Avalara Taxrates > Blog > Sales Tax News > South Dakota Takes on Pine Beetle Menace: Exempts Tree Removal - Avalara

South Dakota Takes on Pine Beetle Menace: Exempts Tree Removal


The South Dakota Department of Revenue is doing its part to battle pine beetles, the pest decimating trees throughout the West in the past few years.

Pine Beetles are native to the Western Regions of North America, reaching from Canada to Mexico. They are a tough, resilient insect, able to survive up to 11,000 feet above sea level. Incredibly devastating to certain species of pine tree, the pine beetle's adaptability and heartiness make it a tough pest to control. Some states are seeing rapid deforestation to large tracts of land, particularly those populated with  lodgepole pines, ponderosa pines, limber pines, Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and Colorado blue spruce.

The first serious outbreak of pine beetles in South Dakota occurred in 1997 in the Northern Hills. Since then, the beetles have destroyed extensive stretches of forest in the "Black Elk Wilderness, Harney Peak, and surrounding areas."

To counteract the insatiable insect, experts in forest health and management suggest thinning the forests, removing the beetles favored habitat: denser stands of trees.  As a way of encouraging tree removal,  the South Dakota Department of Revenue has exempted the "service of removing pine trees infested with mountain pine beetles" in certain areas of the country if the following conditions are met:

  • The tree must be a pine tree.
  • The pine tree must be infected with mountain pine beetles.
  • The pine tree must be being cut down.
  • The pine tree must be located in Custer County, Fall River County, Lawrence County, Meade County, or Pennington County.

Any additional services performed by tree services, including trimming trees near infested trees, are subject to South Dakota sales tax.

Preventative measures, such as spraying trees to protect them from pine beetle infestation, are also subject to sales tax.

Questions should be directed to the South Dakota Department of Revenue at www.state.sd.us/drr or 1-800-829-9188.


Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.