• Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT)

    Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT)

    Much like most of the West, Utah is a “Public Lands State”, meaning that the majority of the lands within the State are public, almost 75% of Utah is public lands.   

    What does that mean to the people of the State of Utah?

    • The Federal Government does not pay property taxes so fewer property taxes are received by the State of Utah… 
      • Meaning that fewer dollars go into the schools 
      • Fewer dollars are available for law enforcement and public safety 
      • Fewer dollars available to maintain county and city services
      • Fewer dollars are available for Health, Safety and Welfare.  

    Because the Federal Government does not pay property taxes, an avenue was created for the Federal Government to compensate all Public Land States.  This avenue eventually became “Payment In Lieu of Taxes” or PILT.  The State of Utah being a Public Lands State receives revenues from the Federal Government to offset the losses in property taxes due to its public lands status.  

    In 1976 Payment In Lieu of Taxes became law.  PILT was then revised in 1982.

    PILT is calculated based upon acreage held by the BLM, Forest Service, qualifying military installations and other qualifying lands managed by the federal government.  In addition to the acreage component, the population base and revenue sharing (oil and gas revenues, grazing and timber sales) are also considered in the calculation.

    In 1999 the Forest Service completed an analysis of the equity of PILT as compared to equivalent private property tax assessments.  It was discovered that the PILT payments are more than 3 times lower than an equivalent private property tax assessments.

    That study was conducted 21 years ago.  Since then we have made strong technical advances in property evaluations.  I believe it is time, again, to review the PILT calculations and make the necessary adjustments.  

    PILT is not only a Utah issue.  It affects every Public Lands State in the United States.  

    The State of Utah House and Senate and the Federal Delegations are committed to reviewing and refining the PILT calculation.  However we are not the only state that is affected.  Refining the PILT calculation will be a long process.  We need to convince the other Public Land States that this process is needed.