Some uses of the property (residential or agricultural use) are prohibited by the SFIA program for enrolled acres and subject to penalties.
If your county assessor changes your land classification to one prohibited by SFIA, your land will remain under the covenant, but you may be charged the following penalties:
30% of the estimated market value of the changed portion of the property.
A payback amount, plus interest, equal to the SFIA payments you received for the number of years the land was in a covenant or for half the length of the covenant, whichever is less.
Can I enroll only part of my eligible acres?
Yes, as long as you enroll at least 20 contiguous acres. To enroll more acres in the future, you must have a new covenant of the same duration for the extra acres.
Do I need to have separate covenants for each parcel I enroll?
You may have one covenant for different parcels if both of the following are true:
Are in the same county (no matter how far apart the parcels are)
Have the same covenant length
Otherwise, you must have a separate covenant for the different tax parcels.
What if I have wetlands on my property?
Open water less than three acres can be included in the forest management plan and enrolled in SFIA. Larger acres must be excluded from the program.
Some marshes and other wetlands that cannot grow trees but have significant impact on forested land may be eligible for SFIA.
Wetlands exempt from property taxes are not eligible for SFIA.
What if I have delinquent taxes or debts?
If you have delinquent property tax, your land may be removed from the program. You have 60 days to pay the taxes and your property will be reinstated without penalty.
If you do not pay the taxes within 60 days, your land will be removed. The covenant will remain on the land for a minimum of the duration of the covenant. Additionally, you will be charged a payback amount, plus interest, equal to the SFIA payments you received for the number of years the land was in a covenant or for half the length of the covenant, whichever is less.
Other Taxes and Debts
State law may require us to apply your SFIA payments to other delinquent taxes or government debts.
Within one year after the death, the person who inherits the land must notify the Department of Revenue. They may elect to terminate enrollment or apply to enroll in the program to continue receiving payments.
What if I sell or transfer the land?
If you sell or transfer all or part of the land, the covenant remains in effect. You must notify the Department of Revenue in writing within 60 days after the property title is transferred.
The new owner must abide by the recorded covenant. The new owner must apply for the program in order to receive payment.
If I buy land that is in SFIA, do I have to enroll?
No, you are not required to enroll, but the property is still bound by the covenant.
To terminate the covenant, you must request termination from the program and wait for the covenant to be released before you can build on the property or change its use. If you do not abide by the covenant, you will be subject to the penalties.
To continue receiving payments for the covenant, you must:
Apply for a name change using the application form
Transfer a current forest management plan registered with the DNR into your name within two years
The buyer and seller must decide who will receive payments. This may be written into a purchase agreement.
You are bound to your covenant for at least the duration of the covenant. After completing half of the covenant duration, you may request termination by completing the SFIA Withdrawal Application.
The Department of Revenue will then send a confirmation letter with the date your land will be released. After receiving the withdrawal application, there is a waiting period of half the covenant duration before land is removed from the program.
During the waiting period, the covenant is still binding, and you will continue to receive payments. Once you have withdrawn, you cannot re-enroll in SFIA for at least three years.
Can I remove a portion of the land from the program?
Enrolled land is released by tax parcel only. If you have multiple parcels enrolled, you may withdraw individual parcels by themselves.
If you have questions about the SFIA program, applications, payments, or penalties, call 651-556-6088 or email proptax.SFIA@state.mn.us.