Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) are Federal payments to local governments to help offset losses in property taxes due to the existence of nontaxable Federal lands within their boundaries. The original law is Public Law 94-565, dated October 20, 1976. This law was rewritten and amended by Public Law 97-258 on September 13,1982, and codified at Chapter 69, Title 31 of the United States Code. The law recognizes the financial impact of the inability of local governments to collect property taxes on federally owned land.
PILT payments help local governments carry out such vital services as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations. PILT payments are made annually for tax-exempt Federal lands administered by Department of the Interior agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation. In addition, PILT payments cover Federal lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission. PILT payments are one of the ways the Federal Government can fulfill its role of being a good neighbor to local communities.
Interior’s Office of the Secretary has administrative authority over the PILT program. In addition to other responsibilities, the Department calculates payments according to the formulas established by law and distributes the available funds. Applicable DOI regulations pertaining to the PILT program were published as a final rule in the Federal Register on December 7, 2004.
The formula used to compute the payments is contained in the PILT Act and is based on population, revenue-sharing payments, and the amount of Federal land within an affected county. PILT payments are made in addition to other Federal payments to States, such as those for oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting. Since these payments began in 1977, the Department has distributed nearly $10.8 billion in PILT payments to 49 States (all but Rhode Island), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.
For questions about the PILT program, please contact Dionna Kiernan, PILT Program Manager, at 202–513–7783 or DOI_PILT@ios.doi.gov.