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[31 Pa.B. 1701]

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ELIGIBLE LAND

§ 137b.11.  General.

   Three types of land are eligible for preferential assessment under the act.

   (1)  Land in agricultural use.

   (2)  Land in agricultural reserve.

   (3)  Land in forest reserve.

§ 137b.12.  Agricultural use.

   Land that is in agricultural use is eligible for preferential assessment under the act if it has been producing an agricultural commodity or has been devoted to a soil conservation program under an agreement with the Federal Government for at least 3 years preceding the application for preferential assessment, and is one of the following:

   (1)  Comprised of 10 or more contiguous acres (including any farmstead land and woodlot).

   (2)  Has an anticipated yearly gross income of at least $2,000 from the production of an agricultural commodity.

§ 137b.13.  Agricultural reserve.

   Land that is in agricultural reserve is eligible for preferential assessment under the act if the land is comprised of 10 or more contiguous acres (including any farmstead land and any woodlot).

§ 137b.14.  Forest reserve.

   Land that is in forest reserve is eligible for preferential assessment under the act if presently stocked with trees and the land is comprised of 10 or more contiguous acres (including any farmstead land). Forest reserve land includes land that is rented to another person for the purpose of producing timber or other wood products.

§ 137b.15.  Inclusion of farmstead land.

   (a)  Farmstead land is an integral part of land in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. In considering whether land is in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve, a county shall include any portion of that land that is farmstead land.

   (b)  Farmstead land shall be considered to be land that qualifies for preferential assessment under the act and this chapter.

§ 137b.16.  Residence not required.

   A county may not require that an applicant for preferential assessment under the act be a resident of the county or reside on the land with respect to which preferential assessment is sought.

§ 137b.17.  Common ownership required.

   A landowner seeking preferential assessment under the act shall be the owner of every tract of land listed on the application.

Example 1:  Husband and wife are joint owners of two contiguous 100-acre tracts of farmland. They have common ownership of both tracts and may include these tracts in a single application for preferential assessment.
Example 2:  Husband and wife are joint owners of a 100-acre tract of farmland. Husband and son are joint owners of a contiguous 100-acre tract of farmland. These two tracts may not be combined in a single application for preferential assessment.

§ 137b.18.  County-imposed eligibility requirements.

   A county assessor may not impose eligibility requirements or conditions other than those prescribed in section 3 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3).

Example: A county may not require an owner of contiguous--but separately deeded--tracts of land to consolidate the tracts in a single deed or require any alteration of existing deeds as a condition of eligibility for preferential assessment.

§ 137b.19.  Multiple tracts on a single application.

   A landowner seeking preferential assessment under the act may include more than one tract in a single application for preferential assessment, regardless of whether the tracts on the application have separate deeds, are identified by separate tax parcel numbers or are otherwise distinct from each other.

   (1)  Contiguous tracts.

   (i)  A landowner seeking preferential assessment under the act may include in the application individual contiguous tracts that would not--if considered individually--qualify for preferential assessment.

   (ii)  If two or more tracts on a single application for preferential assessment are contiguous, the entire contiguous area shall meet the use and minimum size requirements for eligibility.

   (2)  Noncontiguous tracts.  If any tract on a single application for preferential assessment is not contiguous to another tract described on that application, that individual tract shall--by itself--meet the use and minimum size requirements for eligibility.

§ 137b.20.  Inclusion of all contiguous land described in the deed to the tract with respect to which enrollment is sought.

   A landowner may not apply for preferential assessment for less than the entire contiguous portion of land described in the deed applicable to a tract with respect to which preferential assessment is sought.

Example 1: A landowner owns a single, 100-acre tract of farmland described in a single deed, and wishes to apply for preferential assessment under the act. The application may not be for less than the entire 100 acres.
Example 2: A landowner owns 150 acres of farmland described in a single deed, and wishes to apply for preferential assessment under the act. The deed to this land describes three separate tracts: two contiguous 50-acre tracts and a noncontiguous 50-acre tract. The landowner's options are as follows:
(1)  Enroll the contiguous 50-acre tract.
(2)  Enroll the noncontiguous 50-acre tract.
(3)  Enroll both the contiguous 50-acre tract and the noncontiguous 50-acre tract.

