Use If-Then Tables/PEN/NPR
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WRITING USER-FRIENDLY DOCUMENTS

[LETTER BUTTON]"Use Lots of Informative Headings In Your Letters"

[checkmark]If-then tables are an ideal way to make complex provisions readily understandable.

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.


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§ 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 this section.

(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.


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§ 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 usthe percentage requested by the tribe.
an authorized tribal representative requests and we approve a decrease in the deductionthe percentage requested, with a one percent minimum.
an authorized tribal representative requests and we approve a waiver of the deductionwaived.
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?


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§ 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
$10,000
over $250,000 three percent of the stumpage value
$12,500


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.


[checkmark] Put complex provisions into tables to save words and make relationships clearer.

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