PREFERENTIAL ASSESSMENT


§ 137b.52. Duration of preferential assessment.

 (a)  General. Enrolled land shall remain under preferential assessment for as long as it continues to meet the minimum qualifications for preferential assessment or until removed from preferential assessment in accordance with the procedure in subsection (b). Land that is in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve shall remain under preferential assessment even if its use changes to either of the other two land use categories.

 Example: A landowner owns a 100-acre tract of enrolled land, consisting of 85 acres in agricultural use and 15 acres in forest reserve. If the landowner later amends his application to one in which 60 acres are in agricultural use, 30 acres are in agricultural reserve and 10 acres are in forest reserve, the entire 100-acre tract continues to receive preferential assessment (although different use values and land use subcategories may apply in recalculating the preferential assessment).

 (b)  Removal of land from preferential assessment.

   (1)  A landowner receiving preferential assessment under the act may remove land from preferential assessment if:

     (i)   The landowner provides the county assessor written notice of this removal by June 1 of the year immediately preceding the tax year for which the removal is sought.

     (ii)   The entire tract or tracts enrolled on a single application for preferential assessment is removed from preferential assessment.

     (iii)   The landowner pays rollback taxes on the entire tract or tracts as provided for in section 5.1 of the act (72 P. S. §  5490.5a).

   (2)  Land removed from preferential assessment under this subsection or under section 8.1 of the act (72 P. S. §  5490.8a) is not eligible to be subsequently re-enrolled in preferential assessment by the same landowner.

   (3)  Nothing in this subsection or section 8.1 of the act prohibits a landowner whose land was terminated from preferential assessment under authority other than this subsection or section 8.1 of the act from re-enrolling the land in preferential assessment.

 (c)  Split-offs, separations, transfers and other events. Split-offs that meet the size, use and aggregate acreage requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act (72 P. S. §  5490.6(a.1)(1)(i)), separations and transfers under the act or this chapter will not result in termination of preferential assessment on the land which is retained by the landowner and which continues to meet the requirements of section 3 of the act (72 P. S. §  5490.3). In addition, the following events will not result in termination of preferential assessment on that portion of enrolled land which continues to meet the requirements of section 3 of the act:

   (1)  The lease of a portion of the enrolled land to be used for a wireless or cellular communication tower in accordance with section 6(b.1) of the act (72 P. S. §  5490.6(b.1)) and §  137b.73 (relating to wireless or cellular telecommunications facilities).

   (2)  The change of use of a portion of the enrolled land to another land use category (agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve).

   (3)  Condemnation of a portion of the land.

   (4)  The sale or donation of a portion of the enrolled land to any of the entities described in section 8(b)(1)—(7) of the act (72 P. S. §  5490.8(b)(1)—(7)), for the purposes described in that section, and §  137b.74 (relating to option to accept or forgive roll-back taxes in certain instances).

   (5)  The use of up to 2 acres of the enrolled land for direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products or for a rural enterprise incidental to the operational unit, in accordance with section 8(d) of the act and §  137b.72 (relating to direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products and activities; rural enterprises incidental to the operational unit).

   (6)  The conveyance of a portion of the enrolled land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a cemetery, in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and §  137b.75 (relating to conveyance of enrolled land for use as a cemetery).

   (7)  The conveyance of a portion of the enrolled land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a trail, in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and §  137b.76 (relating to conveyance of enrolled land or conveyance of an easement or right-of-way across enrolled land for use as a trail).

   (8)  The distribution, upon the death of the owner of the enrolled land, of the enrolled land among the beneficiaries designated as Class A for inheritance tax purposes, in accordance with section 6(d) of the act and §  137b.71 (relating to death of an owner of enrolled land).

 (d)  Payment of roll-back taxes does not affect preferential assessment of remaining land. The payment of roll-back taxes and interest under the act and this chapter may not result in termination of preferential assessment on the remainder of the land covered by preferential assessment. The landowner may terminate preferential assessment on enrolled land subject to roll-back taxes by submitting written notice under section 3(d) of the act (72 P. S. §  5490.3(d)).

  Example 1: A landowner owns a 100-acre tract of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. The landowner splits off a tract of no more than 2 acres and that 2-acre tract is used for a residential dwelling as described in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act and meets the other criteria in that paragraph. Although the 2-acre tract is no longer entitled to receive preferential assessment, the 98-acre tract shall continue to receive preferential assessment. Also, roll-back taxes and interest would be due with respect to the 2-acre tract.

  Example 2: Landowner A owns a 100-acre tract of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. Landowner A splits off a 2-acre tract and sells it to Landowner B, with the understanding that Landowner B will use the land for a residential dwelling permitted under section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act. Roll-back taxes and interest are due with respect to the 2-acre tract. Landowner B does not erect the permitted residential dwelling, but converts the 2-acre tract to commercial use. Landowner B owes roll-back taxes and interest with respect to the entire 100-acre tract (under section 6(a.1) of the act). Landowner A has no liability for any of the roll-back taxes and interest which were triggered and are owed by Landowner B as a result of the conversion of the 2-acre tract to commercial use. If the 98-acre tract owned by Landowner A continues in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, and continues to meet the requirements of section 3 of the act, it shall continue to receive preferential assessment.

  Example 3: Landowner A owns a 100-acre tract of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. Landowner A separates the land into a 50-acre tract and two 25-acre tracts, and sells a 25-acre tract to Landowner B. All 100 acres continue in agricultural use and continue to meet the requirements of section 3 of the act. No roll-back taxes are due. The entire 100-acre tract shall continue to receive preferential assessment.

  Example 4: Same facts as Example 3, except that within 7 years of the separation, Landowner B changes the use of his 25-acre tract to something other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. Landowner B shall pay roll-back taxes and interest with respect to the entire 100-acre tract (under section 6(a.2) of the act). If the 75 acres owned by Landowner A continues in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, and continues to meet the requirements of section 3 of the act, it shall continue to receive preferential assessment under the act.

  Example 5: Same facts as Example 3, except that more than 7 years after the date of separation, Landowner B changes the use of his 25-acre tract to something other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. Landowner B shall pay roll-back taxes on his 25-acre tract (under section 6(a.2) of the act). If the 75 acres owned by Landowner A continues in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, and continues to meet the requirements of section 3 of the act, it shall continue to receive preferential assessment under the act.

 (e)  Termination of preferential assessment by county. The maximum area with respect to which a county may terminate preferential assessment may not exceed:

   (1)  In the case of a split-off that is not a condemnation and that meets the maximum size, use and aggregate acreage requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act, the land so split-off.

   (2)  In the case of a split-off that is not a condemnation and that does not meet the maximum size, use and aggregate acreage requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act, all land enrolled under the application for preferential assessment.

   (3)  In the case when the owner of enrolled land changes the use of the land so that it no longer meets the requirements in section 3 of the act, all land enrolled under the application for preferential assessment.

   (4)  In the case when the owner of enrolled land leases a portion of that land for wireless or cellular telecommunications in accordance with section 6(b.1) of the act and §  137b.73 the land so leased.

   (5)  In the case of condemnation, the land so condemned.

   (6)  In the case when enrolled land is sold or donated to an entity described in section 8(b)(1)—(7) of the act in accordance with the requirements in those paragraphs, the land so sold or conveyed.

   (7)  In the case when not more than 2 acres of enrolled land is used for direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products and activities or for a rural enterprise incidental to the operational unit, in accordance with section 8(d) of the act and §  137b.72 the land so used for those purposes.

   (8)  In the case when a portion of enrolled land is conveyed to a nonprofit corporation for use as a cemetery in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and §  137b.75 the land so transferred.

   (9)  In the case when a portion of the enrolled land is conveyed to a nonprofit corporation for use as a trail in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and §  137b.76, the land so transferred.

   (10)  In the case when enrolled land is distributed upon the death of the landowner among the beneficiaries designated as Class A for inheritance tax purposes in accordance with section 6(d) of the act and §  137b.71 the portion that fails to meet the requirements for preferential assessment in section 3 of the act.

 (f)  Termination of preferential assessment on erroneously-enrolled land. If a county assessor erroneously allowed the enrollment of land that did not, at the time of enrollment, meet the minimum qualifications for preferential assessment, the county assessor shall, in accordance with section 3(d)(2) of the act provide the landowner written notice that preferential assessment is to be terminated. The notice shall state the reasons for termination and afford the landowner the opportunity for a hearing. If the use of the land was not an eligible use at the time it was enrolled, and preferential assessment is terminated for that reason, no roll-back taxes shall be due from the landowner as a result.

 (g)  Transfer does not trigger roll-back taxes. The transfer of all of the enrolled land described in a single application for preferential assessment to a new owner does not trigger the imposition of roll-back taxes.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  137b.52 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.52 amended June 26, 2015, effective June 27, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 3311. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (276921) to (276924).

Cross Reference

   This section cited in 7 Pa. Code §  137b.63 (relating to notice of change of application); 7 Pa. Code §  137b.108 (relating to adjusting records to reflect split-off, separation or transfer).



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