   The landowner does not have the option to enroll only one of the contiguous 50-acre tracts.

§ 137b.21.  Exclusion of noncontiguous tract described in a single deed.

   If two or more tracts of land are described in a single deed, a landowner seeking preferential assessment under the act may exclude from the application for preferential assessment any separately-described tract that is not contiguous to the tracts for which preferential assessment is sought.

Example: A landowner owns 150 acres of farmland described in a single deed, and wishes to apply for preferential assessment under the act. The deed to this land describes three separate tracts: two contiguous 50-acre tracts and a noncontiguous 50-acre tract. The landowner has the option to seek to enroll the noncontiguous 50-acre tract.

§ 137b.22.  Landowner may include or exclude from the application tracts described in separate deeds.

   If the landowner seeking preferential assessment under the act owns contiguous tracts that are described in separate deeds, the landowner may include or exclude any of the contiguous tracts from the application for preferential assessment.

§ 137b.23.  Land adjoining preferentially assessed land with common ownership is eligible.

   (a)  General.  A tract of land in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve shall receive a preferential assessment under the act regardless of whether the tract meets the 10-contiguous-acres minimum acreage requirement or the $2,000-per-year minimum anticipated gross income requirement, or both, established in section 3 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3) if the following occur:

   (1)  The landowner owns both the tract for which preferential assessment is sought and a contiguous tract of enrolled land.

   (2)  The landowner files an amended application for preferential assessment, describing both the tract for which preferential assessment is sought and the contiguous tract of enrolled land. The amended application shall be in accordance with the act and this chapter.

   (b)  Roll-back taxes.  A violation of the provisions of preferential assessment on a tract added under subsection (a) shall trigger liability for roll-back taxes, plus interest, on that tract and all other contiguous tracts identified in the amended application.

§ 137b.24.  Ineligible land.

   A landowner seeking preferential assessment under the act shall include ineligible land on the application if the eligible land is part of a larger contiguous tract of eligible land, and the use of the land which causes it to be ineligible exists at the time the application is filed. Although this ineligible land may not receive preferential assessment, the applicant shall specify the boundaries and acreage of the ineligible land, and may not expand the boundaries beyond those identified in the initial application. A landowner will not be required, as a condition of county acceptance or approval of the application, to survey or redeed the tract so as to exclude the ineligible land.

Example: A landowner owns a 100-acre tract of land, 90 acres of which is productive farmland and 10 acres of which is occupied by an auto salvage yard. If the landowner seeks preferential assessment of the 90 acres of farmland, the application shall describe the entire 100-acre tract. If preferential assessment is granted, it will apply to the 90 acres of farmland. The 10-acre tract would continue to be assigned its fair market value and assessed accordingly.

§ 137b.25.  Multiple land use categories on a single application.

   An applicant for preferential assessment under the act may include land in more than one land use category in the application. A county assessor shall allow the applicant to submit an application that designates those portions of the tract to be assessed under each of the different land use categories.

Example: A landowner owns 100 acres of land. The landowner may submit an application that designates 75 acres in agricultural use, 13 acres in agricultural reserve and 12 acres in forest reserve, if the acreage identified by the landowner for the particular land use category meets the minimum criteria in section 3 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3) for that land use category.

§ 137b.26.  Land located in more than one tax district.

   If land for which preferential assessment is sought lies in more than one taxing district, the county's determination as to whether the land meets applicable minimum acreage requirements for eligible land shall be made on the basis of the total contiguous acreage--without regard to the boundaries of the taxing districts in which the land is located.

Example 1: A landowner has a 100-acre tract of farmland--94 acres of which lie in Township A and 6 acres of which lie in Township B. The landowner files an application seeking preferential assessment of this land. The fact that the tract lies in two separate townships shall be immaterial to the determination of whether the 100-acre tract meets the requirements for preferential assessment under the act.
Example 2: A landowner has a 100-acre tract of farmland--94 acres of which lie in County A and 6 acres of which lie in County B. The landowner files an application seeking preferential assessment. The fact that the tract lies in two separate counties shall be immaterial to the determination of whether the land described in the application meets the requirements for preferential assessment under the act.

§ 137b.27.  Assessment of ineligible land.

