A National AgLaw Center Research Publication

Differential Tax Assessment of Agricultural Lands

Compiled by:
Evin Bachelor
Law Fellow, Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program
Peggy Kirk Hall
Director, OSU Agricultural & Resource Law Program

Property taxes are a fact of life for virtually all landowners in the United States, including farmers and ranchers.  However, all states have laws that tax agricultural land differently than other lands to lower the amount of property taxes farmers and ranchers pay.  The purposes of these “differential tax assessment” laws for farmland are varied, and can be to maintain the economic viability of farming,  remove incentives to  develop agricultural land, protect environmental benefits of farmland, and tax agricultural land according to its cost of community services.  Generally, differential tax assessment discounts the value of the land to reflect its use for agricultural purposes rather than for residential, commercial, or industrial development.  But no two state laws are exactly alike in the specifics of what land qualifies for the assessment, how to calculate the agricultural value of land, and penalties for removing land from agricultural use.  This compilation presents each state’s provisions for differential tax assessment of agricultural land.  Using the map below, click on a state to view its differential tax assessment laws as of January 2019.

This compilation is the result of a collaborative effort between the National Agricultural Law Center and The Ohio State University Agricultural & Resource Law Program.  Further, it is based upon work supported by the National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.