Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program
Learn how you can contribute to healthy forests in Ontario and get a property tax reduction when you follow an approved Managed Forest Plan for your property.
The Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program encourages good forest management by giving a property tax reduction to eligible landowners who prepare and follow an approved Managed Forest Plan.
When your forested area is enrolled in the program, it is:
- classified as managed forest
- taxed at 25% of the municipal residential property tax rate
The regular tax rate still applies to any other part of the property that is not managed forest, such as your house.
You must hire a Managed Forest Plan Approver to prepare or approve a Managed Forest Plan for the forest on your property. This plan describes how you will manage your forest responsibly over a 10 year period.
To enroll in the program, your Managed Forest Plan Approver submits your plan to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).
You need to follow your Managed Forest Plan and submit a progress report in the fifth year of your plan.
After 10 years, you can renew your participation in the program with a new approved Managed Forest Plan.
What land is eligible
To be eligible, land must:
- be owned by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or a Canadian business, trust or conservation authority
- have at least 4 hectares (9.88 acres) of forest on a single property in Ontario on one municipal roll number
- have a minimum number of trees per hectare (read the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program Guide for details)
Residences, landscaped areas and land used for residential or other purposes are not eligible.
How to apply
Step 1: review the program guide
Review the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program guide to find out if your forest is eligible.
A Managed Forest Plan Approver can also verify if your forest is eligible.
Step 2: hire a managed forest plan approver
Hire a Managed Forest Plan Approver from the Managed Forest Plan Approver list and schedule a field visit to begin preparing your plan.
Managed Forest Plan Approvers are independent contractors with different areas of expertise in forest management. We recommend that you contact a few approvers to:
- get price estimates
- find an approver with expertise that matches your goals for your property
Your approver can prepare your plan for you based on your property goals, or help you prepare your own plan.
In either case, your approver will:
- visit your property
- determine the eligible area
- verify the forest inventory
- make sure you, your property and your plan meet the program requirements
- make sure all required forms and documents are included with your application
- approve the plan before submitting it to us on your behalf
Your approver can help you develop management goals for your property and strategies to achieve those goals, based on your objectives for the property.
If you are preparing your own managed forest plan
If you want to prepare your own forest management plan, discuss it with your Managed Forest Plan Approver for advice to make sure your plan will meet the program requirements.
You should also:
- read the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program Guide to learn about program requirements
- download a template for preparing your own stewardship plan, or get a template from your Managed Forest Plan Approver
You can get more information about preparing a stewardship plan in the Guide to Stewardship Planning for Natural Areas.
Step 3: provide application form and documents to your approver
Provide the following documents to your approver:
- a completed application form
- a copy of the most recent property assessment notice for each property, available from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC)
Step 4: approver submits application form and documents to the ministry
When your plan is complete and approved, your approver will submit your plan and accompanying documents to us online.
The deadline to add new lands to the program to qualify for the following taxation year is June 30.
After you apply
You will receive a confirmation notice by either mail or email . Confirmation is usually sent out in late fall of the year you apply. We will also include resources to help you manage your forest.
You will receive an updated Property Assessment Notice from MPAC which will show the change in your property’s Realty Tax Class.
Your plan is in effect beginning January 1 the following year after you apply. You may not see the change on your tax bill until midway through the year when your municipality makes an adjustment to reflect the change.
Your municipality will credit you for any overpayment you make during the first part of the year.
Your plan will expire at the end of 10 years. If you want to continue your plan, you will need to follow the “How to apply” steps on this page to submit a new plan.
To remain enrolled in the program, you must:
- follow your approved Managed Forest Plan
- use the Landowner Report form to submit your five-year progress report, and submit a copy of the Report of Activities (section 9 from your plan) by July 31 of your fifth year in the program
An amendment to your plan may be required if there is a change to your property or plan. Changes include:
- severing part of the property
- consolidating your property with another property
- major changes to any of your planned activities in your Managed Forest Plan, such as an unplanned harvest
Contact us at MFTIP@ontario.ca or talk to your Managed Forest Plan Approver for more information on amendments.
You must also let us know if you change your email or mailing address.
Renewing your plan
To renew your plan for another 10 years, follow the “How to apply” steps on this page to submit a new updated plan.
The deadline to renew your plan is July 31 in your tenth year in the program.
Withdraw from the program
You can remove your property from the program at any time. To remove your property:
- submit a completed copy of the landowner report, including a completed Report of Activities for the property being removed
- check the box on the landowner report to indicate you want to remove the property from the program
The deadline to add new lands to the program to qualify for the following taxation year is June 30.
Five-year progress reports are due by July 31 of your fifth year in the program.
Renewal plans are due by July 31 of your tenth year in the program.
If you have purchased a property that is currently in the program, you must submit a new plan of your own within 90 days of the date of transfer to continue participating without interruption. The date of transfer is the date that the property legally changes hands. For a sale, this is usually the closing date.
Buying, selling or transferring ownership of properties
A previous owner’s Managed Forest Plan is not transferrable to a new owner.
If there is a change of ownership on a property that is enrolled in the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program, the new landowner has 90 days from the date of transfer to submit a new application, including a new Managed Forest Plan, following the “How to apply” steps on this page.
If you submit the application and plan within 90 days, the property will remain in the program and continue to receive the property tax benefits without interruption.
If you do not submit the application and plan within 90 days, the property will be removed from the program starting in the next taxation year and the eligible lands will no longer be classified as Managed Forest.
If you are selling a property that’s enrolled in the program, make sure you let the buyer know you are enrolled and that there is a 90-day deadline for the buyer to prepare their own plan and apply to continue participating.
We encourage you to share a copy of your Managed Forest Plan with the buyer.
If you are buying a property that’s enrolled in the program and you want to continue participating, follow the “How to apply” steps on this page to submit a new plan within the 90-day window. We suggest you ask for a copy of the existing Managed Forest Plan from the seller to help you create your new plan.
The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assesses all properties in Ontario, including managed forest properties. To learn how MPAC assesses managed forest properties, visit MPAC’s website.
To learn more about your property’s assessment, visit mpac.ca and log on to AboutMyProperty, where you can:
- learn how your property was assessed
- find information about your property’s tax class
- find the assessed value of any Managed Forest area on your property
- see other information MPAC has on file for your property
To register for an account on AboutMyProperty, you will need the roll number and access key which you can find on your most recent Property Assessment Notice.
Become a Managed Forest Plan Approver
Managed Forest Plan Approvers (MFPAs) work directly with landowners to help them prepare and submit approved Managed Forest Plans and applications.
They develop and maintain forest ecosystem management knowledge and skills, and are the point of contact for people looking for information and guidance on good forestry practices on privately owned woodlots.
MFPAs charge a fee for their services and set their own rates. They are independent contractors and do not work for MNRF.
If you are interested in getting the Managed Forest Plan Approver designation, you must successfully write a comprehensive exam demonstrating certain skills, core knowledge and competencies.
Managed Forest Plan Approvers must also have:
- a degree or diploma in forestry or a natural resource management field, or demonstrated equivalent knowledge and experience in natural resource management principles and practices, including forest management
- a good understanding of forest inventory and wildlife habitat assessment techniques
- 18 months of post-graduate experience in natural resource management, with direct and demonstrated experience in the application of forest management principles and practices
- a thorough understanding of Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program standards and eligibility requirements
- the ability to visit properties, conduct inventories and review Managed Forest Plans to ensure they are eligible and meet standards
- communication skills to work with landowners, companies and other groups and individuals interested in natural resource stewardship
- computer skills to prepare maps and submit applications online
Exams are held every year in the fall.
For more information or to register for the next exam period, send an email to MFTIP@ontario.ca which describes how you meet the requirements.
For more information on the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program, contact us at: