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[29 Pa.B. 3072]

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   (5)  The use of up to 2 acres of the enrolled land for direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products or for a rural enterprise incidental to the operational unit, in accordance with section 8(d) of the act, and § 137a.13 (relating to direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products and activities; rural enterprises incidental to the operational unit).

   (6)  The transfer of a portion of the enrolled land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a cemetery, in accordance with section 8(d) of the act and § 137a.16 (relating to transfer of enrolled land for use as a cemetery).

   (7)  The transfer of a portion of the enrolled land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a trail, in accordance with section 8(a) of the act and § 137a.17 (relating to transfer of enrolled land or transfer of an easement or right-of-way across enrolled land for use as a trail).

   (8)  The distribution, upon the death of the owner of the enrolled land, of the enrolled land among the beneficiaries designated as Class A for inheritance tax purposes, in accordance with section 6(d) of the act and § 137a.12 (relating to death of an owner of enrolled land).

   (c)  Payment of roll-back taxes does not affect preferential assessment of remaining land. The payment of roll-back taxes and interest under the act, Chapter 137 (relating to preferential assessment of farmland and forest land) or this chapter may not result in termination of preferential assessment on the remainder of the land covered by preferential assessment.

   Example 1:  A landowner owns a 100-acre tract of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. The landowner splits-off a tract of no more than 2 acres and uses that 2- acre tract for a residential dwelling as described in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act and meets the other criteria in that paragraph. Although the 2-acre tract is no longer entitled to receive a preferential assessment, the 98-acre tract shall continue to receive a preferential assessment. Also, roll-back taxes would be due with respect to the 2-acre tract.
   Example 2:  Landowner A owns a 100-acre tract of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. Landowner A splits-off a 2-acre tract and sells it to Landowner B, with the understanding that Landowner B will use the land for a residential dwelling permitted under section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act. Landowner B does not erect the permitted residential dwelling, but converts the 2-acre tract to commercial use. Landowner B owes roll-back taxes with respect to the entire 100-acre tract (under section 6(a.1) of the act). If the 98-acre tract owned by Landowner A continues in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, and continues to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act, it shall continue to receive a preferential assessment.
   Example 3:  Landowner A owns a 100-acre tract of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. Landowner A separates the land into a 50-acre tract and two 25-acre tracts, and sells a 25-acre tract to Landowner B. All 100 acres continue in agricultural use and continue to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act. No roll-back taxes are due. The entire 100-acre tract shall continue to receive a preferential assessment.
   Example 4:  Same facts as Example 3, except that within 7 years of the separation, Landowner B changes the use of his 25-acre tract to something other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. Landowner B shall pay roll-back taxes with respect to the entire 100-acre tract (under section 6(a.2) of the act). If the 75 acres owned by Landowner A continues in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, and continues to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act, shall continue to receive a preferential assessment under the Act.
   Example 5:  Same facts as Example 3, except that more than 7 years after the date of separation, Landowner B changes the use of his 25-acre tract to something other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. Landowner B shall pay roll- back taxes on his 25-acre tract (under section 6(a.2) of the act). If the 75 acres owned by Landowner A continues in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, and continues to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act, it shall continue to receive a preferential assessment under the act.

   (d)  Termination of preferential assessment by county. The maximum area with respect to which a county may terminate preferential assessment may not exceed:

   (1)  In the case of a split-off that is not a condemnation and that meets the maximum size, use and aggregate acreage requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act, the land so split-off.

   (2)  In the case of a split-off that is not a condemnation and that does not meet the maximum size, use and aggregate acreage requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act, all contiguous land enrolled under the application for preferential assessment.

   (3)  In the case when the owner of enrolled land changes the use of the land so that it no longer meets the requirements in section 2 of the act, all contiguous land enrolled under the application for preferential assessment.

   (4)  In the case when the owner of enrolled land leases a portion of that land for wireless or cellular telecommunications in accordance with section 6(b.1) of the act, and § 137a.14, the land so leased.

