Current Use/ Open Space Agriculture
The Assessor's Office is the granting authority with regard to administering open space agricultural lands under RCW 84.34. This allows the valuing of farm and agricultural land on the basis of value derived from 'the earnings or productive capacity of comparable lands from crops grown most typically in the area averaged over not less than 5 years, then capitalized at indicative rates'.
The Okanogan County Assessor's Office will not sign a notice of continuance on any transfer of property that is currently in the program until the Assessor's Office staff has had the opportunity to determine the property's qualifications for continuing such classification. Grantee will be required to supply any and all pertinent data requested by the Assessor's Office to continue eligibility.
Owners of land that may qualify for this classification have until December 31st of each year to apply. The application fee is $200. If the application is approved, an additional $204.50 is required, in a separate check, for the recording fee. If the application were approved, the land would be re-classified the following year, which would affect the property taxes the year after that. An example would be if the application was filed and approved in 2010, the assessment would be affected for 2011, taxes payable 2012.
Tax Liability: If for any reason the use of the land changes so that it no longer qualifies for the classification, the Assessor shall impose an additional tax equal to the difference between the tax paid on the current use value and the tax that would have been paid on that land had it not been so classified, payable for the 7 years past (if the land had been in that long), plus interest on the additional tax at the same rate as charged on delinquent property taxes. A penalty of 20 percent of this amount is applied to properties in the classification less than 10 years or whose owner has not filed a notice of withdrawal 2 years prior to the change in use.
Farm and Agricultural land is defined as either:
- Any parcel of land that is twenty or more acres or multiple parcels of land that are contiguous and total twenty or more acres:
- Devoted primarily to the production of livestock or agricultural commodities for commercial purposes,
- Enrolled in a cropland retirement program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture,
- Any parcel of land that is five acres or more but less that twenty acres devoted primarily to agricultural uses equivalent to:
- One hundred dollars ($100) or more per acre per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification made prior to January 1, 1993 or
- Applications made on or after January 1, 1993, two hundred dollars ($200) or more per acre per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification:
- Any parcel of land of less that five acres devoted primarily to agricultural uses which has produced a gross income of:
- One thousand dollars ($1,000) or more per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application made prior to January 1, 1993, or
- Application made on or after January 1, 1993, fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500) or more per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification.
- Farm and Agricultural land also includes:
- Incidental uses compatible with agricultural purposes provided such use does not exceed twenty percent of the classified land:
- Land on which appurtenances necessary for production, preparation, or sale of agricultural products exist in conjunction with the land producing such products;
- Any contiguous parcel one to five acres, that is an integral part of the farming operations.
- Land on which housing for employees and principal place of residence of the farm operation or owner is sited provided the use of the housing or residence is integral to the use of the classified land for agricultural purposes and provided that the classified parcel is twenty or more acres.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING THIS PROGRAM, CONTACT OUR OFFICE.
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