FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2011
Nurturing State Forests Now an Option on SC Tax Returns
(Columbia, SC) The South Carolina Forestry Commission is urging tax payers to remember their treasured forests when filing their state returns. This tax season marks the first that taxpayers anticipating a refund will have an option to contribute all or part of it to sustaining state-owned forestlands. The General Assembly passed an income tax check off creating the SC State Forests Fund during the 2010 Legislative Session.
“The money this will generate will go directly toward tree planting, prescribed burning, and wildlife habitat improvement,” said Scott Hawkins, public information director for the agency. “It will also help pay for maintaining more than 50 miles of hiking, biking, motorcycle, and horse trails.”
The Commission manages five state forests to demonstrate that (properly managed) forestland can be fiscally and ecologically productive. More than 80 percent of South Carolina’s forests are privately owned. Forestry and timber-related businesses account for most of the economic impact of the state’s manufacturing sector, according to SCFC officials.
“Historically, landowners have looked to our state forests as role models,” says Hawkins. “As they set their own land management goals, they have the state forests and our agency as a resource.”
Line 28 of State Tax Form 1040 allows the tax filer to contribute some or all of a refund toward any organization or agency listed on Form I-330. A description of the SC Forests Fund is now among them. By checking the SC Forests Fund, tax filers will be helping to support the five state forests managed by the Commission:
- Sand Hills State Forest -- 46,000 acres in Chesterfield County
- Manchester State Forest – 23,745 acres in Sumter County
- Wee Tee State Forest – 12,439 acres including 12 miles of frontage along the serene Santee River in Williamsburg and Georgetown counties
- Harbison State Forest -- 2,200 acres located in the City of Columbia along the scenic Broad River
- Poe Creek State Forest – 2,500 acres in Pickens and Oconee counties
“The Forestry Commission is the only state agency whose lands are entirely self-supporting,” says Mike Shealy, the Commission’s state lands manager. “Operating revenue is generated on-site and 25 percent of that is paid to the local school districts in lieu of property taxes.”
Additionally, the Forestry Commission now has tax tips for forest landowners at its website: www.trees.sc.gov.
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For more information, call Scott Hawkins @ 803-360-2231
For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, forest industry produces about $1,800.00 of economic impact.