   (5)  In the case of condemnation, the land so condemned.

   (6)  In the case when enrolled land is sold or donated to an entity described in section 8(b)(1)--(7) of the act in accordance with the requirements in those paragraphs, the land so sold or conveyed.

   (7)  In the case when not more than 2 acres of enrolled land is used for direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products and activities or for rural enterprises incidental to the operational unit, in accordance with section 8(d) of the act and § 137a.13, the land so used for those purposes.

   (8)  In the case when a portion of enrolled land is transferred to a nonprofit corporation for use as a cemetery in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and § 137a.16, the land so transferred.

   (9)  In the case when a portion of the enrolled land is transferred to a nonprofit corporation for use as a trail in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and § 137a.17, the land so transferred.

   (10)  In the case when enrolled land is distributed upon the death of the landowner among the beneficiaries designated as Class A for inheritance tax purposes in accordance with section 6(d) of the act and § 137a.12, the portion that fails to meet the requirements for preferential assessment in section 2 of the act.

   (e)  Transfer does not trigger roll-back taxes. The transfer of all of the enrolled land described in a single application for preferential assessment to a new owner without a change of use shall not trigger the imposition of roll-back taxes.

§ 137a.11.  Calculation and recalculation of preferential assessment.

   (a)  New values each year. As described in § 137a.9(b) (relating to assessment procedures), the Department will determine the land use subcategories and provide a county use values for each land use subcategory. The Department will provide these land use subcategories and use values to each county assessor by June 30, 1999, and by May 1 of each year thereafter.

   (b)  Required recalculation of preferential assessment if current assessment is based upon use values higher than those provided by the Department. A county assessor shall calculate the preferential assessment of all enrolled land in the county using either the current use values and land use subcategories provided by the Department or lower use values established by the county assessor. This calculation shall be accomplished in accordance with § 137a.9 so that the recalculated assessments take effect as of the commencement of the tax year of each taxing body commencing in 2000.

   Example 1:  All of the enrolled land in a particular county receives a preferential assessment under the act that is calculated with use values that are lower than the use values provided by the Department. The county has the option of either continuing to assess all enrolled land using its lower use values or recalculating the preferential assessment of all enrolled land using the use values provided by the Department.
   Example 2:  All of the enrolled land in a particular county receives a preferential assessment under the act that is calculated with use values that are higher than the use values provided by the Department. The county shall recalculate the preferential assessment of all enrolled land using either the use values provided by the Department or lower use values determined by the county assessor. This recalculation shall be accomplished to take effect in the tax year of each taxing body commencing in 2000.

   (c)  Required recalculation of preferential assessment if farmstead land has not been preferentially assessed as agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. A county assessor shall recalculate the preferential assessment on any tract of enrolled land which contains farmstead land if the earlier calculation did not value and assess the farmstead land as agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. This recalculation shall be accomplished in accordance with § 137a.9, and shall be accomplished so that the recalculated assessments take effect as of the commencement of the tax year of each taxing body commencing in 2000.

   Example:  In calculating the preferential assessment of enrolled land, a county has assessed farmstead land at its fair market value, rather than as part of the land that is in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. The county shall recalculate these assessments so that the farmstead land receives preferential assessment, rather than assessment based on fair market value. The recalculation shall be completed so that it can take effect with the commencement of the tax year of each taxing body commencing in 2000.

   (d)  Required recalculation of preferential assessment if contributory value of farm buildings has not been used in determining preferential assessment of land in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. A county assessor shall recalculate the preferential assessment on any tract of enrolled land if the earlier calculation did not consider the contributory value of any farm buildings on that land. This recalculation shall be accomplished in accordance with § 137a.9, and shall be accomplished so that the recalculated assessments take effect as of the commencement of the tax year of each taxing body commencing in 2000.

   (e)  Required recalculation of preferential assessment in county-wide reassessment. If a county undertakes a county-wide reassessment, or a county-wide reassessment of enrolled land, the county assessor shall recalculate the preferential assessment of all of the enrolled land in the county, using either the current use values and land use subcategories provided by the Department, or lower use values established by the county assessor and land use subcategories provided by the Department.