   Land that is included in an application for preferential assessment under the act but is ineligible for preferential assessment shall be appraised at fair market value and shall be assessed accordingly.

APPLICATION PROCESS

§ 137b.41.  Application forms and procedures.

   (a)  Standardized application form required.  A county shall require a landowner seeking to apply for preferential assessment under the act to make that application on a current ''Clean and Green Valuation Application'' Form--a uniform preferential assessment application form developed by the Department. The Department will provide an initial supply of these forms to a county upon request. The county assessor shall maintain an adequate supply of these forms. The following shall be required of an applicant on the Clean and Green Valuation Application Form:

   (1)  The name, address and telephone number of each landowner.

   (2)  A statement as to the form of ownership of the land (whether by an individual partnership, corporation, and the like. . . ).

   (3)  A statement of whether the land is currently subject to a covenant for preservation of ''open space'' land in accordance with the act of January 13, 1966 (1965 P. L. 1292, No. 515) (16 P. S. §§ 11941--11947).

   (4)  A description of the location of the land, including the school district in which it is located.

   (5)  A designation of the land use category or categories (agricultural use, agricultural reserve and forest reserve) with respect to which preferential assessment is sought, and information that might reasonably be required to confirm that the land falls within the land use category with respect to which preferential asessment is sought.

   (6)  Other information that might be reasonably required on the application form to confirm the location and ownership of the land, the land use category or categories of the land and whether the land is, in fact, eligible for preferential assessment.

   (7)  The signation of all of the owners of the land.

   (b)  Application form and worksheets.  A landowner seeking to apply for preferential assessment under the act shall complete a Clean and Green Valuation Application. The county assessor shall complete the appropriate sections of the current ''Clean and Green Valuation Worksheet'' form for each category of eligible land described in the application. The Department will provide an initial supply of these forms to a county upon request.

   (c)  Obtaining an application and reviewing this chapter. A landowner seeking preferential assessment under the act may obtain an application form and required worksheets from the county board of assessment office. A county assessor shall retain a copy of this chapter at the county board of assessment office, and shall make this copy available for inspection by any applicant or prospective applicant.

   (d)  Required language.  An application for preferential assessment shall contain the following statement:

The applicant for preferential assessment hereby agrees, if the application is approved for preferential assessment, to submit 30 days notice to the county assessor of a proposed change in use of the land, a change in ownership of a portion of the land or of any type of division or conveyance of the land. The applicant for preferential assessment hereby acknowledges that, if the application is approved for preferential assessment, roll-back taxes and interest under the act in 72 P. S. § 5490.5a may be due for a change in use of the land, a change in ownership of a portion of the land, or any type of division or conveyance of the land.

   (e)  Additional information.  A county assessor may require an applicant to provide additional information or documentation necessary to substantiate that the land is eligible for preferential assessment. A county assessor requiring additional information shall notify the applicant in writing and shall clearly state in the notice the reasons why the application or other information or documentation submitted by the applicant is insufficient to substantiate eligibility, and shall identify the particular information the county assessor requests to substantiate eligibility.

   (f)  Signature of all landowners required.  An application for preferential assessment may not be accepted by a county if it does not bear the notarized signature of all of the owners of the land described in the application.

§ 137b.42.  Deadline for submission of applications.

   (a)  General.  A landowner seeking preferential assessment under the act shall apply to the county by June 1. If the application is approved by the county assessor, preferential assessment shall be effective as of the commencement of the tax year of each taxing body commencing in the calendar year immediately following the application deadline.

Example 1: A landowner applies for preferential assessment on or before June 1, 2001. The application is subsequently approved. Preferential assessment shall be effective as of the commencement of the tax year for each taxing body in calendar year 2002.
Example 2: A landowner applies for preferential assessment on or after June 2, 2001, but not later than June 1, 2002. The application is subsequently approved. The application deadline is June 1, 2002. Preferential assessment shall be effective as of the commencement of the tax year for each taxing body in calendar year 2003.

   (b)  Exception: years in which a county implements countywide reassessment. In those years when a county implements a countywide reassessment, or a countywide reassessment of enrolled land, the application deadline shall be extended to either a date 30 days after the finall order of the county board for assessment appeals or by October 15 of the same year, whichever date is sooner. This deadline is applicable regardless of whether judicial review of the order is sought.

