Texas agricultural exemptions, or "ag exemptions", are common terms used for special use appraisals based on the productivity value of the land (not market value). In fact, it is not an "exemption" at all. This appraisal status can lower your property taxes significantly. What land qualifies for this special appraisal status?
Tax Code Title One Subtitle D Chapter 23 Subchapter A Section 23.51(1) defines “qualified open-space land” as “land that is currently devoted principally to agricultural use to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area and that has been devoted principally to agricultural use or to production of timber or forest products for five of the preceding seven years or land that is used principally as an ecological laboratory by a public or private college or university and that has been used principally in that manner by a college or university for five of the preceding seven years. Qualified open-space land includes all appurtenances to the land. For the purposes of this subdivision, appurtenances to the land mean private roads, dams, reservoirs, water wells, canals, ditches, terraces, and other reshapings of the soil, fences, and riparian water rights. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subdivision, land that is currently devoted principally to wildlife management as defined by Subdivision (7) (B) or (C) to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area qualifies for appraisal as qualified open-space land under this subchapter regardless of the manner in which the land was used in any preceding year.”
According to Section 23.51(2), agricultural use “includes but is not limited to the following activities: cultivating the soil, producing crops for human food, animal feed, or planting seed or for the production of fibers; floriculture, viticulture, and horticulture; raising or keeping livestock; raising or keeping exotic animals for the production of human food or of fiber, leather, pelts, or other tangible products having a commercial value; planting cover crops or leaving land idle for the purpose of participating in a governmental program, provided the land is not used for residential purposes or a purpose inconsistent with agricultural use; and planting cover crops or leaving land idle in conjunction with normal crop or livestock rotation procedure. The term also includes the use of land to produce or harvest logs and posts for the use in constructing or repairing fences, pens, barns, or other agricultural improvements on adjacent qualified open-space land having the same owner and devoted to a different agricultural use. The term also includes the use of land for wildlife management. The term also includes the use of land to raise or keep bees for pollination or for the production of human food or other tangible products having a commercial value, provided that the land used is not less than 5 or more than 20 acres."
Generally, the "degree of intensity" for agricultural use is established by the county in which the property is situated. The County Appraisal District where the property is located should have these guidelines published on their website or available for pick up.
If you're unsure whether your land qualifies for a Texas agricultural appraisal, consult with a qualified attorney. At Bertolatus Rodman PLLC, we provide free initial consultations to review your matter. Please call us at (281) 343-3382 or submit the contact form to get started!
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