   (f)  Land enrolled prior to June 2, 1998. A county assessor is not obligated under the act or this chapter to recalculate the preferential assessment of land that is the subject of applications for preferential assessment filed on or before June 1, 1998, unless recalculation is required under subsections (b), (c), (d) or (e).

   (g)  Caveat. This chapter does not limit or prohibit an owner of enrolled land from requesting the county assessor to recalculate the preferential assessment for the enrolled land, or to supercede another law or regulation relating to the procedure for pursuing or seeking reassessment.

§ 137a.12.  Death of an owner of enrolled land.

   (a)  Inheriting a tract that does not meet minimum requirements for preferential assessment. Upon the death of an owner of enrolled land, if any of the enrolled land that is divided among the beneficiaries designated as Class A for inheritance tax purposes no longer meets the minimum qualifications for preferential assessment, preferential assessment shall terminate with respect to the portion of the enrolled land that no longer meets the minimum requirements for preferential assessment, and no roll-back tax may be charged on any of the land that no longer meets the requirements for preferential assessment.

   Example:  Landowner A owns 100 acres of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. Landowner A dies, and the land is divided among several Class A beneficiaries, as follows: Landowner B--75 acres. Landowner C--2 acres. Landowner D--23 acres. The tracts owned by Landowners B and D continue in agricultural use. The 2-acre tract owned by Landowner C no longer meets the size or income requirements in section 2 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3). Under these facts, preferential assessment of the 2-acre tract ends. Landowner C does not owe roll-back taxes with respect to this tract. Landowners B and D continue to receive preferential assessment.

   (b)  Inheriting a tract that meets the minimum requirements for preferential assessment. If a person designated a Class A beneficiary inherits a tract that meets the minimum requirements for preferential assessment, and the tract continues in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, preferential assessment shall continue. If a person designated a Class A beneficiary inherits a tract that meets the minimum requirements for preferential assessment, and subsequently changes the use of that tract so that it does not qualify for preferential assessment, that beneficiary shall owe roll-back taxes with respect to the portion of the enrolled land he inherited, but no roll-back taxes are due with respect to any other portion of the enrolled land inherited by another beneficiary.

   Example 1:  Landowner A owns 100 acres of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. Landowner A dies, and Landowners B and C each inherit a 50-acre tract, as Class A beneficiaries. The tracts owned by Landowners B and C continue in agricultural use. Preferential assessment continues.
   Example 2:  Same facts as Example 1, except Landowner B converts the 50-acre tract of agricultural land to industrial use. Landowner B owes roll-back taxes with respect to the 50-acre tract. Landowner A does not owe roll-back taxes. Preferential assessment continues with respect to Landowner A's tract.

§ 137a.13.  Direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products and activities; rural enterprises incidental to the operational unit.

   An owner of enrolled land may apply up to 2 acres of enrolled land toward direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products and activities, or toward a rural enterprise incidental to the operational unit, without subjecting the entirety of the enrolled land to roll-back taxes, if the rural enterprise does not permanently render the land incapable of producing an agricultural commodity. The tract of 2-acres-or-less shall be subject to roll-back taxes, and preferential assessment of that 2-acres-or-less tract shall end. The remainder of the enrolled land shall continue under preferential assessment as long as that remainder continues to meet the requirements for eligibility in section 2 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3).

§ 137a.14.  Wireless or cellular telecommunications facilities.

   (a)  Permitted use. A landowner may lease a tract of enrolled land to be used for wireless or cellular telecommunications, if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

   (1)  The tract so leased does not exceed 1/2 acre.

   (2)  The tract does not support more than one communication tower.

   (3)  The tract is accessible.

   (4)  The tract is neither conveyed nor subdivided. A lease may not be considered a subdivision.

   (b)  Roll-back taxes imposed with respect to leased land. A county assessor shall assess and impose roll-back taxes upon the tract of land leased by an owner of enrolled land for wireless or cellular telecommunications purposes.

