Private landowners are subject to numerous regulations at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. There are so many various agencies and issues that most people need a team of qualified professionals to help them with land transactions.
Last Thursday about 75 land professionals, foresters, and lenders met in Mobile, Alabama at our spring Realtors Land Institute meeting. We spent 6 hours hearing from various speakers on numerous topics about how government regulations affect everyday landowners. Today I reflected on all of that information and other regulatory hurdles I have encountered in land transactions.
Below is an incomplete grocery list, in no particular order, of various governmental regulatory bodies that could have a direct effect on you as private landowners.
- Internal Revenue Service
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
- Army Corps of Engineers
- Department of Transportation
- Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Department of Environmental Management (state)
- Advisory Council of Historic Preservation
- County Health Department
- County Tax Assessor, Appraiser, and Mapping Office
- US Fire Service
- Local fire departments
- Coast Guard (for river properties)
- United States Department of Agriculture
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Board of Engineers and Licensed Surveyors (state)
- US Forest Service
Each of the 18 agencies mentioned above has their own set of regulations and rules that pertain to private landowners. Even the best land professional will not be familiar with every possible issue that could arise during a land transaction, but an experienced land agent will be aware of common things to look for.
For instance, landowners who want to build a pond on their property could need permitting from their local NRCS office, the Army of Corps of Engineers, their state Department of Environmental Management and the EPA. If you don’t know that going in, then you open yourself up to all kinds of expensive liability issues and possible fines.
Selling land has all manner of possible tax implications. An experienced land professional can generally recommend a CPA who is familiar with the sale of timberland, ranch land, or other rural properties. This CPA can help you structure a deal so that you can maximize your profits and limit your tax liability.
The point of this article is that Big Government has all sorts of implications for landowners. When participating in a land transaction you should seek the help of a competent land professional who can help you navigate the murky waters of our regulatory bodies. You will eventually need the services of a good attorney and an accountant who is knowledgeable in land transactions. Hiring competent professionals can help you avoid unnecessary regulatory road blocks.
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