PDA

View Full Version : Texas Ag Exemption



Risky Beesness
10-26-2011, 09:08 PM
Today I received my 2011 property tax bill and about fell out of my chair. All I know is I have made about 30% less income over the last 3 years, yet my property taxes have gone up about 40% over the same period. I have began an investigation to see if it is possible to declare my property or a portion thereof, as agricultural, using honeybees. I was a little discouraged at first, finding a few court cases in other states where the ruling was negative. Then, I ran across a Texas apiary inspector who told me the story of his duaghter who had successfully obtained an ag exemption on her 10 ac with as few as 15 hives. He cited the specific publication, 2011 Texas Agriculture Statistics, and the section which clearly list honeybees as a "qualified alternative livestock".

My question is, who do i need to contact to begin the process and how many hives do you think would be necessary to show full utilization of my 18 ac? Of the 18 ac, about 12 of them are covered with native wildflowers in a good year. Any thoughts or experience in dealing with this?

lazy shooter
10-26-2011, 09:54 PM
I don't know if you can obtain ag exemption with honey bees, but I am keeping diligent books for my CPA. I would think that bees would allow for an exemption. I use cattle to keep my exemption, and the tax gal likes that because the cattle utilize all of my land. The bees would also utilize all of your property.

Some of my small acreage friends use a wild life exemption. That should work for you, if the bees won't. Good luck.

EastSideBuzz
10-26-2011, 10:15 PM
You can in WA. Bee's are livestock. There are people that have had their taxes reduced with the Agg designation. :)

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=84.34.020

(b)(i) Any parcel of land that is five acres or more but less than twenty acres devoted primarily to agricultural uses, which has produced a gross income from agricultural uses equivalent to, as of January 1, 1993:

(A) One hundred dollars or more per acre per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification under this chapter for all parcels of land that are classified under this subsection or all parcels of land for which an application for classification under this subsection is made with the granting authority prior to January 1, 1993; and

(B) On or after January 1, 1993, two hundred dollars or more per acre per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification under this chapter;

(ii) For the purposes of (b)(i) of this subsection, "gross income from agricultural uses" includes, but is not limited to, the wholesale value of agricultural products donated to nonprofit food banks or feeding programs;

(c) Any parcel of land of less than five acres devoted primarily to agricultural uses which has produced a gross income as of January 1, 1993, of:

(i) One thousand dollars or more per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification under this chapter for all parcels of land that are classified under this subsection or all parcels of land for which an application for classification under this subsection is made with the granting authority prior to January 1, 1993; and

swatkins
10-26-2011, 10:49 PM
The first place to look is with your County Tax Collector.

In Grimes County they only allow three classes for ag exemption.. Hay Production, Cattle Production and Wildlife Protection.. We have 25 acres and lease out 24 acres for cattle. Our friends across the road lease their 60 acres for hay.

It's worth a call :)

ShadowHawk
10-27-2011, 01:00 AM
And in Upshur county (Texas) - my father has 7 of his 8 acres exempt for his goats. He had to fill out paperwork with the county tax department (I believe).

Fusion_power
10-27-2011, 01:42 AM
Other states have different alternatives. Here in Alabama, I have my 130 acres designated to grow trees. It was classed as prime agricultural land but when I planted it with black walnut trees, they allowed me to downgrade it and cut my tax bill in half. It works for me and in another 40 years I'll have a boat load of black walnut lumber to sell.

DarJones

Michael Palmer
10-27-2011, 06:02 AM
You can in Vermont. If you make more then $2500 on your land from agriculture you get a considerable tax break. I was able to get an agricultural status with one apiary of 20 colonies. I can't include all of our 18 acres because the house and 2 acres is declared as our homestead. So, we received a discount on 16 acres, and the "farm" buildings are not taxed.

Risky Beesness
10-27-2011, 06:41 AM
Some of my small acreage friends use a wild life exemption. That should work for you, if the bees won't. Good luck.

When that legislation passed, I was all over it. I was already meeting all the criteria except the first qualification, which was that it had to have already been ag exempt.


It was classed as prime agricultural land but when I planted it with black walnut trees, they allowed me to downgrade it and cut my tax bill in half. It works for me and in another 40 years I'll have a boat load of black walnut lumber to sell.

I started out by planting pecan trees but they don't do very well in my soil, Too much clay.


You can in Vermont. If you make more then $2500 on your land from agriculture you get a considerable tax break. I was able to get an agricultural status with one apiary of 20 colonies. I can't include all of our 18 acres because the house and 2 acres is declared as our homestead. So, we received a discount on 16 acres, and the "farm" buildings are not taxed.

That's precisely what i will be seeking to do on my 18 ac. Is 20 an arbitrary number of hives or is that the magic number? Also, is the $2500 gross or net?

lazy shooter
10-27-2011, 07:46 AM
Risky:

Go to the local County Tax assessor and ask about live stock. One of my now deceased pals in Llano, County kept a few pigmy donkeys. He sold them for pet and made a wee bit of profit. Llano, County allowed that in the early 90's. The donkeys were easy to keep and friendly, and if anyone came around the place the jack would bray.