   (c)  Preferential assessment ends and fair market value assessment commences with respect to leased land. A county assessor shall assess land leased in accordance with subsection (a) based upon its fair market value.

   (d)  Preferential assessment continues on unleased land. The lease of enrolled land in accordance with subsection (a) does not invalidate the preferential assessment of the remaining enrolled land that is not so leased, and that enrolled land shall continue to receive a preferential assessment, if it continues to meet the minimum requirements for eligibility in section 2 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3).

   (e)  Wireless services other than wireless telecommunications. Wireless services other than wireless telecommunications may be conducted on land leased in accordance with subsection (a) if the wireless services share a tower with a wireless telecommunications provider.

   (f)  Responsibility for obtaining required permits. The wireless or cellular telecommunications provider shall be solely responsible for obtaining required permits in connection with any construction on a tract of land which it leases for telecommunications purposes under subsection (a).

   (g)  Responsibility of municipality for issuing required permits. A municipality may not deny a permit necessary for wireless or cellular communications use for any reason other than the applicant's failure to strictly comply with permit application procedures.

§ 137a.15.  Option to accept or forgive roll-back taxes in certain instances.

   The taxing body of the taxing district within which a tract of enrolled land is located may accept or forgive roll-back taxes with respect to that portion of the enrolled land that is granted or donated to any one of the following:

   (1)  A school district.

   (2)  A municipality.

   (3)  A county.

   (4)  A volunteer fire company.

   (5)  A volunteer ambulance service.

   (6)  A religious organization, if the religious organization uses the land only for construction or regular use as a church, synagogue or other place of worship, including meeting facilities, parking facilities, housing facilities and other facilities which further the religious purposes of the organization.

   (7)  A not-for-profit corporation that qualifies as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)), if prior to accepting ownership of the land, the corporation enters into an agreement with the municipality wherein the subject land is located guaranteeing that the land will be used exclusively for recreational purposes, all of which shall be available to the general public free of charge. If the corporation changes the use of all or a portion of the land or charges admission or any other fee for the use or enjoyment of the facilities, the corporation shall immediately become liable for all roll-back taxes and accrued interest previously forgiven.

§ 137a.16.  Transfer of enrolled land for use as a cemetery.

   (a)  Transfers. If an owner of enrolled land sells, donates or otherwise transfers any portion of the enrolled land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a cemetery, and at least 10 acres of the remainder of the enrolled land remain in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve after the transfer, no violation of preferential assessment will be deemed to have occurred and roll-back taxes may not be assessed with respect to either the transferred portion of the enrolled land or the remainder of the enrolled land.

   Example:  A landowner owns 50 acres of enrolled land. The land is in agricultural use. The landowner sells 20 acres of the enrolled land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a cemetery. The remaining 30-acre tract continues in agricultural use. Under these facts, no roll-back taxes are due with respect to either tract. The 30-acre tract continues to receive preferential assessment. The 20-acre tract receives an assessment based on fair market value.

   (b)  Exception. If a nonprofit corporation acquires enrolled land as described in subsection (a), and subsequently changes the use of the land to some use other than as a cemetery or transfers the land for use other than as a cemetery, the nonprofit corporation shall be required to pay roll-back taxes on that land.

   Example:  Same facts as the example under subsection (a), but 2 years after it acquired the 20-acre tract, the nonprofit corporation changes the use to something other than cemetery use. The nonprofit corporation owes roll-back taxes with respect to the 20-acre tract.

§ 137a.17.  Transfer of enrolled land or transfer of an easement or right-of-way across enrolled land for use as a trail.

   (a)  Transfers. If an owner of enrolled land sells, donates or otherwise transfers any portion of the enrolled land, or transfers an easement or right-of-way with respect to any portion of the enrolled land, no violation of preferential assessment will be deemed to have occurred and roll-back taxes may not be assessed with respect to either the transferred portion of the enrolled land or the remainder of the enrolled land if all of the following occur:

   (1)  The land is transferred to a nonprofit corporation.

