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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
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    375

    Default Texas Ag Exemption

    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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    781

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,340

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Whitehall Texas
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Richardson, Tx / Tyler Tx.
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    1,197

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,256

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    781

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,256

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    Quote Originally Posted by Risky Beesness View Post
    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.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Gilmer,TX USA
    Posts
    1,830

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowHawk View Post
    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).
    Quote Originally Posted by beekeeper_sd View Post
    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
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,340

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    Quote Originally Posted by beekeeper_sd View Post
    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.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    781

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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.....

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Whitehall Texas
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    Quote Originally Posted by lazy shooter View Post
    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

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    781

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    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

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    781

    Default Re: Texas Ag Exemption

    Summer:

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

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