Wooded Acreage Assessments

Rural-Non Agriculture land is assessed at one-third of Market Value unless it qualifies for a preferential assessment as outlined in the Illinois State Statutes.

Rural land owned prior to October 1, 2007 is able to be assessed by a formula called the Wooded Transition Percentage. Any time the land ownership changes, this Transition Percentage is removed and statutorily the land must be assessed at one-third of the market value.

In order to receive a preferential Farmland assessment, 50% or more of the parcel and/or contiguous acreage must be in active farm use (see statutory definition below).

There are a few programs that can be entered to receive a preferential assessment on Rural Wooded Acreage: The Conservation Stewardship Program allows a preferential assessment of 5% of Market Value and the Forestry Management Program allows a preferential assessment of one-sixth of the Soil’s Productivity Index’s Equalized Assessed Value. Any change in assessment occurs on January 1st of the assessment year after the program’s effective date. These programs are administered and monitored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Please visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Assessment of Wooded Acreage (35 ILCS 200/10-510) Sec. 10-510

(a) If wooded acreage was classified as farmland during the 2006 assessment year, then the property shall be assessed as WTP Lane or by Wooded Transition Percentage. This is calculated 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 (i) the property’s 2006 equalized assessed value as farmland by (ii) the 2006 fair cash value of the property.

(b) The wooded acreage shall continue to be assessed under the provisions of this Section through any assessment year in which the property is transferred or no longer qualifies as wooded acreage under Section 10-505, and the property must be assessed as otherwise permitted by law beginning the following assessment year. (Source: P.A. 95-633, eff. 10-1-07.)

Wooded Acreage Defined (35 ILCS 200/10-505) Sec. 10-505

For the purposes of this Division 17, “wooded acreage” means any parcel of unimproved real property that:

(1) can be defined as “wooded acreage” by the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Land Management;

(2) is at least 5 contiguous acres; (3) does not qualify as cropland, permanent pasture, other farmland, or wasteland under Section 10-125 of this Code;

(4) is not managed under a forestry management plan and considered to be other farmland under Section 10-150 of this Code;

(5) does not qualify for another preferential assessment under this Code; and (6) is owned by the taxpayer on October 1, 2007. (Source: P.A. 95-633, eff. 10-1-07.)

Definitions of Farmland (35 ILCS 200/10-125)

Section 10-125 of the Property Tax Code identifies cropland, permanent pasture, other farmland, and wasteland as the four types of farmland and prescribes the method for assessing each. State law requires cropland, permanent pasture, and other farmland to be defined according to US Bureau of Census definitions. The following definitions comply with this requirement.

Cropland includes all land from which crops were harvested or hay was cut; all land in orchards, citrus groves, vineyards, and nursery greenhouse crops; land in rotational pasture, and grazing land that could have been used for crops without additional improvements; land used for cover crops, legumes, and soil improvement grasses, but not harvested and not pastured; land on which crops failed; land in cultivated summer fallow; and, idle cropland.

Permanent pasture includes any pastureland except woodland pasture and pasture qualifying under the Bureau of Census’ cropland definition which includes rotational pasture and grazing land that could have been used for crops without additional improvements.

Other farmland includes woodland pasture; woodland, including woodlots, timber tracts, cutover, and deforested land; and farm building lots other than home sites.

Wasteland is that portion of a qualified farm tract that is not put into cropland, permanent pasture, or other farmland as the result of soil limitations and not as the result of a management decision.