   (2)  The transferred land is used as a trail for nonmotorized passive recreational use. Walking, jogging, running, roller skating, in-line skating, pedacycling, horseback riding and the use of animal-drawn vehicles are examples of passive recreational use, as are all other forms of man-powered or animal-powered conveyance.

   (3)  The transferred land does not exceed 20 feet in width.

   (4)  The transferred land is available to the public for use without charge.

   (5)  At least 10 acres of the remainder of the enrolled land remain in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve.

   Example:  A landowner owns 50 acres of enrolled land. The land is in agricultural use. The landowner conveys a 20-foot-wide pathway across the land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a trail, and otherwise complies with paragraphs (1)--(5) and section 8(e) of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.8(e)). Under these facts, no roll-back taxes are due with respect to either tract. The trail receives an assessment based upon fair market value. The remainder of the landowner's 50-acre tract continues to receive a preferential assessment.

   (b)  Exception. If a nonprofit corporation acquires enrolled land or an easement or right of way with respect to enrolled land as described in subsection (a), and the use of the land is subsequently changed to a use other than the use described in subsection (a)(1)--(5) or section 8(e) of the act, the nonprofit corporation shall be required to pay roll-back taxes on that land. The land is no longer entitled to preferential assessment.

   Example:  A landowner owns 50 acres of enrolled land. The land is in agricultural use. The landowner conveys a 15-foot-wide pathway across the land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a trail. The conveyance is for a use described in subsection (a)(1)--(5) or section 8(e) of the act. The nonprofit corporation subsequently changes the use of the trail to a motorcycle trail, a snowmobile trail or some other use not allowed under subsection (a)(1)--(5) or section 8(e) of the act. Under these facts, roll-back taxes are due with respect to the 15-foot-wide tract. The nonprofit corporation shall also pay roll-back taxes on the remainder of the 50-acre tract. That remainder continues to receive a preferential assessment.

§ 137a.18.  Transfer of enrolled land.

   When enrolled land is transferred to a new owner, the new owner shall file an amendment to the original application for the purposes of providing the county assessor with current information and to sign the acknowledgements required under section 4(c) of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.4(c)).

§ 137a.19.  Notice of change of application.

   (a)  Landowner's responsibility to provide advance notice of changes. An owner of enrolled land shall provide the county assessor of the county in which the land is located at least 30 days' advance written notice of any of the following:

   (1)  A change in use of the enrolled land to some use other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve.

   (2)  A change in ownership with respect to the enrolled land or any portion of the land.

   (3)  Any type of division or conveyance of the enrolled land.

   (b)  Landowner's duty to notify. As stated in § 137a.4(b) (relating to application forms and procedures), a person applying for preferential assessment of land under the act shall acknowledge on the application form the obligation under subsection (a) on the application form.

   (c)  Civil penalty for failure to provide notice. A county board for assessment appeals may assess a civil penalty against a person who fails to provide notice required under subsection (a). This civil penalty shall be in accordance with section 5.1 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.5b) and § 137a.23 (relating to civil penalties).

§ 137a.20.  Liability for roll-back taxes.

   (a)  General. If an owner of enrolled land changes the use of the land to something other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve or changes the use of the enrolled land so that it otherwise fails to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3), that landowner shall be responsible for the payment of roll-back taxes. The owner of enrolled land may not be liable for any roll-back tax triggered as a result of a change to an ineligible use by the owner of a split-off tract.

   (b)  Split-off tract. Section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.6(a.1)(1)(i)), provides that roll-back taxes are not due with respect to a split-off tract which meets all of the following criteria:

   (1)  The tract split off does not exceed 2 acres annually, except that a maximum of the minimum residential lot size requirement annually may be split off if the property is situated in a local government unit which requires a minimum lot size of 2--3 acres.

   (2)  The tract is used for agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve or for the construction of a residential dwelling to be occupied by the person to whom the land is conveyed.

