UGA Professor Helps Create Free Guide to Help Forest Owners Do Their Taxes

(WALB) – As people prepare to file their taxes this year, there’s a new guide called “Tax Tips for Forest Owners,” aimed at helping forest owners save money.

Dr. Yanshu Li, a University of Georgia (UGA) forestry tax expert, as well as an assistant professor at the University of Florida and the USDA Forest Service, put together the free guide to help landowners to keep more money in their pockets.

“We know that forest land is a long-term investment,” Li said. “It is very important to do tax planning.

She is a lecturer in forestry taxation and economics at UGA.

“It’s a risky business. A tree standing there, it can get hit by a hurricane, a fire, all that,” she said. “So if anything happens to the wood, we better find a way to recoup some of the cost.”

Li said tax deductions are one way to achieve this.

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Dr. Yanshu Li is Assistant Professor of Forestry Taxation and Economics at UGA.(WALB)

It starts with knowing how to classify your timber property: personal use or hobby (which doesn’t have many deductions), investment, or trade or business.

Each has different levels of deductions.

“If they can justify their logging as a business, they can get the most tax benefits,” Li said. they could show a profit, they can still show as an investment in timber and they can deduct certain expenses.”

Li also said that when events like storms or fires impact wood damage and loss, tax deductions can help recover some of that lost money.

Hurricane Michael in 2018 is an example.

“Many landowners have been affected by the loss of timber. At the time, we provided a lot of help on the timber tax. Hopefully this can help them recover some of the costs,” Li said.

She said they plan to update this guide every year as tax laws change.

To download the guide or for more information on timber taxes, click here.

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