§ 137b.43.  Applications where subject land is located in more than one county.

   If a landowner seeks to enroll a tract of land for preferential assessment under the act, and the tract is located in more than one county, the landowner shall file the application with the county assessor in the county to which the landowner pays property taxes.

§ 137b.44.  County processing of applications.

   A county shall accept and process in a timely manner all complete and accurate applications for preferential assessment so that, if the application is accepted, preferential assessment is effective as of the tax year of each taxing body commencing in the calendar year immediately following the application deadline.

Example 1: An application for preferential assessment is filed on or before June 1, 2001. The county must review and process the application so that--if the application is approved--preferential assessment can take effect as of the commencement of the tax year of each taxing body commencing in 2002 (the calendar year immediately following the application deadline).
Example 2: An application for preferential assessment is filed at some point from June 2, 2001, through June 1, 2002. The county must review and process the application so that--if the application is approved--preferential assessment can take effect as of the commencement of the tax year of each taxing body commencing in 2003 (the calendar year immediately following the application deadline).

§ 137b.45.  Notice of qualification for preferential assessment.

   A county assessor shall provide an applicant for preferential assessment under the act with written notification of whether the land described in that application qualifies for that preferential assessment or fails to meet the qualifications for preferential assessment.

§ 137b.46.  Fees of the county board for assessment appeals; recording fees; processing fees.

   (a)  Application processing fee.  A county board for assessment appeals may impose a fee of no more than $50 for processing an application for preferential assessment under the act. This fee may be charged regardless of whether the application is ultimately approved or rejected. This fee is exclusive of any fee which may be charged by the recorder of deeds for recording the application.

   (b)  Circumstances under which initial application shall be amended without charge.  A county board for assessment appeals may not charge a fee for amending an initial application for preferential assessment.

   (c)  Recording fees.  A recording fee may not be assessed if an applicaiton for preferential assessment is not approved.

PREFERENTIAL ASSESSMENT

§ 137b.51.  Assessment procedures.

   (a)  Use values and land use subcategories to be provided by the Department.  The Department will determine the land use subcategories and provide county assessors use values for each land use subcategory. The Department will provide these land use subcategories and use values to each county assessor by May 1 of each year.

   (b)  Determining use values and land use subcategories.

   (1)  Agricultural use and agricultural reserve.  In calculating appropriate county-specific agricultural use values and agricultural reserve use values, and land use subcategories, the Department will consult with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology of the College of Agricultural Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA-ERS, USDA-NRCS and other sources the Department deems appropriate. In determining county-specific agricultural use and agricultural reserve use values, the Department will use the income approach for asset valuation.

   (2)  Forest reserve.  In calculating appropriate county-specific forest reserve use values and land use subcategories, the Department will consult with the Bureau of Forestry of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

   (c)  County assessor to determine total use value.

   (1)  For each application for preferential assessment, the county assessor shall establish a total use value for land in agricultural use and agricultural reserve, including farmstead land, by considering available evidence of the capability of the land for its particular use utilizing the USDA-NRCS Agricultural Land Capability Classification system and other information available from USDA-ERS, the Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Statistics Service. Contributory value of farm buildings, as calculated in accordance with § 137b.54 (relating to calculating the contributory value of farm buildings), shall be used.

   (2)  For each application for preferential assessment, the county assessor shall establish a total use value for land in forest reserve, including farmstead land, by considering available evidence of the capability of the land for its particular use. Contributory value of farm buildings, as calculated in accordance with § 137b.54 shall be used.

   (d)  Determining preferential assessment.  The preferential assessment of land is determined by multiplying the number of acres in each land use subcategory by the use value for that particular land use subcategory, adding these products and multiplying the total by the county's established predetermined ratio. The Department will establish land use subcategories as part of the procedure to establish use values.

