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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 13

Opinions of Counsel index

Agricultural exemption (commitment) (subsequent owner) - Agriculture and Markets Law, § 306:

Section 306 of the Agriculture and Markets Law requires the commitment of land used in agricultural production to a continued agricultural use for eight years as a prerequisite to filing for an agricultural value assessment. An owner of land so committed desiring such an assessment next year must file a new eight year commitment in that year. If a new owner wishes to negate a commitment made by a prior owner without suffering the penalty tax, he must keep the land in an agricultural state and must not take advantage of the agricultural value assessment for whatever period the commitment would remain in force.

Our opinion has been requested regarding the filing of an individual eight year commitment to continued agricultural production pursuant to section 306 of the Agriculture and Markets Law. The question is whether a subsequent owner of the committed land must file another commitment form for the next tax year.

Section 306 requires the commitment of land used in agricultural production to a continued agricultural use for eight years as a prerequisite for submitting an application for an agricultural value assessment for lands located outside of agricultural districts. This commitment subjects the land to a restricted use and provides that if such commitment is violated by conversion to a nonfarm use, a penalty tax shall be levied equal to twice the amount of taxes payable by the owner the year following conversion. Such commitment is filed with the county clerk and is registered in the deed book.

Upon proper commitment of land to agricultural use, the owner must then submit to his local assessor an application for an agricultural value assessment. This application must be filed each year and must be accompanied each year by an additional eight year commitment.

In the given factual situation, the new owner must submit a new commitment with the county clerk and then submit a copy of such commitment with his assessor in addition to the application for an agricultural value assessment. This necessarily means that such land will be under a continual eight year restriction if the owner wishes to take advantage of the agricultural value assessment each year. It is the owner of record as of taxable status date that must submit these forms.

If a new owner wishes to negate a commitment made by a prior owner without suffering the penalty tax, he must keep his land in an agricultural state and must not take advantage of the agricultural value assessment for whatever period the commitment would remain in force.

August 21, 1974

Updated: