Agricultural Classification

The Agricultural Classification, commonly referred to as the "green belt" assessment, while not an exemption, may result in lower property tax bills for qualified property owners. The agricultural use classification should not be confused with zoning. If your land is used for a bona fide commercially viable operation producing an agricultural product that is actively marketed, you may request an agricultural filing at the Property Appraiser's Office.



ANNUAL RENEWAL REQUIRED

The special assessment is not automatic and application must be made by March 1 of each year. Your commercial operation must be in existence as of January 1 of the year for which you apply, and only lands actually used in the operation may qualify. The classification cannot be granted on intent to use.



ASSESSMENT FACTORS

An appraiser will visit your land and may consider these factors when determining whether the classified use assessment is appropriate for your property:

  1. The length of time the land has been so utilized;
  2. Whether the use has been continuous;
  3. Size, as it relates to specific agricultural use;
  4. Whether an indicated effort has been made to care sufficiently and adequately for the land in accordance with accepted commercial agricultural practices;
  5. Whether the land is under lease, and if so, the effective length, terms and conditions of the lease;
  6. and other factors that may apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the agricultural use classification differ from an exemption?
They are similar but have important differences. The homestead and other exemptions reduce the taxable value of a property whereas the agricultural classification allows the assessed value to be less than its market value. The agricultural use classification is an assessment tied to the property's use and therefore is not a fixed amount.

How is the amount of savings determined?
The Property Appraiser's Office determines the assessment amount on an individual basis, taking into consideration the applicable Florida laws and unique characteristics of each property and operation. 

Does the agricultural classification always save money?
While the classification is available to all qualified properties, it is not an automatic money saver. It was originally designed by the State of Florida to assist and encourage Florida's ranchers and farmers to keep their land in a commercial agricultural use. Any savings would depend on the type of operation, the number of acres in use and various other factors.

Do my home garden and ranch qualify?
Satisfying as they may be, a farm or other agricultural operation that provides for the owner's personal use is not a commercial operation and does not qualify. Remember, in order to receive the agricultural classification, your land must be used as a commercial enterprise that produces and markets agricultural products. 

Is a home site on a commercial agricultural operation included?
No, a home site and surrounding land, when located on property classified as commercial agricultural, are not included in the classification. The owner may apply for a homestead exemption for that part of the property.

How is leased property treated?
Property that is leased for commercial agricultural purposes is subject to the same classification rules. It is the property owner's responsibility to make sure the lessee is complying with agricultural use classification laws.

When and where do I apply for an agricultural classification?
You must apply at the Property Appraiser's Office on or before March 1 of the year for which you are applying.

What changes affect the classification?
It is your responsibility to let us know any time the property's use changes. If you purchase property that carries the agricultural use classification, you must refile with our office and declare that the property continues to be used for its agricultural purpose in order to keep the classification in place.

How will I be notified if my property qualifies for the agricultural classification?
The approved classification will be reflected in your TRIM Notice which is mailed in August. If your request is denied, our office will notify you by July 1. Please feel free to call the Property Appraiser's Office if you have questions in the meantime.

Is there an appeals process if I disagree?
Always call our office first if you disagree with a disapproval. We will be happy to explain how we reached our decision and review any new information. If you still disagree, you have the right to pursue the same appeals process that applies to exemption denials. 
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