Under the Florida Greenbelt Law, Florida farms for sale that are purchased and used for bona fide agricultural activities excluding wholesaling, retailing, or processing of farm products are to be taxed based on the current “use” value of the property versus its development value, which is typically much higher. This reduced value of the property allows property owners to pay a significantly lower amount in property taxes.
The Application Process
In order for a property to qualify for Greenbelt agricultural classification, the law mandates that the primary use of the property be for bona fide agricultural purposes or “good faith commercial agricultural use.” Farms for sale in Florida that are purchased and used for personal agricultural use do not qualify for agricultural classification.
If the farms for sale in Florida are purchased and in agricultural use as of January 1st for the year in which the property owner intends to apply for agricultural classification, the property owner has until March 1st of the given year to complete and submit the official application to their county tax assessor.
Once the application is received, the property is inspected by a property appraiser who will determine the actual use of the property. Some of the factors that a property appraiser may take into account when determining Greenbelt classification include:
- Length of time the property has been used for agricultural use
- If the agricultural use has been uninterrupted
- The total amount paid for acquisition of the property
- The size of the property with respect to the intended agricultural use of the property
- Any lease agreements that involve the property, the length of the leases, and their terms and conditions
- Whether acceptable agricultural practices are in place for the proper care and tending to of the property
- Financial statements and tax returns
After thorough review and consideration, the application is either approved or denied. If the application is approved, the agricultural classification will automatically be renewed annually unless the property owner informs the tax appraiser of any changes or additions to the property that would affect the agricultural classification. The property will also be re-inspected at least once every three years to verify that the property is still being used for agricultural purposes.
If the application is denied, the owner will be notified by certified mail on or before July 1 and given the opportunity to submit additional information for classification. If after the additional information is provided and the application is again denied, the owner may appeal the appraiser’s decision by filing a petition with the Value Adjustment Board.
Under the Florida Greenbelt Law, the property owner does not have to occupy the property and is not required to be the person who performs the work to qualify for agricultural classification. The property owner can lease their property to other individuals for agricultural use and still qualify for this classification. However, under the Greenbelt Law, the property owner is the one that is held responsible to ensure that their lessees are using the property for the agricultural activities.