§ 137b.51. Assessment procedures.

 (a)  Use values and land use subcategories to be provided by the Department. The Department will determine the land use subcategories and provide county assessors use values for each land use subcategory. The Department will provide these land use subcategories and use values to each county assessor by May 1 of each year.

 (b)  Determining use values and land use subcategories.

   (1)  Agricultural use and agricultural reserve. In calculating appropriate county-specific agricultural use values and agricultural reserve use values, and land use subcategories, the Department will consult with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology of the College of Agricultural Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA-ERS, USDA-NRCS and other sources the Department deems appropriate. In determining county-specific agricultural use and agricultural reserve use values, the Department will use the income approach for asset valuation.

   (2)  Forest reserve. In calculating appropriate county-specific forest reserve use values and land use subcategories, the Department will consult with the Bureau of Forestry of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

 (c)  County assessor to determine total use value.

   (1)  For each application for preferential assessment, the county assessor shall establish a total use value for land in agricultural use, including farmstead land, and for land in agricultural reserve, by considering available evidence of the capability of the land for its particular use utilizing the USDA-NRCS Agricultural Land Capability Classification system and other information available from USDA-ERS, the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Statistics Service. Contributory value of farm buildings, as calculated in accordance with §  137b.54 (relating to calculating the contributory value of farm buildings), shall be used. With respect to agricultural reserve land, the total use value includes farmstead land if at least one of the qualifications for preferential assessment in subsection (g)(2) has been met.

   (2)  For each application for preferential assessment, the county assessor shall establish a total use value for land in forest reserve by considering available evidence of the capability of the land for its particular use. Contributory value of farm buildings, as calculated in accordance with §  137b.54 shall be used. The total use value includes farmstead land if at least one of the qualifications for preferential assessment in subsection (g)(3) has been met.

 (d)  Determining preferential assessment. The preferential assessment of land is determined by multiplying the number of acres in each land use subcategory by the use value for that particular land use subcategory, adding these products and multiplying the total by the county’s established predetermined ratio. The Department will establish land use subcategories as part of the procedure to establish use values.

 (e)  Option of county assessors to establish and use lower use values. A county assessor may establish use values for land use subcategories that are less than the use values established by the Department for those same land use subcategories. A county assessor may use these lower use values in determining preferential assessments under the act. Regardless of whether the county assessor applies use values established by the Department or lower use values established by the county assessor, the county assessor shall apply the use values uniformly when calculating or recalculating preferential assessments, and shall apply these use values to the same land use subcategories as established by the Department. Calculation and recalculation of preferential assessments shall be made in accordance with §  137b.53 (relating to calculation and recalculation of preferential assessment). A county assessor may not, under any circumstances, establish or apply use values that are higher than those use values established by the Department.

 (f)  Option of county assessors to select between county-established use values and use values provided by the Department. When a county assessor has established use values for land use subcategories, and the use values for some—but not all—of these land use subcategories are lower than those provided by the Department, the county assessor has the option to apply the lower use value with respect to each individual land use subcategory, without regard to whether it was provided by the Department or established by the county assessor.

 (g)  Valuation of farmstead land.

   (1)  Farmstead land on agricultural use land. Farmstead land that is located on land enrolled as agricultural use land shall be assessed at agricultural use value.

 Example: Landowner has a 100-acre contiguous property that is enrolled for preferential assessment. Some of this land is enrolled as agricultural use land and the remainder is enrolled as forest reserve land. The farmstead land is located on the agricultural use land. The farmstead land shall be assessed at agricultural use value.

   (2)  Farmstead land on agricultural reserve land. Farmstead land that is located on land enrolled as agricultural reserve land shall receive normal (fair market value) assessment, rather than assessment at agricultural use value, unless one of the following is true:

     (i)   The county commissioners have adopted an ordinance to include farmstead land in the total use value for land in agricultural reserve, as permitted in section 3(g)(1) of the act (72 P. S. §  5490.3).

