Applications for Farmland Assessment DUE AUGUST 1st

The New Jersey Farmland Assessment Act of 1964 (N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.2) (“Farmland Assessment Act”) permits farmland and woodland of not less than five acres in area that is actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use to be assessed at its productivity value, rather than the fair market value.  

The practical effect of a farmland assessment is that qualifying property owners will pay significantly less in property taxes versus the property taxes that would be levied based on the fair market value of the property. Far too often a seemingly compliant farmland property does not qualify for a Farmland Assessment because the owner did not adhere to the stringent filing and qualification criteria necessary to qualify.  Among the many criteria is a requirement that the land must be actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural uses for at least two years prior to the tax year in which the assessment is sought. Also, property owners must file annually for Farmland Assessment by completing a Form FA-1 with the municipal tax assessor prior to the August 1st deadline.  Note that an approved Farmland Assessment does not automatically renew from year to year but requires the property owner to file every year for the Assessment

Interestingly, the property owner seeking the assessment need not be the actual farmer or cultivator of the land. The Farmland Assessment Act permits an owner to rent the qualifying farmland to a farmer to cultivate agriculture and horticulture consistent with the Farmland Assessment Act. However, the use of the land for agriculture or horticultural purposes must not be haphazard even if it produces enough income to satisfy the gross sales requirement of the Farmland Assessment Act. 


The New Jersey Department of Agriculture publishes an informational guide to Farmland Assessments. See
http://www.state.nj.us/agriculture/
FarmlandAssessmentGuide.pdf
or call the Department of Agriculture at (609) 984-2503. 
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