Remember state forests at tax time



The South Carolina Forestry Commission is encouraging residents to make a charitable contribution to the S.C. State Forests Fund on their tax returns. Taxpayers have the opportunity to support the five state forests - Manchester, Poe Creek, Harbison, Sand Hills and Wee Tee - by making a check-off contribution on their state tax returns using Form I-330. State forests pay 25 percent of their gross proceeds from the sale of timber, pine straw, rentals and other fees to the counties that contain them, according to a news release from the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

Not only do the state forests support themselves, but they also provide funding to school systems in the counties that host them, giving more than $729,000 to school districts in 10 counties last year alone.

South Carolina's state forest system receives no state funding and relies solely on timber receipts, pine straw sales and recreational permit revenue for its operating funds.

"We're completely self-supporting, so any money we receive from the check-off program goes directly back into these forests and facilities," said Mike Shealy, SCFC state lands manager.

The State Forests Fund check-off program has raised more than $94,000 in the seven years since its inception with all of the money used to make improvements and repairs that directly benefit visitors and enhance their experience on state forest lands. Recent enhancements include a new rifle range, target frames, Firewise demonstration area, fishing pier, portable bathrooms, bike trails and solar panels.

To give to the S.C. Forests Fund:

- Enter the amount of your donation on Line 28 of your individual income tax form, S.C. Form 1040.

- Then enter the amount of your donation on Line 15 of S.C. Tax Form I-330, then again on Line 17.

- Attach S.C. Tax Form I-330 to your tax filing or give it to your professional tax preparer.