If you own class 2b rural vacant land (not currently being actively farmed) that was enrolled in Green Acres Program for taxes payable in 2008 and grandfathered into Green Acres for subsequent assessments, or if you own land that is part of an agricultural homestead that is enrolled in Green Acres, you may be eligible for Rural Preserve. Application must be made to the County Assessor.
Eligible acres must:
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The Rural Preserve Program is designed to work in conjunction with the changes that were made to the Green Acres Program in 2008 and 2009. Qualifying class 2b land (land not currently being actively farmed) that was previously enrolled in Green Acres may be enrolled in Rural Preserve by May 1, 2013, without being subject to the payback of Green Acres deferred taxes. Learn more about classifications.
Rural Preserve provides property tax relief to taxpayers with eligible class 2b rural vacant land. The program is designed to mirror the Green Acre program which applies to class 2a (actively farmed) land. Like Green Acres, real estate taxes on enrolled land are based upon a value that is not influenced by outside factors, such as urban sprawl or demand by buyers for recreational uses.
For properties enrolled in Rural Preserve, taxes are calculated on both the estimated market value (higher value based on the highest and best use) and the agricultural value (lower value). Taxes are calculated on both values, but paid on the lower value each year. The difference between the tax calculated on the higher and lower values is deferred under Rural Preserve until the property is sold or no longer qualifies for the Rural Preserve Program.
When the property is sold, transferred, or no longer qualifies, the deferred tax for the current payable year and the two prior years must be paid to the county.
Simply stated, the agricultural value of a property is the value that the land contributes to an agricultural endeavor. Due to an insufficient number of agricultural sales, the Legislature has directed the Department of Revenue to develop a fair and equitable method for determining agricultural values for each county. Read more about how agricultural value is determined.
Rural Preserve applications must be filed with, and approved by, the County Assessor. The application must include the most recent available aerial photograph or satellite image of the property provided by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that clearly outlines the land you wish to enroll. The County Assessor may also require that other supporting documents be submitted with the application to prove that the property meets all requirements for qualification.
Application forms are available at the County Assessor's Office.
For further information, look at the Rural Preserve Property Tax Program (Fact Sheet 15) (PDF). Please contact the Assessor's Office at 320-983-8311 or 888-280-8311, if you have specific questions about your property. For more information about taxes and programs, visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue.