Applications must be received by June 1st to be considered for any assessment reduction for the following taxing year. Also to be included with the application is an affidavit form, a tracing or plan of the property showing shape, acreage and/or dimensions and a $50.00 application fee.
All property owners must sign the application form and the letter of acceptance in order to qualify.
There are three categories to be considered when entering ACT 319. They are Agricultural Use meaning the property is currently being farmed and producing farm products, Agricultural Reserve which categorizes land which is not currently being farmed but is not covered with trees. Forest Reserve land which is tree covered. You may choose one category or a combination of 2 or even 3 categories. You must choose the category which is the actual use of your property.
Agriculture Reserve is open to the public for passive recreational uses and free of charge on a non-discriminatory basis. The land owner may place reasonable restrictions on the use.
The minimum size for applying is 10 acres. Agricultural Use applications may be less than 10 acres of land if the property owner can prove at least $ 2,000.00 in annual income from the sale of farm products.
There are restrictions in splitting off or selling any of the land once you are entered into the program. You are allowed to split off 10% or 10 acres of the total land whichever is the least. I.e. (1) You own 12.3 acres of land so the maximum that you can ever split off your tract is 1.23 acres. The split-off parcel must be used for residential use or open space use only. (2) You own 98.5 acres and therefore can split off 9.85 acres BUT not more than 2.00 acres per year. Again, the parcel split off must be used for residential or open space purposes only. There will be a roll back tax lien against the smaller split off parcel.
If your tract is large enough you may be able to separate a tract of land of 10+ acres or more as long as the new 10 acre tract remains in ACT 319. The remaining tract must also be 10 acres of more.
The Department of Agriculture provide the Assessment Office with the land rates every year. The county has the option to implement these values or use lower values that the county has developed on its own.
Our office keeps records of your regular assessment and your 319 assessment. If a landowner breaches the covenant and creates a violation of the Act, there will be a roll-back tax lien filed against the property. The roll-back is the difference between what was paid under Clean and Green versus what would have been paid if the property had not been enrolled, plus 6% simple interest per year. Tax Claim Bureau costs are also added to this lien. This tax lien will be filed for the past six (6) years and the current taxing year.
Once you enter into ACT 319, current regulations state that you will remain in ACT 319 until a violation of the Act occurs. If a violation does occur, the property owners have the right to submit a letter stating that they no longer wish to remain in ACT 319 and the property will be removed from the Act. If the office does not receive a letter, the remaining land (if it still qualifies) will be reentered in the Clean and Green program.
ACT 109 of 2010 allows the voluntary withdrawal of properties from ACT 319 if the property owner gives written notification by June 1st and pays the rollback.
ACT 319 has many rules and regulations to be followed. If you have questions about the ACT, you may call our office at (570) 517-3133. You may also go to The Department of Agriculture for a complete copy of the rules and regulations.
The attached form must be completed by the current owner to the County Assessor 30 days prior to any proposed transfer, split-off or separation of land enrolled under the ACT.