If the timberland is part of a larger farm tract which has cropland acres and the cropland acreage exceeds the amount timberland acreage, then the timberland is valued as other farmland and is valued using a PI value of 1/6 of cropland PI value per acre. Other timber (wooded acreage) can be valued in one of the following ways:

Wooded Acreage Assessment Transition

What acreage qualifies?
1. If wooded acreage was classified as farmland during the 2006 assessment year, then the property shall be assessed by multiplying the current fair cash value of the property by the transition percentage. The chief county assessment officer shall determine the transition percentage for the property by dividing the property’s 2006 equalized assessed value as farmland by the 2006 fair cash value of the property.
2. Must be at least 5 (five) contiguous acres.
3. Does not qualify as cropland, permanent pasture, other farmland or wasteland under Section 10-125 of the Property Tax Code.
4. Is not managed under a forestry management plan and considered to be other farmland under Section 10-150- of the Property Tax Code.
5. Does not qualify for another preferential assessment under the Property Tax Code.
6. Was owned by the taxpayer prior to October 1, 2007.

This property is valued using a transition percentage which is equal to the property’s 2006 equalized assessed value (EAV) as farmland divided by the properties 2006 fair cash value. Each assessment year, the CCAO will multiply that year’s fair cash value by this transition percentage. Only property which remains in the original owner’s name in 2007 remains eligible for this preferential assessment. Any change of ownership for these parcels results in the loss of this preferential assessment effective January 1st of the year following the change of ownership and at that point, the assessment will be based on the fair market value of the land. This results in much higher real estate taxes. To avoid this increase, you might consider placing the land in Conservation Stewardship or a Forestry Management Plan.

Conservation Stewardship

What acres qualifies?
1. The property must not be used for any residential or commercial purposes that “materially disturbs the land” and must be:
a. Unimproved woodland, prairie, wetlands, or other vacant and undeveloped land.
b. A minimum of 5 (five) contiguous acres and
c. Managed under an Illinois Department of Natural Resources approved conservation management plan.
Beginning with the 2008 assessment year, a qualifying property is assessed at 5 percent of its fair market value.

The plan begins January 1st of the year following the date the plan is submitted and approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Assessments are not pro-rated, so if your plan is not approved prior to January 1st, you will have to wait until January 1st of the following year to receive this preferential assessment.
Example: A plan is received and approved on 06/30/2021.
Preferential assessment is effective for the assessment year of 2022, real estate taxes paid in 2023.

Effective 6-1-2015, the following rules changed for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP):

a. Taxpayer must have legal access (not landlocked) to the property prior to enrollment.
b. CSP plans expire every 10 years. For continuous CSP tax valuation, taxpayers must reapply for CSP prior to their 10-year contract expiring or when there is a change in ownership of acreage enrolled in CSP.
c. A taxpayer must timely pay all tax debts on the CSP property, and the CSP property must not be in foreclosure at any time during the enrollment process or during enrollment in CSP.
d. If, after attempting to remind the taxpayer, the Department determines that the taxpayer is not fulfilling its obligation to update and report management activities on CSP-enrolled property, the Department can remove the property from CSP.
e. If ownership of the enrolled acres changes, the Department will remove them from CSP and the preferential assessment will be removed effective January 1st of the following year. However, the new property owner may re-enroll the property. New landowners of previously enrolled CSP properties may submit an application for enrollment only after they have taken control of the property. The CSP preferential assessment does NOT automatically transfer to the new owners, so it is crucial that a new application be submitted to IL Dept of Natural Resources in time to be approved prior to the end of the year so as to be effective on January 1st of the following year.
To apply contact Illinois Department of Natural Resources @ 217-785-8284 or visit www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/CSP

Forestry Management Plan

What acres qualifies?
1. Own or operate at least ten contiguous acres of land within Illinois on which no building is present.
2. Have one of the primary management goals be timber production (harvest).
Generally, plans are renewed every 10 years. Under this program the timberland is considered as “other farmland” and is assessed under the Farmland Assessment Law, based on its soil productivity index (PI) at 1/6 of the equalized assessed value certified by the Illinois Department of Revenue for that PI
To apply contact Illinois Department of Natural Resources http://dnr.state.il.us/conservation/forestry/

Timberland Publications for more detailed information: