thereto, or of the instructions of the commissioner
relative to the cutting and removal. Any such violation shall be ground for cancellation of the
contract by the commissioner; otherwise the contract shall continue in force for the remainder
of the period therein stated, regardless of the cutting and removal. Within 90 days after the
completion of any cutting or removal operation, the commissioner shall make a report of findings
thereon and transmit copies of such report to the county auditor and the surveyor general.
    Subd. 3. Kinds, permit, scale report, assessment and payment of tax. (a) Upon the filing
of the request of the owner, the director of lands and forestry, with the county board or the county
land commissioner, shall determine within 30 days the kinds, quantities, and value on the stump
of the timber proposed to be cut.
Before the cutting is to begin, the director of lands and forestry shall file with the county
auditor a report showing the kinds, quantities and value of the timber proposed to be cut or
removed and approved by the director of lands and forestry for cutting within two years after
the date of approval of the report by the director of lands and forestry. The county auditor shall
assess and levy the estimated yield tax thereon, make proper record of this assessment and levy
in the auditor's office, and notify the owner of the auxiliary forest of the amount thereof. The
owner shall, before any timber in the forest is cut or removed, give a bond payable to the state of
Minnesota, or in lieu thereof, deposit in cash with the county treasurer, in the amount required by
the report, which shall be not less than 150 percent of the amount of the levy, conditioned for
the payment of all taxes on the timber to be cut or removed. Upon receipt of notification from
the county auditor that the bond or cash requirement has been deposited, the director of lands
and forestry will issue a cutting permit in accordance with the report. The owner shall keep
an accurate count or scale of all timber cut. On or before the fifteenth day of April following
issuance of such cutting permit, and on or before the fifteenth day of April of each succeeding
year in which any merchantable wood products were cut on auxiliary forest lands prior to the
termination of such permit, the owner of the timber covered by the permit shall file with the
director of lands and forestry a sworn statement, submitted in duplicate, on a form prepared by
the director of lands and forestry, one copy of which shall be transmitted to the county auditor
specifying the quantity and value of each variety of timber and kind of product cut during the
preceding year ending on March 31, as shown by the scale or measurement thereof made on the
ground as cut, skidded or loaded as the case may be. If no such scale or measurement shall have
been made on the ground, an estimate thereof shall be made and such estimate corrected by the
first scale or measurement, made in the due course of business, and such correction at once filed
with the director of lands and forestry who shall immediately transmit it to the county auditor.
On or before the fifteenth day of May following the filing of the sworn statement covering the
quantity and value of timber cut under an authorized permit, the auditor shall assess and levy
a yield (severance) tax, according to section 88.51, subdivision 2, of the timber cut during the
year ending on the March 31st preceding the date of assessing and levying this tax. This tax is
payable and must be paid to the county treasurer on or before May 31 next following. Copies
of the yield (severance) tax assessment and of the yield (severance) tax payment shall be filed
with the director of lands and forestry and the county auditor. Except as otherwise provided, all
yield (severance) taxes herein provided for shall be levied and collected and payment thereof,
with penalties and interest, enforced in the same manner as taxes imposed under the provisions of
section 88.51, subdivision 1, and shall be credited to the funds of the taxing districts affected in
the proportion of their interests in the taxes on the land producing the yield (severance) tax. At
any time on deeming it necessary the director of lands and forestry may order an inspection of
any or all cutting areas within an auxiliary forest and also may require the owner of the auxiliary
forest to produce for inspection by the director of lands and forestry of any or all cutting records
pertaining to timber cutting operations within an auxiliary forest for the purpose of determining
the accuracy of scale or measurement reports, and if intentional error in scale or measurement
reports is found to exist, shall levy and assess a tax triple the yield (severance) tax on the stumpage
value of the timber cut in excess of the quantity and value reported.
(b) The following alternative method of assessing and paying annually the yield tax on an
auxiliary forest is to be available to an auxiliary forest owner upon application and upon approval
of the county board of the county within which the auxiliary forest is located.
For auxiliary forests entered under this subdivision the county auditor shall assess and levy
the yield tax by multiplying the acreage of each legal description included within the auxiliary
forest by the acre quantity of the annual growth by species, calculated in cords, or in thousands of
feet board measure Minnesota standard log scale rule, whichever is more reasonably usable, for
the major species found in each type by the from year-to-year appraised stumpage prices for each
of these species, used by the Division of Lands and Forestry, Department of Natural Resources, in
selling trust fund timber located within the district in which the auxiliary forest is located. The
assessed value of the annual growth of the auxiliary forest, thus determined, shall be subject to a
ten percent of stumpage value yield tax, payable annually on or before May 31. In all other
respects the assessment, levying and collection of the yield tax, as provided for in this subdivision
shall follow the procedures specified in clause (a).
