Tax assessors determine which land qualifies as farmland. The State Farmland Evaluation Committee annually sets values for agricultural productivity that assessors must use to determine the farmland’s value.
Accepted Agricultural/Horticultural Practices under Farmland Assessment
The State Department of Agriculture has provided advisory guidelines that describe generally accepted agricultural/horticultural practices. These guidelines may be used by tax assessors and other tax officials to assist in determining whether land is actively devoted and meets the requirements for Farmland Assessment.
File the Application For Farmland Assessment (Form FA-1 and the Supplemental Farmland Assessment Form (FA-1 G.S. with your tax assessor on or before August 1.
If woodland is included in the acreage, then you also must file the Woodland Data Form (Form WD-1 with the other forms.
Criteria for Eligibility
- You must own at least 5 contiguous acres devoted to agricultural/horticultural use;
- Land must be devoted to agricultural/horticultural uses for at least two consecutive years prior to the tax year;
- You must apply for Farmland Assessment with the tax assessor on or before August 1 of the pretax year;
- Land must continue in agricultural/horticultural use to the end of the tax year for which application is made;
- Gross sales of crops or livestock must total at least $1,000 per year for the first 5 acres, plus $5 per acre for each additional acre;
- Gross sales of woodland/wetland under a Woodland Management Plan must total at least $500 per year for the first 5 acres, plus 50 cents per acre for any additional acres;
- For farm management units less than 7 acres, a descriptive narrative of agricultural/horticultural uses, a sketch of their location, and number of acres actively devoted is required.
Denial and Appeal Rights
On or before November 1 of the pretax year, your assessor must send you a notice if you are denied Farmland Assessment. The Notice must state the reason(s) for the denial and inform you of your right to appeal to the County Board of Taxation.
If your application is denied, you can file Appeal Form A-1 with the County Board of Taxation on or before the next April 1.
If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the County Board of Taxation, you may appeal to the Tax Court of New Jersey.
Read the materials below for more information:
- Handbook for New Jersey Assessors (Chapter Six)
- New Jersey’s Farmland Assessment Program: A Brochure
- New Jersey Department of Agriculture
- New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Assessment Overview
- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
- Rutgers Cooperative County Extension Offices
If land use changes, from agricultural/horticultural to non-farm, roll-back taxes are assessed.
- Are applied for the year the change takes place and the two previous years, provided the land was farmland assessed during that time;
- Are the difference between the amount assessed for qualified farmland and the amount assessed for non-farmland in the taxing district;
- Become a lien on the land from January of the year in which the roll-back judgment is rendered by the County Board of Taxation;
- Are not generated when a new owner continues to actively use the property as farmland.
Cropland, woodland or livestock farming having no planned activity or inadequate devotion to agricultural/horticultural use may lose Farmland Assessment.
FEC values for Farmland Assessment
FEC Booklet for Productivity Values
Farmland Data Report
Non-appurtenant woodland is land neither supportive nor subordinate to other farmland.
- It can only qualify for Farmland Assessment on the basis of being in compliance with a Woodland Management Plan;
- This plan must be filed with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection;
- Non-appurtenant woodland is actively devoted to the production of tree and forest products.
Appurtenant woodland is land that is next to, or part of, or beneficial to a tract of land.
Woodland Management Plan
- The tract of land must have a minimum of at least 5 acres devoted to agricultural/horticultural uses;
- These uses must be other than the production of trees and forest products (excluding Christmas trees), to which the tract of land is supportive and subordinate
If you own non-appurtenant woodland, you are required to have a Management Plan. This plan is:
- Usually drawn up by a professional forester; and
- Approved by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry, Department of Environmental Protection.
The Woodland Management Plan and all forms, including the FA-1GS, must be submitted to the tax assessor.
You must submit a copy of the following to the New Jersey Forest Service Regional Offices that serves the county in which the property is located: