Section 480a: New York State's Approach to Forest Taxation: A Public Policy Review
Fox, Roy; McGaw, Cynthia
This paper concerns itself primarily with owners of small woodlots. First, we will focus on the intent of 480a as perceived by various groups. The major aspects of the program are then summarized, especially in terms of individual forest owners I responsibilities and commitments. Specific methods for calculating the tax exemption for an individual property are illustrated. Monetary and nonmonetary considerations which each forest owner must make when considering enrollment in 480a are described. The overall costs of enrollment are shown for hypothetical situations. Finally, the effectiveness of 480a will be looked at from the general, state viewpoint. To evaluate 480a, we have used the following model. When a tax incentive program is enacted, the state decision makers are assumed to have in mind some part of the population they wish to have enrolled in the program. The intent of the legislators, administrators, and public goals should determine the characteristics of this population and the changes in their behavior expected due to the incentive. The incentive should then be in a form and of a size which result in a maximum number of enrollees from the population intended. Possible areas of change within 480a as well as other approaches are discussed in reference to these general state objectives.
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University