Volume 4 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 88
Agricultural exemption (termination of district) (roll-back taxes) - Agriculture and Markets Law, § 303:
In the event an agricultural district is abolished, all responsibility for maintaining land formerly within the district in an agricultural state, ceases, and no rollback tax may be levied.
We have received an inquiry requesting an opinion as to the applicability of roll-back taxes on land receiving an agricultural value assessment which is located within an agricultural district. The question is whether the roll-back penalty provisions will continue unaffected should a district be discontinued after the eighth year review.
The Agricultural Districts Law (Agriculture and Markets Law, Article 25AA) provides that an established agricultural district must be reviewed every eight years by the county legislative body. At that time, such body may retain the district in its present form, amend the district by either subtracting or adding acreage or abolish the district entirely (§ 303(8)).
If the county legislative body continues the district for another eight year period, any conversion of land receiving an agricultural value assessment will result in a roll-back tax being levied for the previous five years. However, in the event that the agricultural district is abolished, all responsibility for maintaining land in an agricultural state formerly contained within the district ceases, and it is our opinion that in the absence of authority to the contrary, a roll-back tax may not be levied.
March 19, 1975