Municipalities seek reimbursement for forestry tax credits

0
81

Tashi Farmilo

MRC PONTIAC – In a move to further support the development of private forests and boost forest economic activity, municipalities in Quebec are requesting reimbursement for property tax credits granted to forest producers.

The request, put forth by the MRC Pontiac’s Council of Mayors, urges the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MRNF) to consider reimbursing Quebec municipalities for these tax credits.

The call for reimbursement stems from amendments made to the Act respecting municipal taxation in March 2020; a new category of forest immovables was created, allowing municipalities to adjust the tax rate for forest properties of 4 hectares or more within a range of 66% to 100% of the base rate to encourage the development of private forests.

Forest properties falling under this category are required to have a forest management plan prepared by a certified forest engineer and be owned by individuals registered as forest producers with the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP). By reducing the municipal tax burden on forest producers, municipalities aim to promote professional supervision and responsible management of private woodlots.

This, in turn, supports silviculture activities within their territories and contributes to the growth of the forest management and wood processing industries.

“We support these tax incentives, but firmly believe the property tax credits shouldn’t be funded with our general funds,” said Jason Durand, MRC Pontiac’s director of territory. Instead, they propose the credits be treated like the MAPAQ Agricultural Property Tax Credit Program. Under this program, credits are issued by the municipality on agricultural properties that meet specific criteria, and the municipality is then reimbursed by MAPAQ for these credits.

“Reimbursement will enable municipalities to continue supporting the development of private forests without straining our resources,” emphasized Durand.

For more information or inquiries about the property tax credits granted to forest producers, please contact the MRNF or your local municipal office.