Property Tax Valuations

You Have Options to Reduce Your Property Taxes

Types of Property Tax Valuation

If you are a landowner, you have an option to lower your property taxes under “open-space” valuation. These are not “exemptions” as they are commonly called, but special valuations that result in your land being taxed on its productivity value rather than its market value. There are three types of open-space valuation: 1) agricultural; 2) timber; and 3) ecological laboratory (EcoLab). To qualify for agricultural and timber use, the property must have been used primarily for one of those purposes for at least 5 of the preceding 7 years. There is no minimum acreage requirement unless your property was reduced in size the previous year.

Under agricultural valuation, your land can receive a reduced “valuation” that affects your property taxes for activities within approved categories.

  • Growing crops for human or animal food or fiber production
  • Keeping livestock
  • Bailing hay
  • Keeping exotic livestock if they are used for food, fiber, leather, or other commercially valuable products
  • Beekeeping for production of commercially valuable products

Another type of agricultural use is Wildlife Management. In order to qualify, you must have an existing open-space agricultural, timber, or EcoLab valuation. In addition, you must conduct 3 of the following 7 activities annually on your land:

Wildlife Management Activity Categories

  1. Habitat control
  2. Erosion control
  3. Predator control
  4. Providing supplemental supplies of water
  5. Providing supplemental food
  6. Providing shelters
  7. Making census counts to determine population

Under an EcoLab valuation, your land can receive a reduced “valuation” that affects your property taxes for the following activities:

  • The property must be principally used for research by a college and/or university
  • Your land qualifies for Wildlife Valuation after 2 years in EcoLab
  • In addition, typically, to be considered for the EcoLab program administered by Braun & Gresham:

  • Properties must be over 20 acres
  • Landowner commits to funding and accommodating research projects for a 2 year period
  • Land must have a Habitat Assessment conducted

windmill in landscape