Riparian Forest Buffer Tax Credit Updated:03/2022

Wooded buffers along streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay are called riparian forests and help protect our water quality. Virginia landowners can receive a tax credit for preserving riparian forest buffers along waterways during a timber harvest operation.

  • Form 18.8 Riparian Buffer Tax Credit Application [Word format]
  • Form 18.9 Riparian Buffer Tax Credit S-Corporation/Partnership Landowner Information [Word format] - for use with mutiple landowners and S-corporation or Partnerships


The 2000 Virginia General Assembly enacted the Riparian Buffer Tax Credit to provide a nonrefundable tax credit to:

  • Individuals, S-Corporations, Limited Liability Corporations, Partnerships, Family Partnerships, or Grantor's Trusts are eligible (Estates and other types of Trusts are not eligible)
    • Own land on which timber is harvested, which abuts a waterway
    • Who forbears timber harvesting on certain portions of the land for 15 consecutive years

The amount of the credit is equal to 25% of the value of the timber retained as a buffer up to $17,500. The buffer must be at least 35 feet wide and no more than 300 feet and be intact for 15 years. The applicant must have a Stewardship Plan for the tract to qualify. A separate application must be completed for each tract.

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Contact Riparian Forest Buffer Tax Credit

Virginia Department of Forestry
900 Natural Resources Drive
Charlottesville, VA  22903
Phone: (434) 977-6555
Fax: (434) 296-2369

Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Virginia