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County Timber Revenues - Payments and Taxes


This page provides information about payments from the federal government and state government to Washington counties representing a share of the revenues received for the harvesting of timber on federal and state forest lands within each county.

It also provides links to information about the timber excise tax that counties can impose. See also the Forest Lands in Washington Counties page, where you will find information about federal and state timber lands in Washington, and the Washington State Association of Counties Timber Counties Program pages.

Federal Payments for Lands in Washington

Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) (PL 97-258)

The federal government makes payments to units of local government as proxies for property taxes on the land base of federal land managing agencies (e.g., Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation).

Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (PL 106-393, PL 110-343)

The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act provides assistance to rural counties and school districts affected by the decline in revenue from timber harvests on federal lands. On October 3, 2008, H.R. 1424 became Public Law (P.L.) 110-343. Division C, Section 601 of H.R. 1424 reauthorized the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 by amending the original law (P.L. 106-393) with some significant changes. See the U.S. Forest Service page noted below for the changes that were made.

On October 2, 2013 Congress passed a one-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act as part of HR 527 Helium Stewardship Act.

Military Forest Receipts (Public Law 97-99)

The State Treasurer receives from the federal government and remits to counties a percentage of net proceeds on the sale of timber and forest products from military installations. Fifty percent of the monies distributed are to be used for public schools and the remaining fifty percent for public roads. (Source: Washington State Treasurer's Report)

Washington State Forest Lands Trust Revenue Distribution Counties

State forest trust lands include grant lands received from the federal government, forest transfer trust lands, and state forest purchase lands. State Forest purchase lands are acquired by the state by either purchase or gift. A portion of the monies derived from the lease of state lands held in trust or from the sale of forest products, oils, gases, coal, minerals, or fossils, or from land designated as state forest land is distributed twice monthly by the State Treasurer to the counties in which the lands are located as certified by the Department of Natural Resources. Interest earnings are distributed to participating counties monthly. (Source: Washington State Treasurer's Monthly Report)

  • DNR Timber Distributions, Washington State Treasurer Revenue Distribution to Counties
  • Distribution to Counties, State Treasurer's Monthly Report, 01/2013 - See column, Natural Resources Trust and footnote 8 which lists the components of DNR Interest, DNR Other Trust 1, DNR Other Trust 2, DNR Other Trust 77, DNR PILT NAP/NRCA, DNR Timber Trust 1, DNR Timber Trust 2. For explanation of abbreviations see Summary of Distributions
  • All County Quarterly Income Reports, Department of Natural Resources Each quarter, DNR reports the earned income and projected revenue from State Forest Lands (formerly known as Forest Board lands) in several Washington counties
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources 2013 Annual Report - Pages 17, 39-50 provide data on timber management activities on forested state trust lands, as required by RCW 79.10.010
  • State Trust Lands Forest Management, Department of Natural Resources

Timber Tax Revenues - Forest Excise Tax

Counties are authorized to impose an excise tax on each person engaging in business as a harvester of timber on private land. This tax, based on the stumpage value of timber harvested for sale or for commercial or industrial use, is credited against the state's excise tax. The Department of Revenue certifies to the State Treasurer the amount of the excise tax collected to be distributed to participating counties each quarter. The four percent county tax on timber harvested from private lands, less prorated administrative costs, is distributed back to the county of origin.

Last Modified: May 26, 2016