Tax avoidance by big timber: a big problem in Oregon

The Coast Range Association has researched big timber’s taxes for the past two years. There are three types of taxes timber companies pay:

1. Property taxes
2. Harvest taxes
3. Income taxes

These taxes either go to support local governments, the state of Oregon’s budget or special state sponsored programs.

Our original goal was to publish an easy to understand report explaining Oregon’s forestland tax system. After much research we concluded this goal is not possible. The property tax system is too complicated to explain given the time and resources at our disposal.

Instead, we set out on a much more feasible project: to document the local and state taxes paid by forest land owners between 1980 and the current period. Between 1990 and 2005 taxes on Oregon forest lands completely changed.  Taxes on forest land dramatically decreased. Large industrial corporate owners saw their local tax burden (property & harvest taxes) decline by over 80% in inflation adjusted dollars. Harvest and property taxes to either state or local government declined by over 70% in inflation adjusted dollars.

Although the numbers are quite astounding: We are not making this stuff up!