   (e)  Option of county assessors to establish and use lower use values.  A county assessor may establish use values for land use subcategories that are less than the use values established by the Department for those same land use subcategories. A county assessor may use these lower use values in determining preferential assessments under the act. Regardless of whether the county assessor applies use values established by the Department or lower use values established by the county assessor, the county assessor shall apply the use values uniformly when calculating or recalculating preferential assessments, and shall apply these use values to the same land use subcategories as established by the Department. Calculation and recalculation of preferential assessments shall be made in accordance with § 137b.53 (relating to calculation and recalculation of preferential assessment). A county assessor may not, under any circumstances, establish or apply use values that are higher than those use values established by the Department.

   (f)  Option of county assessors to select between county-established use values and use values provided by the Department.  When a county assessor has established use values for land use subcategories, and the use values for some--but not all--of these land use subcategories are lower than those provided by the Department, the county assessor has the option to apply the lower use value with respect to each individual land use subcategory, without regard to whether it was provided by the Department or established by the county assessor.

§ 137b.52.  Duration of preferential assessment.

   (a) General.  Enrolled land shall remain under preferential assessment for as long as it continues to meet the minimum qualifications for preferential assessment. Land that is in agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve shall remain under preferential assessment even if its use changes to either of the other two land use categories.

Example: A landowner owns a 100-acre tract of enrolled land, consisting of 85 acres in agricultural use and 15 acres in forest reserve. If the landowner later amends his application to one in which 60 acres are in agricultural use, 30 acres are in agricultural reserve and 10 acres are in forest reserve, the entire 100-acre tract continues to receive preferential assessment (although different use values and land use subcategories may apply in recalculating the preferential assessment).

   (b)  No termination of preferential assessment without change of use.  An owner of enrolled land may not unilaterally terminate or waive the preferential assessment of enrolled land. Preferential assessment terminates as of the change of use of the land to something other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve. It is this event--the change of use of the enrolled land to something other than agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve--that terminates preferential assessment and triggers liability for roll-back taxes and interest.

   (c)  Split-offs, separations, transfers and other events. Split-offs that meet the size, use and aggregate acreage requirements in section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.6(a.1)(1)(i)), separations and transfers under the act or this chapter will not result in termination of preferential assessment on the land which is retained by the landowner and which continues to meet the requirements of section 3 of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3). In addition, the following events will not result in termination of preferential assessment on that portion of enrolled land which continues to meet the requirements of section 3 of the act:

   (1)  The lease of a portion of the enrolled land to be used for a wireless or cellular communication tower in accordance with section 6(b.1) of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.6(b.1)) and § 137b.73 (relating to wireless or cellular telecommunications facilities).

   (2)  The change of use of a portion of the enrolled land to another land use category (agricultural use, agricultural reserve or forest reserve).

   (3)  Condemnation of a portion of the land.

   (4)  The sale or donation of a portion of the enrolled land to any of the entities described in section 8(b)(1)--(7) of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.8(b)(1)--(7)), for the purposes described in that section, and § 137b.74 (relating to option to accept or forgive roll-back taxes in certain instances).

   (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 § 137b.72 (relating to direct commercial sales of agriculturally related products and activities; rural enterprises incidental to the operational unit).

   (6)  The conveyance of a portion of the enrolled land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a cemetery, in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and § 137b.75 (relating to conveyance of enrolled land for use as a cemetery).

   (7)  The conveyance of a portion of the enrolled land to a nonprofit corporation for use as a trail, in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and § 137b.76 (relating to conveyance of enrolled land or conveyance 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 § 137b.71 (relating to death of an owner of enrolled land).

   (d)  Payment of roll-back taxes does not affect preferential assessment of remaining land. The payment of roll-back taxes and interest under the act and this chapter may not result in termination of preferential assessment on the remainder of the land covered by preferential assessment. The landowner may terminate preferential assessment on enrolled land subject to roll-back taxes by submitting written notice under section 3(d) of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.3(d)).

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 that 2-acre tract is used 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 preferential assessment, the 98-acre tract shall continue to receive preferential assessment. Also, roll-back taxes and interest 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. Roll-back taxes and interest are due with respect to the 2-acre tract. Landowner B does not erect the permitted residential dwelling, but converts the 2-acre tract to commercial use. Landowner B owes roll-back taxes and interest with respect to the entire 100-acre tract (under section 6(a.1) of the act). Landowner A has no liability for any of the roll-back taxes and interest which were triggered and are owed by Landowner B as a result of the conversion of the 2-acre tract to commercial use. 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 3 of the act, it shall continue to receive 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 3 of the act. No roll-back taxes are due. The entire 100-acre tract shall continue to receive 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 and interest 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 3 of the act, it shall continue to receive 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 3 of the act, it shall continue to receive preferential assessment under the act.

