When purchasing land, it is crucial to conduct thorough research regarding its current status, particularly if it benefits from an agricultural land valuation or tax exemption. Another step that is essential is buyers need to be aware of additional factors such as oil and gas leases, mineral rights, surface rights, and conservation easements when purchasing land. These considerations can have a significant impact on land use and ownership.
An agricultural land valuation allows property taxes to be calculated based on the land's agricultural productivity (crops, livestock, qualified wildlife, or timer) rather than its market value. If you acquire a property with an ag valuation, you must personally apply to maintain that valuation by contacting the tax appraisal district. The valuation does not automatically transfer to the new owner. Failure to apply for the valuation and maintain the agricultural use can result in future issues. Not maintaining the the agricultural use after a year or two, they may bill you for rollback taxes.
It's also important to distinguish between an agricultural and a wildlife valuation. A wildlife valuation can be obtained for various purposes, such as bird watching or hunting ranches. It involves maintaining and enhancing the land's habitat for wildlife in some form or fashion. A yearly wildlife plan must be submitted and approved by the appraisal district. Applying for a wildlife valuation requires some effort but is not overly complicated.
To determine the specific qualifications for agricultural or wildlife valuation, it's advisable to spend time consulting with the local appraisal district in the county where you're purchasing the land. The criteria for these valuations can vary from county to county.
As a general guideline, a minimum of 10 acres is typically required for an agricultural valuation, but this can vary depending on the county.
The overreaching principle is that the land must have been exclusively devoted to or continuously developed for agricultural purposes during the past five years.
It's crucial to conduct due diligence and consult with local authorities to ensure you understand and meet the requirements for maintaining an agricultural or wildlife valuation on the land you intend to purchase.