   (3)  The total tract split off does not exceed the lesser of 10 acres or 10% of the entire tract of enrolled land.

   (c)  Split-off that complies with section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act. If enrolled land undergoes split-off and the tract that is split-off meets the size, use and aggregate acreage requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act, the landowner who conducted the split-off shall owe roll-back taxes with respect to the split-off tract. The preferential assessment of that split-off tract shall be terminated. If the remainder of the enrolled land is in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, and continues to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act, no roll-back taxes are due with respect to that remainder, and preferential assessment shall continue with respect to that tract.

   Example:  Landowner owns 50 acres of enrolled land. Landowner splits-off 2 acres for a residential dwelling, in compliance with section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act. The landowner owes roll-back taxes on the 2-acre tract, and the preferential assessment of that tract shall be terminated. The remaining 48-acre tract would continue to receive a preferential assessment, assuming it remains in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve and otherwise continues to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act.

   (d)  Split-off that does not comply with section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act. If enrolled land undergoes split-off and the tract that is split-off does not meet the size, use and aggregate acreage requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act, the landowner who conducted the split- off shall owe roll-back taxes with respect to all of the enrolled land.

   Example 1:  Landowner owns 50 acres of enrolled land. Landowner splits-off 4 acres in a single year. This split-off would not meet the size requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act. The landowner owes roll-back taxes on the entire 50-acre tract. The 4-acre tract no longer receives a preferential assessment. The remaining 46-acre tract would continue to receive a preferential assessment, assuming it remains in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve and continues to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act.
   Example 2:  Landowner owns 50 acres of enrolled land. Landowner splits-off 2-acre tracts in 3 different years. The aggregate amount of land split-off (6 acres) exceeds the 10% cap in section 6(c.1)(1)(i) of the act. Under these facts, the aggregate total of split-off land could not exceed 5 acres. The landowner owes roll-back taxes on the entire 50-acre tract. The three 2-acre tracts no longer receive a preferential assessment. The remaining 44-acre tract would continue to receive a preferential assessment, assuming it remains in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve and continues to meet the requirements of section 2 of the act.

   (e)  Split-off occurring through condemnation. If any portion of a tract of enrolled land is condemned, the condemnation may not trigger liability for roll-back taxes on either the condemned portion of the enrolled land or the remainder. If the condemned portion or the remainder of the enrolled land remains in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, and meets the criteria in section 2 of the act, preferential assessment shall continue with respect to that condemned portion or remainder.

   (f)  Change in use of separated land occurring within 7 years of separation. If enrolled land undergoes separation, and one of the tracts created through separation is converted to other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve within 7 years of the date of the separation, or is converted so that it no longer meets the requirements of section 2 of the act, the owner of the ineligible tract owes roll-back taxes with respect to all of the enrolled land. The ineligible tract may no longer receive preferential assessment under the act. The remaining enrolled land shall continue to receive a preferential assessment.

   Example:  Landowner A owns 100 acres of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. Landowner A sells Landowner B a 50-acre portion of this enrolled land. Both 50-acre tracts continue in agricultural use, and preferential assessment continues with respect to both tracts. Six years after the original 100-acre tract of enrolled land was separated, Landowner B converts his 50-acre tract to industrial use. Landowner B owes roll-back taxes with respect to the entire 100-acre tract. Landowner A's 50-acre tract continues to receive preferential assessment, and the preferential assessment of Landowner B's 50-acre tract ends.

   (g)  Change in use of separated land occurring 7 years or more after separation. If enrolled land undergoes separation, and one of the tracts created through separation is converted to other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve 7 years or more after the date of the separation, the owner of the ineligible tract owes roll-back taxes with respect to that ineligible tract, but does not owe roll-back taxes with respect to the remainder of the enrolled land. The ineligible tract may no longer receive preferential assessment under the act. The remaining enrolled land shall continue to receive a preferential assessment.

