Above is a picture of us, Jim and Joanne Corum, walking in our family timber farm in Harlan County, KY which has been in our family since 1852. The land has given us so much pleasure and beauty over the years as we have watched the trees grow and provide home to varied wildlife. We have made 10 miles of fire trails and many timber stand improvements to help it grow to its potential. Unfortunately, in 1998 the state and county arbitrarily increased the property tax 600% from what is was originally, and after recognizing that we and others like us were being taxed off the land, we joined forces with the Kentucky Woodland Owner’s Association (KWOA) to begin the long legal struggle that continues today. The crux of that legal battle can be summarized as follows: In 1984, the Kentucky Supreme Court made a ruling stating that all farmed land must share an equal tax burden based on its income producing capability. The burden at this time is clearly heavier for managed forest land based on research by the UK Department of Forestry. We are appealing the state’s current tax assessment.
Over the years the threat of losing the farm has evolved from the issue of over-taxation to include mounting legal fees. We are confident that the courts will agree with us if we can afford to continue the struggle, all the way up to the Supreme Court of KY if necessary. However the attorney fees are such that we may have to sell the timber farm to cover the legal expenses. Can you help us save our family farm?
If you would like more explanation of forest land tax issue, please go to these links for some excellent articles written on the subject:http://kwoa.net/newsletters/Fall2012-special.pdf http://kwoa.net/newsletters/2013%20KWOA%20Tax%20Newsletter.pdf