   (e)  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 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 3 of the act, all 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 § 137b.73 (relating to wireless or cellular telecommunications facilities), 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 a rural enterprise incidental to the operational unit, in accordance with section 8(d) of the act and § 137b.72 the land so used for those purposes.

   (8)  In the case when a portion of enrolled land is conveyed to a nonprofit corporation for use as a cemetery in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and § 137b.75 the land so transferred.

   (9)  In the case when a portion of the enrolled land is conveyed to a nonprofit corporation for use as a trail in accordance with section 8(e) of the act and § 137b.76 (relating to death of an owner of enrolled land or conveyance of an easement or right-of-way across enrolled land for use as a trail), 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 § 137b.71 the portion that fails to meet the requirements for preferential assessment in section 3 of the act.

   (f)  Termination of preferential assessment on erroneously-enrolled land. If a county assessor erroneously allowed the enrollment of land that did not, at the time of enrollment, meet the minimum qualifications for preferential assessment, the county assessor shall, in accordance with section 3(d)(2) of the act provide the landowner written notice that preferential assessment is to be terminated. The notice shall state the reasons for termination and afford the landowner the opportunity for a hearing. If the use of the land was not an eligible use at the time it was enrolled, and preferential assessment is terminated for that reason, no roll-back taxes shall be due from the landowner as a result.

   (g)  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 does not trigger the imposition of roll-back taxes.

§ 137b.53.  Calculation and recalculation of preferential assessment.

   (a)  New values each year.  As described in § 137b.51 (relating to assessment procedures), the Department will determine the land use subcategories and provide to 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 May 1 of each year.

   (b)  Option of county assessor in calculation of preferential assessment.  A county assessor shall calculate the preferential assessment of enrolled land using one of the following methods:

   (1)  Calculate the preferential assessment of all of the enrolled land in the county each year.

   (2)  Establish a base year for preferential assessment of enrolled land in the county, and use this base year in calculating the preferential assessment of enrolled land in the county, unless recalculation is required under subsection (c), (d), (e) or (f).

   (c)  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.

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.

   (d)  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 § 137b.51.

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.

   (e)  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 § 137b.51.

   (f)  Required recalculation of preferential assessment in countywide reassessment. If a county undertakes a countywide reassessment, or a countywide 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.

§ 137b.54.  Calculating the contributory value of farm buildings.

   A county assessor shall be responsible to calculate the contributory value of farm buildings on enrolled land. The method of calculating the contributory value of a farm building shall be a method based upon the fair market comparison and the extraction of the value of the farm building from the total fair market value of the parcel.

OBLIGATIONS OF THE OWNER
OF ENROLLED LAND

§ 137b.61.  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 acknowledgments required under section 4(c) of the act (72 P. S. § 5490.4(c)).

§ 137b.62.  Enrolled ''agricultural use'' land of less than 10 contiguous acres.

   (a)  Demonstration of anticipated yearly gross income from agricultural production. If a landowner has a contiguous tract of less than 10 acres of enrolled agricultural use land, the county assessor may require the landowner to demonstrate each year that the anticipated yearly gross income from the production of agricultural commodities on the enrolled land is at least $2,000. A landowner may not be required to demonstrate more than once per year that the enrolled land has sufficient anticipated yearly gross income from the production of agricultural commodities to continue to receive preferential assessment. A county assessor requiring additional information shall notify the landowner in writing and shall clearly state in the notice the reasons why the information or documentation submitted by the landowner fails to demonstrate sufficiency of income, and shall identify the particular information the county assessor requests to demonstrate sufficiency of income.

   (b)  Annual requirement; circumstances beyond the landowner's control. The $2,000 anticipated annual gross income requirement referenced in this section shall be met each year, unless circumstances beyond the landowner's control are the cause of the requirement not being met.

   (c)  Examples.