   Example:  Landowner A owns 100 acres of enrolled land, which is in agricultural use. Landowner A sells Landowner B a 50-acre portion of this enrolled land. Both 50-acre tracts continue in agricultural use, and preferential assessment continues with respect to both tracts. Eight years after the original 100-acre tract of enrolled land was separated, Landowner B converts his 50-acre tract to industrial use. Landowner B owes roll-back taxes with respect to the 50-acre tract which he has converted to ineligible use. Landowner A's 50-acre tract continues to receive preferential assessment, and the preferential assessment of Landowner B's 50-acre tract ends.

   (h)  Calculation of roll-back taxes. A county assessor shall calculate roll-back taxes using the following formula, which supercedes the formula in § 137.54 (relating to calculating roll-back taxes):

   (1)  Calculate the difference between preferential assessment and normal assessment in each of the 7 most recent tax years.

   (2)  With respect to each of these seven sums, multiply that sum by the corresponding factor, which reflects compounded interest at the rate of 6% per annum from that particular tax year to the present:

Year Factor
Current 1.00
1 Year Prior 1.06
2 Years Prior 1.1236
3 Years Prior 1.1910
4 Years Prior 1.2625
5 Years Prior 1.3382
6 Years Prior 1.4185

   (3)  Add the seven separate products obtained under Step (2). The sum equals total roll-back taxes -- including interest at 6% per annum on each year's roll-back taxes.

   Example:  Landowner owes roll-back taxes. The county assessor calculates the difference between the preferential assessment and normal assessment in each of the 7 preceding tax years, and determines that sum to be $2,000 in each of those 7 years.

Year Amount Multiplied by Factor
Current $2,000 x 1.00 =    $2,000
1 Year Prior $2,000 x 1.06 =    $2,120
2 Years Prior $2,000 x 1.1236 = $2,247.20
3 Years Prior $2,000 x 1.1910 = $2,382
4 Years Prior $2,000 x 1.2625 = $2,525
5 Years Prior $2,000 x 1.3382 = $2,676.40
6 Years Prior $2,000 x 1.4185 = $2,837
       TOTAL ROLL-BACK TAXES: $16,787.60

§ 137a.21.  Duties of a county assessor.

   (a)  General. A county assessor shall perform all the duties prescribed by the act and this chapter. In addition, a county assessor shall perform the duties prescribed in Chapter 137 (relating to preferential assessment of farmland and forest land) to the extent those duties do not conflict with the act or this chapter.

   (b)  Recordkeeping. A county assessor shall indicate on property record cards, assessment rolls and any other appropriate records the fair market value, the use value, the normal assessment and the preferential assessment of all tracts of enrolled land.

   (c)  Recording approved applications. A county assessor shall record any approved application in the office of the recorder of deeds in the county where the land is preferentially assessed.

   (d)  Determining total use value. A county assessor shall determine the total use value for all enrolled land. The contributory value of farm buildings shall be used in determining the total use value.

   (e)  Annual update of records. A county assessor shall, at least on an annual basis, update property record cards, assessment rolls and any other appropriate records to reflect all changes in the fair market value, the use value, the normal assessment and the preferential assessment of all tracts of enrolled land. This requirement does not constitute a requirement that a county assessor recalculate the preferential assessment of all enrolled land each year, but instead requires the county assessor to maintain reasonably current records reflecting any changes in preferential assessment.

   (f)  Notification of change in preferential assessment status. A county assessor shall provide the owner of enrolled land and the taxing bodies of the district in which the land is situated with written notice of an approval, termination or change with respect to the preferential assessment status. This written notice shall apprise the landowner and the taxing body of the right to appeal the action in accordance with section 9 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.9). The written notice shall be mailed within 5 days of the change of status. If the written notice terminates or changes preferential assessment status it shall set forth the reasons for the change or termination.

   (g)  Notification of change in factors affecting total assessment. A county assessor shall provide the owner of enrolled land and the taxing bodies of the district in which the land is situated with written notice of any change in the fair market value, the normal assessment, the use value or the preferential assessment. This written notice shall apprise the landowner and the taxing body of the right to appeal the action in accordance with section 9 of the act. The written notice shall be mailed within 5 days of the change.

