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Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 85

Opinions of Counsel index

Agricultural exemption (commitment) (subsequently formed agricultural district) - Agriculture and Markets Law, §§ 305, 306:

If land committed pursuant to section 306 of the Agriculture and Markets Law is subsequently included in an agricultural district, the provisions of law relating to agricultural districts will apply to such land which will no longer be treated as being under an eight-year commitment, and the roll-back penalty provision contained in section 305 (e) will become applicable.

We have received an inquiry concerning the Agricultural Districts Law (Agriculture and Markets Law, Article 25AA) . A landowner of qualified lands located outside an agricultural district may apply for an agricultural value assessment by first committing his lands to continued agricultural production. Our opinion is requested as to whether the statutory provisions relating to lands outside of districts (§ 306) would continue to apply should the property be included in a subsequently created agricultural district.

To be eligible for an agricultural value assessment pursuant to section 306 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, an owner of qualified lands located outside an agricultural district may file a commitment with the county clerk to continue to use his land in commercial agricultural production for the next succeeding eight years. Conversion of such land to nonagricultural use during the period of commitment disqualifies the land from agricultural value assessment and subjects the land to a penalty representing three times the amount of taxes determined for the year following the breach of commitment. Pursuant to the provisions of section 305 (e) , land receiving an agricultural value assessment, which is located within an agricultural district, upon conversion to a nonagricultural use is subject to a roll-back tax being levied on the land converted for the years in which an exemption was granted, not to exceed a total of five years.

If land committed pursuant to the provision of section 306 is included in a subsequently created agricultural district, the provisions relating to the agricultural value assessment of the land in an agricultural district will apply. It is our opinion that such lands will subsequently be treated as if they are no longer under an eight-year commitment. Therefore, the roll-back penalty provision contained in section 305(e) will become applicable.

Should an owner of such land wish to reapply for an agricultural value assessment he must file an application with the local assessor. He need no longer file an annual commitment with the county clerk. However, under the present provisions of law, the commitment last filed remains on the records of the county clerk as a viable instrument.

March 19, 1975

Updated: