26 CFR § 1.611-3 - Rules applicable to timber.
(a) Capital recoverable through depletion allowance in case of timber. In general, the capital remaining in any year recoverable through depletion allowances is the basis provided by section 612 and the regulations thereunder. For the method of determining fair market value and quantity of timber, see paragraphs (d), (e), and (f) of this section. For capitalization of carrying charges, see section 1016(a)(1)(A). Amounts paid or incurred in connection with the planting of timber (including planting for Christmas tree purposes) shall be capitalized and recoverable through depletion allowances. Such amounts include, for example, expenditures made for the preparation of the timber site for planting or for natural seeding and the cost of seedlings. The apportionment of deductions between the several owners of economic interests in standing timber will be made as provided in paragraph (c) of § 1.611-1.
(b) Computation of allowance for depletion of timber for taxable year.
(1) The depletion of timber takes place at the time timber is cut, but the amount of depletion allowable with respect to timber that has been cut may be computed when the quantity of cut timber is first accurately measured in the process of exploitation. To the extent that depletion is allowable in a particular taxable year with respect to timber the products of which are not sold during such year, the depletion so allowable shall be included as an item of cost in the closing inventory of such products for such year.
(2) The depletion unit of the timber for a given timber account in a given year shall be the quotient obtained by dividing (i) the basis provided by section 1012 and adjusted as provided by section 1016, of the timber on hand at the beginning of the year plus the cost of the number of units of timber acquired during the year plus proper additions to capital, by (ii) the total number of units of timber on hand in the given account at the beginning of the year plus the cost of the number of units of timber acquired during the year plus the number of units acquired during the year plus (or minus) the number of units required to be added (or deducted) by way of correcting the estimate of the number of units remaining available in the account. The number of units of timber of a given timber account cut during any taxable year multiplied by the depletion unit of that timber account applicable to such year shall be the amount of depletion allowable for the taxable year. Those taxpayers who keep their accounts on a monthly basis may, at their option, keep their depletion accounts on such basis, in which case the amount allowable on account of depletion for a given month will be determined in the manner outlined herein for a given year. The total amount of the allowance for depletion in any taxable year shall be the sum of the amounts allowable for the several timber accounts. For a description of timber accounts, see paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.
(3) When a taxpayer has elected to treat the cutting of timber as a sale or exchange of such timber under the provisions of section 631(a), he shall reduce the timber account containing such timber by an amount equal to the adjusted depletion basis of such timber. In computing any further gain or loss on such timber, see paragraph (e) of § 1.631-1.
(c) Timber depletion accounts on books.
(1) Every taxpayer claiming or expecting to claim a deduction for depletion of timber property shall keep accurate ledger accounts in which shall be recorded the cost or other basis provided by section 1012 of the property and land together with subsequent allowable capital additions in each account and all other adjustments provided by section 1016 and the regulations thereunder.
(2) In such accounts there shall be set up separately the quantity of timber, the quantity of land, and the quantity of other resources, if any, and a proper part of the total cost or value shall be allocated to each after proper provision for immature timber growth. See paragraph (d) of this section. The timber accounts shall be credited each year with the amount of the charges to the depletion accounts computed in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section or the amount of the charges to the depletion accounts shall be credited to depletion reserve accounts. When the sum of the credits for depletion equals the cost or other basis of the timber property, plus subsequent allowable capital additions, no further deduction for depletion will be allowed.
(d) Aggregating timber and land for purposes of valuation and accounting.
(1) With a view to logical and reasonable valuation of timber, the taxpayer shall include his timber in one or more accounts. In general, each such account shall include all of the taxpayer's timber which is located in one block. A block may be an operation unit which includes all the taxpayer's timber which would logically go to a single given point of manufacture. In those cases in which the point of manufacture is at a considerable distance, or in which the logs or other products will probably be sold in a log or other market, the block may be a logging unit which includes all of the taxpayer's timber which would logically be removed by a single logging development. Blocks may also be established by geographical or political boundaries or by logical management areas. Timber acquired under cutting contracts should be carried in separate accounts and shall not constitute part of any block. In exceptional cases, provided there are good and substantial reasons, and subject to approval or revision by the district director on audit, the taxpayer may divide the timber in a given block into two or more accounts. For example, timber owned on February 28, 1913, and that purchased subsequently may be kept in separate accounts, or timber owned on February 28, 1913, and the timber purchased since that date in several distinct transactions may be kept in several distinct accounts. Individual tree species or groups of tree species may be carried in distinct accounts, or special timber products may be carried in distinct accounts. Blocks may be divided into two or more accounts based on the character of the timber or its accessibility, or scattered tracts may be included in separate accounts. If such a division is made, a proper portion of the total value or cost, as the case may be, shall be allocated to each account.
(2) The timber accounts mentioned in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph shall not include any part of the value or cost, as the case may be, of the land. In a manner similar to that prescribed in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, the land in a given block may be carried in a single land account or may be divided into two or more accounts on the basis of its character or accessibility. When such a division is made, a proper portion of the total value or cost, as the case may be, shall be allocated to each account.
(3) The total value or total cost, as the case may be, of land and timber shall be equitably allocated to the timber and land accounts, respectively. In cases in which immature timber growth is a factor, a reasonable portion of the total value or cost shall be allocated to such immature timber, and when the timber becomes merchantable such value or cost shall be recoverable through depletion allowances.
(4) Each of the several land and timber accounts carried on the books of the taxpayer shall be definitely described as to their location on the ground either by maps or by legal descriptions.
