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I realize this is an area specific thing, but thought I'd throw it out there to see if others have had some experience with having some land classified as "open spaces", "ag land", "family farm" etc for reduced tax rates?

We have a 4.5 acre hay field that some family members use the hay off of, and the rest is sold off the field if there is any left. It has been classified as ag land in "open spaces" for the last 7 years and was connected with a previous "family farm" situation. This set up works fine for us while decide what if anything to do with this parcel. County said there were some missunderstandings on their part when all this was set up and now it needs to be rectified.

Received a letter from the friendly county people saying that they are going to take us out of open space unless we can produce $1500 in income each year, 3 out of 5 years from this specific parcel. Have to provide receipts, report on taxes and all that fun stuff.

Been hearing all kinds of "ways" to accomplish this. Buy a cow, then turn around and sell it. There is your income. No requirement to be profitable, just show $1500 of income. We could of course sell the hay off the field each year, but again, now you are into multiple transactions, more book keeping etc. County says there will be a "fee" we have to pay for them to take it out of open spaces. Now there is a surprise...

Was wondering if anyone else out there has property in this type of situation? How do you manage it? In your situation, do you have to pay a bunch of back taxes based on current property value when/if you take your property out of open spaces or an ag exemption????

I'll need to call the county to get clarifiction on the issue but thought I'd throw it out here as well.

Thanks
 

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Take a look at this. Its the new state regs for WA, or at least a new publication on Open Space Taxation Act.

4.C in the pdf says "...is an integral part of the farming operations." If you need the hay, then it can stay, I believe.

Michael

P.S. It looks to me that "open space" is for lower taxes of the green space in cities. They are also covering some farm and timber land as well. I'm not in WA, nor a lawyer, so its only my opinion. :) Whats the difference between ag zoned taxes and open space?
 

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it sounds like the green belt program. there must be a certain amount of acreage. here at least, it must be 15 acres. i got in under the wire with 15.75. it reduces my taxes by about 1/3. i am supposed to have 1500 farm revenue within 5 years, which isn't really happenng. however, no one ever checks. i'd say if the land changed hands they might look into it to see if it is still eligilble, but that's a guess.
 
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