My tax assessor says that only the acreage used for the ag operation can be exempt. Like the poster from Grimes, County, all of my land is exempt except for one acre that contains my barn with living quarters inside.

You live in the high dollar district, and I can only imagine how much your taxes would be on 18 acres. We have a home on three acres in Parker, County near Weatherford, and like you, our property values are decreasing and our property taxes are increasing.

Michael Palmer
10-27-2011, 09:06 AM
That's precisely what i will be seeking to do on my 18 ac. Is 20 an arbitrary number of hives or is that the magic number? Also, is the $2500 gross or net?

The only important number is the $2500...I think that's gross.

Risky Beesness
10-27-2011, 03:35 PM
My intentions are to expand this coming year to 15 or so hives and see what happens. I hope it will be a better year. Maybe with a good crop of wildflowers might be the time to have the county tax assessor out for a visit.

beekeeper_sd
10-27-2011, 08:26 PM
We were told we would have to have used the property in TX as ag property, including bees, for 5 years before we can claim ag exemption.

Kingfisher Apiaries
10-27-2011, 10:00 PM
And in Upshur county (Texas) - my father has 7 of his 8 acres exempt for his goats. He had to fill out paperwork with the county tax department (I believe).


We were told we would have to have used the property in TX as ag property, including bees, for 5 years before we can claim ag exemption.
The first place to start is at the county tax assessors office. Be prepared to spend a couple of hrs in there. If they don't work with you send your wife. LOL. We've got a story on that one.
Yes anything ag you have to wait 5 years. We ended up planting timber because that is effective immediately.
mike

EastSideBuzz
10-28-2011, 02:13 AM
We were told we would have to have used the property in TX as ag property, including bees, for 5 years before we can claim ag exemption.

WA is 3-5 and you must make 200 per acre for 3 out of 5 years then you can do it. And they come out and inspect that you have hives.

lazy shooter
10-28-2011, 08:33 AM
I have always bought land that already had ag exemption in place. It's actually figured into the price of raw land. Land is cheaper in Texas if it is not ag exempt. When property changes ownership, the new owner has to reapply for the ag exemption. I have done that five times, and the county tax assessor was always eager to help. Ag exemption is worth approximately 20,000 bucks to me on an annual basis so I keep up my due dilligence on that matter. I have heard it takes five years to establish ag exemption. If that is the case, and I think it is, get started this year.

I hope you are successful with procuring ag exemption with bees. I would like to get out of the cattle operation, and I am now investigating a wild life exemption. The wildlife exemption will require an accepted plan of operation and some annual reporting, and that sounds like a painful thing. But, cattle are big, strong and dumb and I am 72 years old. so.....

Risky Beesness
10-28-2011, 12:08 PM
LS, I hear you on the cattle. The only thing that can get in more trouble than cattle are horses. When they subdivided the Paleface Ranch, they must have cut a deal with the county. Deed restrictions do not allow any split hooved animals and only 1 horse / 5 ac. Bees may be my only avenue to a "1d1" for me. Then there is the issue of rollback taxes if you ever sell it or change uses. It is the difference in taxes based on market value, for the previous 5 years + 7% interest.

swatkins
10-29-2011, 12:05 AM
I hope you are successful with procuring ag exemption with bees. I would like to get out of the cattle operation, and I am now investigating a wild life exemption. The wildlife exemption will require an accepted plan of operation and some annual reporting, and that sounds like a painful thing. But, cattle are big, strong and dumb and I am 72 years old. so.....

You might check out leasing your land to people that raise cattle. Here that is acceptable for both cattle and hay operations. Its far easier to just lease the land than mess with the cows :)

lazy shooter
10-30-2011, 07:35 PM
I can lease my land and claim ag exemption, but if I have ownership in cattle there are additional benefits in tax deductions via depreciation schedules. It is easy to depreciate roads, fences, ponds, wells and etc. By having ownership of my cattle it gives my bookkeeoer a warm, fuzzy feeling.

summer1052
11-12-2011, 12:29 PM
This is less of a state level issue than a county one. Which may be why the folks in your county are having trouble deciding what to do. They don't have clear guidance at the state level.

Here in Lavaca County ("The Free State of Lavaca") I had no problem getting an ag exemption -- but with a caveat. The assessor said he would grant it IF I planted "bee forage". Been using sweet clover, buckwheat, and wildflowers with no problems.

Remember, it is almost always better to ask forgiveness than permission . . .

Good luck!
Summer

lazy shooter
11-12-2011, 07:43 PM
Summer:

Did you get a wildlife exemption? It sounds like it with wanting specific crops planted.

summer1052
11-15-2011, 09:54 AM
Nope. And the Assessor just said "forage". It was my choice. I am surrounded by many hard-working, upright, decent, good ranchers of Czech and German descent. And they are TIDY! Unfortunately, "tidy" often equals "no weeds in the pasture!" Of course, the "weeds" are wild flowers.