Forest owners operating under this subdivision shall be subject to all other provisions of the
auxiliary forest law except such provisions of clause (a) as are in conflict with this subdivision.
Penalties for intentional failure by the owner to report properly the quantity and value of the
annual growth upon an auxiliary forest entered under this subdivision and for failure to pay the
yield tax when due shall be the same as the penalties specified in other subdivisions of this
law for like failure to abide by its provisions.
To qualify for the assessment and levying of the yield tax by this method, the owner of
the forest requesting this method of taxation must submit a map or maps and a tabulation in
acres and in quantity of growth by legal descriptions showing the division of the area covered
by the auxiliary forest for which this method of taxation is requested into the following forest
types, namely: white and Norway pine; jack pine; aspen-birch; spruce-balsam fir; swamp spruce;
tamarack; cedar; upland hardwoods; lowland hardwoods; upland brush and grass (temporarily
nonproductive); lowland brush (temporarily nonproductive); and permanently nonproductive
(open bogs, stagnant swamps, rock outcrops, flowage, etc.). Definition of these types and
determination of the average rate or rates of growth (in cords or thousand feet, board measure,
Minnesota standard log scale rule, which ever is more logically applicable for each of them) shall
be made by the director of the Division of Lands and Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources, with the advice and assistance of the land commissioner of the county in which
the auxiliary forest is located; the director of the United States Forest Service's North Central
Forest Experiment Station; and the director of the School of Forestry, University of Minnesota.
Before the approval of the application of the owner of an auxiliary forest to have the auxiliary or
proposed auxiliary forest taxed under provisions of this subdivision is submitted to the county
board the distribution between types of the area as shown on the maps and in the tabulations
submitted by the owner of the auxiliary or proposed auxiliary forest shall be examined and their
accuracy determined by the director of the Division of Lands and Forestry, Department of Natural
Resources, with the assistance of the county board of the county in which the auxiliary forest
is located.
During the life of the auxiliary forest contract timber cutting operations within the various
types shown upon the type map accepted as a part of the approved auxiliary forest application
shall not bring about a reclassification of the forest types shown upon that map or those maps
until after the passage of ten years following the termination of said timber cutting operations
and then only upon proof of a change in type.
    Subd. 4. Hearing, procedure. The owner of any land or timber upon which a yield tax is
assessed and levied as provided in this section may, within 15 days after mailing of notice of the
amount of the tax, file with the county auditor a demand for hearing thereon before the county
board. The county auditor shall thereupon fix a date of hearing, which shall be held within 30 days
after the filing of the demand, and mail to the owner notice of the time and place of the hearing.
The owner may appear at the meeting and present evidence and argument as to the amount
of the tax and as to any matter relating thereto. The county board shall thereupon determine
whether the tax as levied is proper in amount and make its order thereon. The county auditor shall
forthwith mail to the owner a notice of the order. If the amount of the tax is increased or reduced
by the order, the county auditor shall make a supplemental assessment and levy thereof, as in
this subdivision provided.
    Subd. 5. Yield tax, a prior lien. Throughout the life of any such auxiliary forest the yield tax
accruing thereon shall constitute and be a first and prior lien upon all the merchantable timber and
forest products growing or grown thereon; and, if not paid when due, this yield tax, together with
penalties and interest thereon as otherwise provided by law and all expenses of collecting same,
shall continue to be a lien upon the timber and forest products and every part and parcel thereof
wherever the same may be or however much changed in form or otherwise improved until the
yield tax is fully paid. Such lien may be foreclosed and the property subject thereto dealt with by
action in the name of the state, brought by the county attorney at the request of the county auditor.
    Subd. 6. Timber held exempt from yield tax. Timber cut from an auxiliary forest by an
owner and used by the owner for fuel, fencing, or building on land occupied by the owner which
is within or contiguous to the auxiliary forest where cut shall be exempt from the yield tax, and as
to timber so cut and used the requirements of subdivisions 1 and 2 shall not be applicable and in
lieu thereof the owner shall prior to cutting file with the county auditor, on a form prepared by the
commissioner, a statement showing the quantity of each kind of forest products proposed to be cut
and the purposes for which the same will be used.
History: (4031-66) 1927 c 247 s 7; 1945 c 269 s 4; 1953 c 246 s 3; 1955 c 772 s 3; 1967 c
905 s 5; 1969 c 1129 art 10 s 2; 1971 c 25 s 27; 1986 c 444