Don’t Lose Your Ag Use Exemption in Texas
Don’t miss your ag use exemption deadline! Throughout the year, we are all burdened with a variety of deadlines. The income tax filing deadline is one and the deadline for Little League sign-ups is another. And April 30th is one more — the deadline for filing your request for an ag use exemption on land you are using for agricultural use. (I know, not very exciting but this can impact your property tax substantially.) Call our office at 800-929-1725 for an appointment if you have questions.
The Ag Use Exemption – Provided for in the Texas Constitution
The Texas Constitution allows agricultural and open-space land to be taxed generally on its agricultural use, or productivity value instead of the selling price of the land in the open market (market value). To qualify for “ag use” (1-d) or open-space (1-d-1) valuation, the land must be in agricultural use. The requirements of the ag-use or open-space designations differ slightly. However, either designation achieves the taxpayer’s objective of valuing the land on a basis of productivity instead of market value, and therefore, a much lower property tax consequence.
The Requirements for an Ag Use Exemption Vary by County
Each county’s central appraisal district (CAD) adopts specific agricultural use guidelines regarding minimum livestock stocking density, acreage per tract and productivity yields. Land will not qualify simply because it is rural and has some connection with agriculture. Casual uses such as home vegetable gardens, hobby farming and ranching, or incidental cutting and baling of hay typically do not constitute a qualifying agriculture use and there would be no ag use exemption for such use.
It’s strongly recommended to contact your CAD office and visit with the appraisers and staff to confirm your county’s ag use exemption guidelines and deadlines.
Applications requesting ag-use or open-space designations and valuation should be filed between January 1 and before May 1. Applications received with a postmark date after April 30 but before the appraisal roll is certified are subject to a penalty for late filing. Applications received after the appraisal roll is certified cannot be considered and must be filed again the next year.
Finally, once your land is designated as “agricultural use” land, the designation should continue from one year to the next. However, if the land is transferred or the use appears to change, it’s always a good idea to contact your CAD office to confirm whether you need to reapply for the ag use exemption or not.