And it's interesting. I speak in classrooms, 4-H, Chamber of Commerce/Ag meetings, etc. I'm often asked "What about wild sweet clover?" I challenge them to go LOOK for wild sweet clover. They come back later and say, "You're right, it's all gone!" with amazment.

Years and years of spraying fence lines, mowing ditches before clover goes to seed, and spraying any and all bees, just in case "they're them killer bees" have reduced the forage and feral hives. And it went away so gradually, folks didn't notice. But they are starting to realize there aren't always bees pollinating their gardens.

I think my Assessor was just ahead of the curve, and I'm glad he told me to plant forage. Planting many of those forage items and rye grass is better for the soil than Coastal Bermuda, Bahia, Tifton, etc. I do my part to educate people that sometimes the old fashioned way their grand dads did things might still have value, and slowly, it's making a difference.

As for wildlife . . . I am besieged by deer, hogs, and gophers. I deserve a {deleted} exemption! LOL.

summer

lazy shooter
11-15-2011, 10:05 AM
Summer1052:

Like you, I am trying to return my ranch to yesterday year. I don't have any improved grasses on my place. I fallow plow each spring, as out local County Agent told me this would bring back the native grasses and weeds. According to his research, if you turn up the soil and let the sun warm the deeper into the ground, seeds that are decades old will germinate. Over the past five years, I have seen this work. Most of my fields contain a lot of native sunflowers, weeds and wild flowers.

I too, am besieged with deer, hogs and coons.

I rotate my cattle from pasture to pasture and try to emulate what the passing buffalo herds did to our land. I have no proof that it is working, but it makes me feel better.

lazy

Gypsi
11-15-2011, 10:54 AM
I only own 1/3 of an acre, but I'm thinking of doing a moonlight sprinkle of wildflower seeds on the vacant acreage around me, at least the seeds I can spare. Nothing but some kind of grass that looks like bermuda but spreads widely above ground, it's an annual, untidy, needs mowed heavily in the fall when it goes to seed, I guess I should find out what that grass species is.

EastSideBuzz
11-15-2011, 11:15 AM
We were told we would have to have used the property in TX as ag property, including bees, for 5 years before we can claim ag exemption. Washington is 3 and it is $200 of income (gross) per acre you want ag for those years and prove it. But, the kicker is when you sell it needs to stay ag or pay 7 years plus interest and penalty back. My property is hilly so Bee's is one of the only things I could do with it. And they come out and check. She came out in July when all my bee's were in Raspberries and is coming back on Thursday to see if I am really still using it that way. They are sleeping now of course but they are home.

What would be nice is a 5$ fed credit per hive you have kind of thing. Anyone have any ideas how to get the fed to cut us some slack for helping the food industry?

Jaseemtp
11-16-2011, 03:37 AM
Ohh this is something I am trying to get done also. I have been back and forth with the tax office in Parker county. Wish me luck

Kingfisher Apiaries
11-16-2011, 06:52 AM
Good luck guys. Once you get something be happy because its hard to get...like I said in some previous posts just play the game and you should come out ok.
mike

ShadowHawk
11-16-2011, 08:40 AM
Folks,

I just ran across this - the Texas Apiary Inspector (Paul Jackson) with Texas A&M has some specific instructions in his August 2011 newsletter on what to present to your county tax office for getting an ag. exemption.

The newsletters are here: (then select Aug. 2011)

Rex "Hawk" Smith

http://tais.tamu.edu/newsletter/

Gypsi
11-16-2011, 10:30 AM
I have to buy more land to think about ag exemption. 1/3 of an acre in Fort Worth city limits, half of it purely agricultural (well except for the 10 ft wide strip that holds my rock trailer and a shed), but they are so not going to grant an ag exemption on 1/6th of an acre. And it would be worth at least $30 for all that paperwork! :lpf:

Jaseemtp
11-16-2011, 10:34 AM
Yep Gypsi,
In Parker county (next door to Fort Worth) they do not like to ag anything less than 10 acres, but if your willing to fight with them you can get 5 acres ag exempt.

summer1052
11-16-2011, 05:05 PM
Hawk, thanks for that link! That's good info. Like I said, since it's a county by county thing, I suspect part of the problem some have is assessors not having any guidelines. And yes, Jase, it's 10 acres here, too. Lazy, this land was cotton before it was pasture, so I don't know if anything would come up or not. But the vetch does well, and the rye grass helps choke out the undesirables like nut sedge and Johnson grass and Dalis grass that will take over if given half a chance.

Of course, the way the drought has been this year, we're lucky to have anything grow at all. Trees are starting to die in large numbers. Even Live Oaks and Cedar. Mercy me!

Summer