PILT program compensates communities for tax-exempt federal lands
WASHINGTON — Today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced more than 1,900 local governments around the country will receive $529.3 million in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding for 2021. Since local governments cannot tax federal lands, annual PILT payments help to defray costs associated with maintaining important community services.
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. Additionally, PILT payments cover federal lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission. These payments are calculated based on the number of acres of federal land within each county or jurisdiction, and the population of that county or jurisdiction.
“This year’s distribution of $529.3 million to more than 1,900 counties will help local governments carry out vital services, such as firefighting and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations,” said Secretary Haaland. “Our mission relies on partnerships with U.S. states and territories. These disbursements are a great example of our commitment to be a good neighbor to the communities we serve.”
Since PILT payments began in 1977, the Department has distributed more than $10.2 billion to states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Department collects more than $10.3 billion in revenue annually from commercial activities on public lands, such as oil and gas leasing, livestock grazing, and timber harvesting. A portion of these revenues is shared with states and counties. The balance is deposited in the U.S. Treasury, which in turn pays for a broad array of federal activities, including PILT funding.
Individual county payments may vary from year to year as a result of changes in acreage data, which is updated annually by the federal agency administering the land; prior-year federal revenue-sharing payments reported annually by the governor of each state; inflationary adjustments using the Consumer Price Index; and population data, which is updated using information from the U.S. Census Bureau.
A full list of funding by state and county is available on the Department of the Interior's Payments in Lieu of Taxes page.