Example 1: A landowner owns 9 acres of enrolled land. The land contains a 9-acre orchard, and is enrolled as agricultural use land. Although the landowner reasonably anticipated production well above the $2,000 minimum production requirement in a particular year, and represented that to the county assessor, a drought, hailstorm or blight causes the orchard's production to drop below $2,000 that year. Preferential assessment of the orchard shall continue.
Example 2: A landowner owns 9 acres of enrolled land. The land contains a 9-acre orchard, and is enrolled as agricultural use land. A plant disease destroys the fruit trees. Although the landowner replants the orchard, it will take several years for gross income from agricultural production from that orchard to meet the $2,000 requirement. Preferential assessment of the orchard shall continue.
Example 3: A landowner owns 8 acres of enrolled land. The tract generates over $2,000 in gross annual income from production of an agricultural commodity. The landowner ceases the production of that particular agricultural commodity and does not begin producing another agricultural commodity on the land. The land is no longer in agricultural use. The landowner's failure to continue the land in an agricultural use capable of producing income constitutes a change to an ineligible use. The landowner is liable for roll-back taxes and interest, and preferential assessment shall terminate.

§ 137b.63.  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 preferentially assessed 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, conveyance, transfer, separation or split-off of the enrolled land.

   (b)  Contents of notice. The notice described in subsection (a) shall include the following information:

   (1)  The name and address of any person to whom the land is being conveyed, granted or donated.

   (2)  The date of the proposed transfer, separation or split-off.

   (3)  The amount of land to be transferred, separated or split-off.

   (4)  The present use of the land to be transferred, separated or split-off.

   (5)  The date of the original application for preferential assessment under the act.

   (6)  The tax parcel number.

   (c)  Landowner's responsibility to provide notice of termination of preferential assessment. An owner of enrolled land shall provide the county assessor of the county in which the land is preferentially assessed with advance written notice of termination of preferential assessment, under § 137b.52(d) (relating to duration of preferential assessment) or § 137b.84 (relating to split-off that does not comply with section 6(a.1)(1)(i) of the act). The notice shall include the following information:

   (1)  The name and address of the landowner.

   (2)  Information sufficient to identify the property with respect to which preferential assessment is to be terminated. This may include tax parcel numbers, deed descriptions, references to the place of recording of the initial application for preferential assessment or similar information.

   (3)  The date upon which preferential assessment is to be terminated.

   (d)  Landowner's duty to notify. As stated in § 137b.41(d) (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 described in subsection (a).

§ 137b.64.  Agricultural reserve land to be open to the public.

   (a)  General.  An owner of enrolled land that is enrolled as agricultural reserve land shall allow the land to be open to the public for outdoor recreation or the enjoyment of scenic or natural beauty without charge or fee, on a nondiscriminatory basis. Enrolled land that is in agricultural use or forest reserve is excluded from this requirement.

   (b)  Actual use by public not required. Enrolled land that is enrolled as agricultural reserve land need not actually be used by the public for the purposes described in subsection (a) to continue to receive a preferential assessment. It shall, however, be available for use for those purposes.

   (c)  Reasonable restrictions on use allowed.  A landowner may place reasonable restrictions on public access to enrolled land that is enrolled as agricultural reserve land. These restrictions might include limiting access to the land to pedestrians only, prohibiting hunting or the carrying or discharge of firearms on the land, prohibiting entry where damage to the land might result or where hazardous conditions exist, or other reasonable restrictions.

   (d)  Entry upon the agricultural reserve land.  A person shall, whenever possible, notify the landowner before entering upon enrolled land that is enrolled as agricultural reserve land. The landowner may deny entry when damage to the property might result. The landowner can prohibit entry to areas of the agricultural reserve land upon prior notification to the county assessor of the existence of a hazardous condition on that land. The landowner's reasons to deny entry to the land shall be based upon fact and be acceptable to the county assessor.

   (e)  County assessor's discretion.  A county assessor may establish reasonable guidelines by which an owner of enrolled agricultural reserve land may identify the conditions under which the land shall be open to the public for outdoor recreation or the enjoyment of scenic or natural beauty, and by which the county assessor may maintain an up-to-date summary of the locations of agricultural reserve land within the county and the public uses to which these agricultural reserve lands may be put. A county assessor may disseminate this information to the public.

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