     (ii)   A majority of the land in the application for preferential assessment applicable to that farmstead land is agricultural use land.

     (iii)   Noncontiguous tracts of land are included in the application for preferential assessment applicable to that farmstead land and a majority of the land on the contiguous tract where the farmstead land is located is enrolled as agricultural use land.

   (3)  Farmstead land on forest reserve land. Farmstead land that is located on land enrolled as forest reserve land shall receive normal (fair market value) assessment, rather than assessment at forest reserve use value, unless one of the following is true:

     (i)   The county commissioners have adopted an ordinance to include farmstead land in the total use value for land in forest reserve, as permitted in section 3(g)(2) of the act.

     (ii)   A majority of the land in the application for preferential assessment applicable to that farmstead land is agricultural use land.

     (iii)   Noncontiguous tracts of land are included in the application for preferential assessment applicable to that farmstead land and a majority of the land on the contiguous tract where the farmstead land is located is enrolled as agricultural use land.

   (4)  Examples.

 Example 1: Landowner has a 100-acre contiguous property that is enrolled for preferential assessment. Fifty-one acres (a majority of the land in the application for preferential assessment) are enrolled as agricultural use land. Forty-nine acres are enrolled as agricultural reserve land or forest reserve land, or a combination of the two. The farmstead land is located on the agricultural use land. The farmstead shall be assessed at agricultural use value.

 Example 2: Same facts as Example 1, except that the farmstead land is located on agricultural reserve land or forest reserve land. The farmstead shall be assessed at agricultural use value.

 Example 3: Landowner has a 100-acre contiguous property that is enrolled for preferential assessment. Fifty-one acres (a majority of the land in the application for preferential assessment) are enrolled as agricultural reserve land or forest reserve land, or a combination of the two. Forty-nine acres are enrolled as agricultural use land. The farmstead land is located on the agricultural use land. The farmstead shall be assessed at agricultural use value.

 Example 4: Same facts as Example 3, except that the farmstead land is located on agricultural reserve land or forest reserve land. The farmstead land may not receive preferential (agricultural use value) assessment.

 Example 5: Landowner has 100 acres enrolled for preferential assessment. The acreage consists of two noncontiguous parcels of 50 acres each. One 50-acre tract is enrolled as forest reserve land, agricultural use land, agricultural reserve land or a combination of the three. The other 50-acre tract contains farmstead land and consists of 26 acres of enrolled agricultural use land and 24 acres of enrolled agricultural reserve land, forest reserve land or a combination of the two. Since the majority of the land on the tract where the farmstead tract is located is enrolled as agricultural use, the farmstead shall be assessed at agricultural use value, regardless of whether it is located on the agricultural use land, agricultural reserve land or forest reserve land.

 Example 6: Same facts as Example 5, except the 50-acre tract that contains the farmstead land consists of 24 acres of enrolled agricultural use land and 26 acres of agricultural reserve land, forest reserve land or a combination of the two. If the farmstead land is located on that portion of the 50-acre tract that is enrolled as agricultural use land, the farmstead shall be assessed at agricultural use value. If the farmstead land is located on that portion of the 50-acre tract that is enrolled as agricultural reserve land or forest reserve land, the farmstead may not receive preferential (agricultural use value) assessment.

 Example 7: One of the six fact situations described in Examples 1—6 except that the county commissioners have adopted an ordinance to include farmstead land in the total use value for land in agricultural reserve or forest reserve in accordance with section 3(g)(1) of the act. The farmstead shall be assessed at agricultural use value.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  137b.51 amended under section 11 of the Pennsylvania Farmland and Forest Land Assessment Act of 1974 (72 P. S. §  5490.11).

Source

   The provisions of this §  137b.51 amended June 26, 2015, effective June 27, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 3311. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (276919) to (276921).

Cross References

   This section cited in 7 Pa. Code §  137b.15 (relating to inclusion of farmstead land).



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