If-then tables are an ideal way to make complex provisions
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a table is worth at least 750. By laying out the
material visually, tables help your reader see relationships in a way that dense text
never can. No reader would dispute that the rewritten regulation below is far clearer
that the dense text it replaces.
|§ 163.25 Forest management deductions.
(a) Pursuant to the provisions of 25 USC 413 and 25 USC 3105, a forest management
deduction shall be withheld from the gross proceeds of sales of Indian forest land as described in
(b) Gross proceeds shall mean the value in money or money's worth of consideration
furnished by the purchaser of forest products purchased under a contract, permit, or other
document for the sale of forest products.
(c) Forest management deductions shall not be withheld where the total consideration
furnished under a document for the sale of forest products is less than $5,001.
(d) Except as provided in § 163.25 (e) of this part, the amount of the forest deduction
shall not exceed the lesser amount of ten percent (10%) of the gross proceeds or, the actual
percentage in effect on November 28, 1990.
(e) The Secretary may increase the forest management deduction percentage for Indian
forest land upon receipt of a written request from a tribe supported by a written resolution
executed by the authorized tribal representatives. At the request of the authorized tribal
representatives and at the discretion of the Secretary the forest management deduction
percentage may be decreased to not less than one percent (1%) or the requirement for collection
may be waived.
|§ 163.25 What forest management deductions will BIA withhold?
We will withhold a forest management deduction if the contract for the sale of forest
products has a value of over $5,000. The deduction will be a percentage of the gross proceeds
(i.e., the price we get from the buyer). We will determine the amount of the deduction in
accordance with the following table.
|If . . .||then the percentage of the deduction is . . .|
|a tribe requests an increase in the deduction
through a tribal resolution and written request to us||the percentage
requested by the tribe.||an authorized tribal representative requests and we approve a decrease in the deduction||the percentage
requested, with a one percent minimum.
||an authorized tribal representative requests and we approve a waiver of the deduction||waived.
||none of the above conditions apply
||the percentage in effect on November 28,1990, or 10 percent, whichever is less.|
You can also use variations on the if-then table to clarify other types of complicated
provisions. Which of the following would you rather read?
|§ 163.17 Deposit with bid.
(a) A deposit shall be made with each proposal for the purchase of Indian forest
products. Such deposits shall be at least:
(1) Ten (10) percent if the appraised stumpage value is less than $100,000 and in nay
event not less than $1,000 or full value whichever is less;
(2) Five (5) percent if the appraised stumpage value is $100,000 to $250,000 but in any
event not less than $10,000; and
(c) Three (3) percent if the appraised stumpage value exceeds $250,000 but in any
event not less than $12,500.
§ 163.17 What deposit must I make with my bid?
You must include with your proposal to buy Indian forest products a deposit that meets
the conditions in the following table.
|If the appraised stumpage value is . . .||you
must deposit . . .||and the minimum amount of the deposit is . . .|
|less than $100,000
||ten percent of the stumpage value
||$1,000||between $100,000 and $250,000
||five percent of the stumpage value
||three percent of the stumpage value
If-then tables are a powerful tool for simplifying complicated material. By laying out complex provisions visually,
you help the reader to see relationships in a way that dense text never could. Tables almost always use many fewer words that a straight textual explanation would use.
Put complex provisions into tables to save words and make relationships clearer.