   (h)  Adjusting records to reflect split-off, separation or transfer. A county assessor shall adjust an approved and recorded application for preferential assessment under the act to reflect a change when an owner of enrolled land changes enrollment status as a result of a split-off, separation, transfer or change of ownership. These changes may include those actions described in § 137a.7(c) or § 137a.10(e) (relating to fee of the county board for assessment appeals; and duration of preferential assessment). A county assessor may require the preparation, execution and filing of a new application for preferential assessment to accomplish such an adjustment.

   (i)  Enforcement and evidence gathering. The evidentiary burden shall be on a county assessor to produce evidence demonstrating that a split-off tract is actively being used in a manner which is inconsistent with residential use, agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve.

   (j)  Assessment of roll-back taxes. A county assessor shall calculate, assess and file claims for roll-back taxes owed under the act.

§ 137a.22.  Disposition of interest on roll-back taxes.

   (a)  ''Eligible county'' explained. A county is an ''eligible county'' under the Agricultural Area Security Law (3 P. S. §§ 901--915), and for purposes of this chapter, if it has an agricultural conservation easement purchase program that has been approved by the State Agricultural Land Preservation Board in accordance with that statute.

   (b)  Disposition in an eligible county.

   (1)  County treasurer. If a county is an eligible county, the county treasurer shall make proper distribution of the interest portion of the roll-back taxes it collects to the county commissioners or the county comptroller, as the case may be. The county commissioners or comptroller shall designate all of this interest for use by the county agricultural land preservation board. This interest shall be in addition to other local money appropriated by the eligible county for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements under section 14.1(h) of the Agricultural Area Security Law (3 P. S. § 914.1(h)).

   (2)  County agricultural land preservation board. A county agricultural land preservation board that receives interest on roll-back taxes in accordance with paragraph (1) shall segregate that money in a special roll-back account. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the Agricultural Area Security Law, the eligible county board under the Agricultural Area Security Law shall, in its discretion, give priority to the purchase of agricultural conservation easements from agricultural security areas located within the municipality in which the land subject to the roll-back tax is located.

   (c)  Disposition in a county that is not an eligible county. If a county is not an eligible county, the county treasurer shall forward the interest portion of the roll-back taxes it collects to the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund. The county treasurer shall coordinate with the Department's Bureau of Farmland Protection, at the address in § 137a.24 (relating to contacting the department) to accomplish this transfer.

§ 137a.23.  Civil penalties.

   (a)  General. A county board for assessment appeals may assess a civil penalty of not more than $100 against a person for each violation of the act, this chapter or the applicable regulations in Chapter 137 (relating to preferential assessment of farmland and forest land).

   (b)  Written notice of civil penalty. A county board for assessment appeals shall assess a civil penalty against a person by providing that person written notice of the penalty. This notice shall be served by certified mail or personal service. The notice shall set forth the following:

   (1)  A description of the nature of the violation and of the amount of the civil penalty.

   (2)  A statement that the person against whom the civil penalty is being assessed may appeal the penalty by delivering written notice of the appeal to the county board for assessment appeals within 10 calendar days of receipt of the written notice of penalty.

   (c)  Appeal hearing. If timely notification of the intent to contest the civil penalty is given, the person contesting the civil penalty shall be provided with a hearing in accordance with 2 Pa.C.S. Chapter 5, Subchapter B and Chapter 7, Subchapter B (relating to local agency law).

   (d)  Final civil penalty. If, within 10 days from the receipt of the notification described in subsection (b), the person against whom the civil penalty is assessed fails to notify the county board for assessment appeals of intent to contest the assessed penalty, the civil penalty shall become final.

§ 137a.24.  Contacting the Department.

   For purposes of this chapter, communications to the Department shall be directed to the following address:

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Farmland Protection
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408
Telephone: (717) 783-3167
Facsimile: (717) 772-9798

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 99-965. Filed for public inspection June 18, 1999, 9:00 a.m.]



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