Faces of the Forest Service

Meet Linda Wang

Office of Communication
April 3rd, 2017 at 1:15PM

A photo of Linda Wand at the Grand Canyon
At the Grand Canyon. Linda enjoys time in the great outdoors. (Wang family photos.)

Its tax season, and we all know what that means—especially Linda Wang. This is because, as the U.S. Forest Service’s only tax expert, Linda works in the agency’s State and Private Forestry area helping private forest landowners understand the complexity of Federal Tax code as it applies to privately-owned forested lands. In fact, the Forest Service’s Timber Tax website is one of the top destinations for online visitors.

Linda sets high standards for herself, and that’s a very good thing since her favorite part of the job is helping people with their tax questions. There are more than 10 million private forest landowners in the country, and they have consistently rated tax implications as one of their top concerns.

As a tax expert, what do you do in the Forest Service and what is your favorite part of your job?

My work is immensely rewarding when I see that I am able to help with national policy-making; when I deliver seminars to forest landowners at packed auditorium; when hundreds of thousands of people each year visit the timber tax website; and when I authored a publication that received rave reviews and was widely circulated nationwide. I realize that what I do has a remarkable impact and is very beneficial to the public.

What led you to the Forest Service and when did you start working here?

When I was a young student, I was very ambitious. I was interested in many disciplines, including business, taxation, economics, and forestry, plus the Certified Public Accountant credential or CPA. I have a Ph.D. in Forest Economics from University of Washington at Seattle. I learned about the Forest Service by reading its economic studies, and I was intrigued. I was honored to join the agency in 2006 after working at Texas Forest Service for eight years. 

What is a memorable story from your Forest Service career?

It occurred in the early morning hours one day when I was getting ready to host a tax workshop for forest landowners. A man in his senior years who came to the workshop early helped me with my computer bag. He said, “Linda, the Forest Service is one of those rare agencies that still directly serves people.” I was very moved by the compliment.

What do you like to do for fun on your free time?

Ah, read tax laws at the beach… I enjoy learning! Reading, writing, and physical exercise, including nature walks while listening to podcasts, are also fun.

What is your highest personal and professional achievement?

My highest achievement is when I receive sincere appreciation from the people I serve. My national timber tax publications and participation on Congressional committees also make me proud. It gives me tremendous satisfaction that my work has become a highly trusted source of help. I believe my highest achievements are yet to come as I continue to improve and contribute.

A photo of Linda Wang enjoying a tour of Washington, D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms
Linda Wang enjoying a tour of Washington, D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms on the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial. (Wang family photos.)

How would you like the public to perceive the work we do at the Forest Service?

I’d like the public to perceive the Forest Service as the premiere leader in protecting land and serving people. The fine professional work of Forest Service employees in many areas sets the gold standard. I believe we are primarily in the service business, and it is important to be able to work with people from all walks of life with many differing objectives and goals.

What are your future career goals?

I’m motivated by professional excellence and helping people. I aspire to continually improve my skills and take on challenging assignments, to make a difference in people’s lives, and to rise to the next level.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to serve their country as a Forest Service employee?

Federal service is a high calling, so set high standards. Whether you are a visitor information specialist in a community or a senior executive testifying before a Congressional committee, you are a leader representing the agency, serving the country. I learned that public speaking skills and the ability to work with people are very important. Put a priority on connecting with people, and strive to deliver outstanding service.