"Payments in Lieu of Taxes" (PILT) are Federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable Federal lands within their boundaries. The key 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 inability of local governments to collect property taxes on Federally-owned land can create a financial impact.

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. The payments are made annually for tax-exempt Federal lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (all agencies of the Interior Department), the U.S. Forest Service (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), and for Federal water projects and some military installations. PILT payments are one of the ways the Federal Government can fulfill its role of being a good neighbor to local communities. 

The Department of the Interior's (DOI) Office of the Secretary has administrative authority over the PILT program. In addition to other responsibilities, DOI 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, receipt sharing payments, and the amount of Federal land within an affected county. PILT payments are in addition to other Federal revenues (such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting) the Federal Government transfers to the states. The DOI has distributed more than $7.5 billion dollars in PILT payments to states (except Rhode Island), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands since these payments began in 1977. 

See the news release announcing the 2016 PILT payments, as well as a breakdown of PILT payments by state only or by state and county

For questions about the PILT program, please contact Dionna Kiernan, the PILT Program Manager, at (202) 513-7783.

Important News

  • 6/22/2016: PILT payments totaling $451.6 million were made to approximately 1,900 local governments. Please read the press release on the payments. For questions concerning your payment, please contact Dionna Kiernan, the PILT Program Manager, at (202) 513-7783.
  • 6/13/2016: The Department is scheduled to distribute over $450 million in PILT payments prior to the end of the month. This will bring the total amount of PILT payments issued to counties and local units of government to over $7.5 billion since the inception of the program.
  • 5/6/2016: The Department is preparing to make PILT payments prior to July 1, 2016. To ensure you receive your payment on time, please be sure to log in to your locality's System of Award Management (SAM) account to confirm the most up to date banking information. If there is a change to the address at which you would like to receive your notification letter, please contact the PILT program manager at (202) 513-7783 or at contact us.
  • 4/8/2016: All prior year payment and acreage submissions have been received. The Department is currently working to enter and validate data in order to calculate 2016 PILT payments. Payments are expected to be issued prior to June 30, 2016. 
  • 2/9/2016: The President's Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Submission to Congress requested a one-year extension of the PILT program as mandatory funding at an estimate of $480 million. The extension would fund PILT payments in FY 2017.
  • 1/6/2016: The Department of Interior has initiated the FY 2016 PILT program. The request for prior year payment data and acreage totals have been sent to state, agency, and DOI bureau points of contact. All submissions are due by January 29, 2016. If you have not received the data call request or have questions, please contact the PILT program manager at (202) 513-7783 or via e-mail at contact us.
  • 12/23/2015: Legislation signed by the President on December 18, 2015, provides $452 million for the 2016 Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. Specific language pertaining to PILT can be found under the Office of the Secretary, Departmental Operations section of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (P.L.114-113).