(5) For good and substantial reasons satisfactory to the district director, or as required by the district director on audit, the timber or the land accounts may be readjusted by dividing individual accounts, by combining two or more accounts, or by dividing and recombining accounts.
(e) Determination of quantity of timber. Each taxpayer claiming or expecting to claim a deduction for depletion is required to estimate with respect to each separate timber account the total units (feet board measure, log scale, cords, or other units) of timber reasonably known, or on good evidence believed, to have existed on the ground on March 1, 1913, or on the date of acquisition of the property, whichever date is applicable in determining the basis for cost depletion. This estimate shall state as nearly as possible the number of units which would have been found present by careful estimate made on the specified date with the object of determining 100 percent of the quantity of timber which the area covered by the specific account would have produced on that date if all of the merchantable timber had been cut and utilized in accordance with the standards of utilization prevailing in that region at that time. If subsequently during the ownership of the taxpayer making the return, as the result of the growth of the timber, of changes in standards of utilization, of losses not otherwise accounted for, of abandonment of timber, or of operations or development work, it is ascertained either by the taxpayer or the district director that there remain on the ground, available for utilization, more or less units of timber at the close of the taxable year (or at the close of the month if the taxpayer keeps his depletion accounts on a monthly basis) than remain in the timber account or accounts on the basis of the original estimate, then the original estimate (but not the basis for depletion) shall be revised. The depletion unit shall be changed when such revision has been made. The annual charge to the depletion account with respect to the property shall be computed by using such revised unit for the taxable year for which the revision is made and all subsequent taxable years until a change in facts requires another revision.
(f) Determination of fair market value of timber property.
(1) If the fair market value of the property at a specified date is the basis for depletion deductions, such value shall be determined, subject to approval or revision by the district director upon audit, by the owner of the property in the light of the most reliable and accurate information available with reference to the condition of the property as it existed at that date, regardless of all subsequent changes, such as changes in surrounding circumstances, and methods of exploitation, in degree of utilization, etc. Such factors as the following will be given due consideration:
(i) Character and quality of the timber as determined by species, age, size, condition, etc.;
(ii) The quantity of timber per acre, the total quantity under consideration, and the location of the timber in question with reference to other timber;
(iii) Accessibility of the timber (location with reference to distance from a common carrier, the topography and other features of the ground upon which the timber stands and over which it must be transported in process of exploitation, the probable cost of exploitation and the climate and the state of industrial development of the locality); and
(iv) The freight rates by common carrier to important markets.
(2) The timber in each particular case will be valued on its own merits and not on the basis of general averages for regions; however, the value placed upon it, taking into consideration such factors as those mentioned in this paragraph, will be coistent with that of other similar timber in the region. The district director will give weight and consideration to any and all facts and evidence having a bearing on the market value, such as cost, actual sales and transfers of similar properties, the margin between the cost of production and the price realized for timber products, market value of stock or shares, royalties and rentals, valuation for local or State taxation, partnership accountings, records of litigation in which the value of the property has been involved, the amount at which the property may have been inventoried or appraised in probate or similar proceedings, disinterested appraisals by approved methods, and other factors.
(g) Revaluation of timber property not allowed. No revaluation of a timber property whose value as of any specific date has been determined and approved will be made or allowed during the continuance of the ownership under which the value was so determined and approved, except in the case of misrepresentation or fraud or gross error as to any facts known on the date as of which the valuation was made. Revaluation on account of misrepresentation or fraud or such gross error will be made only with the written approval of the Commissioner. The depletion unit shall be revised when such a revaluation of a timber property has been made and the annual charge to the depletion account with respect to the property shall be computed by using such revised unit for the taxable year for which such revision is made and for all subsequent taxable years.
(h) Reporting and recordkeeping requirements -
(1) Taxable years beginning before January 1, 2002. A taxpayer claiming a deduction for depletion of timber for a taxable year beginning before January 1, 2002, shall attach to the income tax return of the taxpayer a filled-out Form T (Timber) for the taxable year covered by the income tax return, including the following information -
(i) A map where necessary to show clearly timber and land acquired, timber cut, and timber and land sold;
(ii) Description of, cost of, and terms of purchase of timberland or timber, or cutting rights, including timber or timber rights acquired under any type of contract;
(iii) Profit or loss from sale of land, or timber, or both;
(iv) Description of timber with respect to which claim for loss, if any, is made;
(v) Record of timber cut;
(vi) Changes in each timber account as a result of purchase, sale, cutting, reestimate, or loss;
(vii) Changes in improvements accounts as the result of additions to or deductions from capital and depreciation, and computation of profit or loss on sale or other disposition of such improvements;
(viii) Operation data with respect to raw and finished material handled and inventoried;
(ix) Statement as to application of the election under section 631(a) and pertinent information in support of the fair market value claimed thereunder;
(x) Information with respect to land ownership and capital investment in timberland; and
(xi) Any other data which will be helpful in determining the reasonableness of the depletion or depreciation deductions claimed in the return.
(2) Taxable years beginning after December 31, 2001. A taxpayer claiming a deduction for depletion of timber on a return filed for a taxable year beginning after December 31, 2001, shall attach to the income tax return of the taxpayer a filled-out Form T (Timber) for the taxable year covered by the income tax return. In addition, the taxpayer must retain records sufficient to substantiate the right of the taxpayer to claim the deduction, including a map, where necessary, to show clearly timber and land acquired, timber cut, and timber and land sold for as long as their contents may become material in the administration of any internal revenue law.