land classification change for property tax purposes...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by kuribo, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. kuribo

    kuribo Guest

    I own 80 acres of vacant, undeveloped land in southwestern Wisconsin that was formerly part of a farm. It was sold of as part of a larger parcel to a developer, who cut it into smaller pieces (my 80 acres is 10 time the size of the other parcels) and sold it off as recreational land. I plan to build a home there next year and live there permanently. I also plan to use the land for agricultural pursuits- commercial growing of mushrooms, berrys, herbs, hay, etc. My property taxes have doubled in the last few years, and I am hoping that my agricultural usage of the land will allow for reclassification as ag land, and a decrease in my property taxes. Has anyone here had any experience in getting land reclassified? Any suggestions, ideas, etc., on how to best accomplish this?

    Thanks to all and to all the happiest of holidays...
     
  2. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Each state has its own definitions of Ag land. Out here it must be 160 acres or more all in one piece and the owner must derive at least 50% of his yearly income from the land itself. You need to start with your local tax assessor's office for guidelines.
     

  3. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Kuribo,

    As Goat Lady said, go to your county tax assessors office and ask. The rules may vary by county as well as state.

    I can speak to this in Ohio because I have property in two different counties. In Ohio you must apply for CAUV (Current Agricultural Use Valuation) for each parcel between January 1st and March (Can't remember if it is beginning or end of March). You need to document what the land is being used for in the application. If the land wasn't previously under CAUV then you need to document the agricultural use over the previous 3 years. If you fail to renew the status the county can recoup the difference in taxes for the previous 3 years.

    In Carroll county you don't have to prove revenues (unless there is a question about use based on inspection) if you have more than 10 acres. Otherwise you must document $2,500 in agricultural revenues. The county auditors office has someone come out each June to check. I got hung up on the inspection because with all the rain we hadn't cut hay or gotten much of anything done on the property down there. They came out and reinspected in august and it wasn't an issue.

    In cuyahoga county the presumption is based on 2.5 acres (a lot more greehouse opeerations up this way).

    So, check with your local county auditor or tax assessor.

    Hope this helps.

    Mike
     
  4. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    Before you ask them get all the information you can from the county. They will fight you tooth and nail. I'm in Michigan and ours was agriclurtural when we purchased it then they changed it to residental even after all the paperwork was in. Taxes went from 550$ per year to 4500$ per. We finally told them "We'll see you in court and you will pay our bills for it". We finally won and our taxes are 750$ per year. Keep us informed of your progress.

    mikell
     
  5. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Kuribo, I think you have a problem......I did not read all of the info at the site I am going to post but Wisconsin seems to Not want to include property such as you described in their exemptions for agriculture use. I would try to get the property in a conservation program and see if I could qualify. Read this and you will understand what you are up against http://folio.legis.state.wi.us/cgi-...=1359557815&infobase=code.nfo&jump=ch. Tax 18
     
  6. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    I think one of the reasons that some Counties are aggressive about agricultural are the companies that by land which they really intend for subdivision (large lot residential) and which they are warehousing.

    Mike
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    The following is from the Wisconsin ruling on agriculture use


    18.02 Definitions. In this subchapter:
    (1) “Land devoted primarily to agricultural use” means land
    classified agricultural in 1995 that is not in a use that is incompat-ible
    with agricultural use on the assessment date. Swamp or waste
    or productive forest land located in villages and cities is not
    devoted primarily to agricultural use, and agricultural buildings
    and improvements and the land necessary for their location and
    convenience are not devoted primarily to agricultural use.
    Note: Under prior law, swamp or waste or productive forest land located in vil-lages
    and cities was classified agricultural because villages and cities were not per-mitted
    to classify land swamp or waste or productive forest land. Since 1995 Wis.
    Act 27 requires villages and cities to use the swamp or waste and productive forest
    land classifications, all such land located in villages or cities is to be reclassified
    swamp or waste or productive forest, according to the Wisconsin Property Assess-ment
    Manual.
     
  8. kuribo

    kuribo Guest


    Thanks for the input...I have read the above, but it doesn't exactly fit my situation. My land is not in a village or city, but in the township.

    According to what I have been able to find, according to the Wisconsin Revenue regulations, any activity that falls within the NAICS classification 111 and 112 (generally speaking, there are a few others that qualify) is considered agricultural for land use determination. The simplest thing one could do would be to simply fence the land and let the neighbor pasture some cows on it; unfortunately, the topography is too hilly, with exposed rock, to fence one border...I plan on a combination of activities (mushroom farming primarily, but there are 10 acres which would support hay, and other areas for apple trees, berries, and herbs). All of these activities qualify as agricultural. While no mention of size/scale or revenue requirements are made in either the state statutes or revenue codes, since this will be a commercial venture, I would assume that regardless of profit/loss amounts, the simple fact that the land is being used to support an agricultural pursuit should qualify me. It will be my full-time pursuit.

    Also, the Wisconsin government recently approved a new catagory of land, something called agricultural forest land. This is taxed at half its value, in order to give farmers further relief from property taxes. Requirements are that it is contiguous to current ag land, and owned by the same person.

    Wi legislature is actually trying to protect farm land, and support farmers through property tax relief, though it shifts the burden to everyone else.

    I am curious if any others have actually tried to get land reclassified for tax purposes...

    Thanks to all who have replied so far...
     
  9. Jane in southwest WI

    Jane in southwest WI Well-Known Member

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    Our land (147 acres) is assessed as ag land, it was that way when we bought it 5 years ago and the farmer we bought it from is still farming it (cropland and cows in the woods). Some is also in the managed forest law program.

    In our township the town zoning board votes on zoning changes. Usually around here it is land going from ag to residential, (though not many housing developments are popping up around here yet thank goodness). If you can convince your zoning board that you are farming full time, you may have a shot at getting them to change the classification, and then when the county tax assessor shows up you can show that you are using your land for farming.

    I am trying to resist going on a rant about property taxes - I'll save it for another time.
     
  10. kuribo

    kuribo Guest


    Actually, from what I understand, it isn't really the zoning that needs to be changed, but the land use classification for tax purposes. I am not sure there even is "zoning" out in the township-I don't even need a building permit to build my home there!

    I think the main hurdle is convincing the assessor that I am using the land for a full-time ag pursuit in accordance with the state statute 70.32, and in line with Chapter 18 of the tax code...

    Rant about property taxes? Mine have tripled in less than 5 years...I know how you feel...

    Thanks again...
     
  11. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Kuribo wrote:

    I am curious if any others have actually tried to get land reclassified for tax purposes...

    I'll be applying in a week or so (as soon after Jan 1 I can file) on a 21 parcel which is adjacent to our original parcel. The County Auditors office assured me there wouldn't be any problem. I won't benefit from the status until the following tax year.

    A couple things come to mind. Meet with the county folks you are dealing with face-to-face. After discussing our plans and what we are doing the folks at the Auditors office understood clearly that we are serious about our agricultural pursuits. We were also prepared to show them documentation such as our state registration for our apiaries. It also helps make it easier for them when they come out for the annual inspection.

    Mike