To encourage the preservation and beneficial use of real estate in order to assure a readily available source of agricultural, horticultural, and forest products and to provide for open-space preservation.
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The use value assessment program is a law that permits localities to adopt a program of special assessments for agricultural, horticultural, forest and open-space use. Qualifying properties are assessed and taxed based on the "use" value assessment.
To qualify for use value assessment, the parcel must meet the basic criteria and uniform standards as prescribed by the Commissioner of Agricultural and Consumer Services (agricultural and horticultural lands), the State Forester (forest lands), the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (open space lands). The application process requires the property owner to certify the income earned from the "use" of the property. Qualifying uses under the agricultural and horticultural classification include:
The production for sale of:
Qualifying uses include livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules, or goats, including the breeding and grazing of any or all such animals.
If it is the desire of the new owner, and the property continues to meet the qualifications for a use value assessment, the parcel can remain in the program.
Roll back taxes will be assessed on the subdivided portion of the property; example, subdividing twelve acres into four-three acre lots.
Parcels that are not in a bona fide agricultural, horticultural, forest or open space use are not eligible for the use value assessment program. The property owner is required to report any change in the use of the property to the Real Estate Assessor within sixty days of such change. At which time the property will be removed from the use value assessment program.