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MN Agricultural Property Tax Law

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THE “GREEN ACRES” PROGRAM

In 1967 the Minnesota Legislature created the Minnesota Agricultural Property Tax Law, most commonly known as the “Green Acres” Program. The law lowers taxable values on certain farmland that were experiencing escalating values due to potential development pressure. In 2008 the Minnesota Legislature made significant changes to the program. For the 2009 assessment only land that is classified as 2a productive land will qualify for Green Acres. Minnesota Statute 273.13, subdivision 23 defines class 2a property as productive agricultural land used for the production for sale of agricultural products. This means that the land must be actively tilled, pastured or mowed for hay in order to qualify as 2a productive agricultural land. Class 2b non-productive land will not be eligible for green acres. Examples of 2b land are woods, waste, wetlands, slough or un-used pasture. Simply having a fenced pasture is not enough to be considered class 2a productive land. To be classed as 2a, there must be evidence of production of an agricultural product for sale.

The property must:

  • Be the homestead of the owner, or the owner’s surviving spouse, child, or sibling or be farmed in conjunction with the homestead property; or
  • Have been in possession of the applicant, the applicant’s spouse, parent, or sibling (or any combination) for a period of at least seven years prior to application, or be farmed in conjunction with property within four townships or cities (or any combination) from property that has been in possession of the owner, the owner’s spouse, parent or sibling (or any combination) for a period of at least seven years prior to application; or
  • Be in the possession of a nursery or greenhouse or an entity owned by a proprietor, partnership, or corporation which also owns the nursery or greenhouse operations on the parcel or parcels; or
  • Be the homestead of a shareholder in a family farm corporation or authorized farm entity under Minnesota Statute 500.24; or
  • Be the homestead of a member/shareholder of a poultry entity other than a limited liability entity in which the majority of the members, partners, or shareholders are related and at least one of the members, partners, or shareholders either resides on the land or actively farms the land; or
  • Be the homestead of an individual who is part of a corporation that derives 80 percent or more of its gross receipts from the wholesale or retail sale of horticultural or nursery stock. 

 

All parcels being enrolled for the deferred tax must be under the same ownership.

How Green Acres works:
The assessor determines two values on Green Acres property:

 

  • The “estimated market value” based on sales of similar property taking into consideration all of the non-farm factors that influence its market value.
  • The “agricultural value” or “Green Acres value” based on sales of agricultural property in areas not affected by development pressures. 

 

Taxes are calculated on both market values, but paid on the lower, agricultural value each year. The difference between the tax calculated on agricultural market value and the actual market value is deferred until the property is sold or transferred or no longer qualifies for the Green Acres program.

The deferred tax (the difference between the agricultural tax and the tax based on the highest and best use) is a lien upon the property assessed to the same extent and for the same duration as other taxes imposed upon property in the state. The tax is annually extended by the county auditor and if and when payable shall be collected and distributed in the manner provided by law for the collection and distribution of other property taxes.

How we use information:
The County Assessor may share the information contained on the application and agricultural use verification form submitted with the County Auditor, County Attorney, Commissioner of Revenue or other federal, state or local taxing authorities to verify your eligibility for the Green Acres deferment. You do not have to give this information. However, refusal may disqualify you from consideration for Green Acres deferment.

How to apply:
Complete a Green Acre application form and also complete and attach an Agricultural Use Verification form for each parcel you wish to enroll. Forms are available on line or at the Todd County Assessor’s Office. Application forms must be filed with the County Assessor by May 1, 2009 in order to receive consideration for the following taxes payable year.

Penalties:
Making false statements on this application is against the law. Minnesota Statutes, Section 609.41 states that giving false information in order to avoid or reduce their tax obligations can result in a fine of up to $3000 and/or up to one year in prison.

Inquiries:
Todd County Assessor
221 First Avenue South, Suite 400
Long Prairie, MN 56347
(320) 732-4431
www.co.todd.mn.us

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