Filing Texas Farm and Ranch Land Ag and Open Space Exemptions

If you purchased Texas farm and ranch land in 2018, it is now time for you to file for your “open space” or “ag use” exemption. Over the past 15 years of working farm and ranch land transactions in and around Wharton, Colorado, Jackson, Matagorda, Lavaca and Fort Bend Counties, one common misconception buyers have is assuming the ag exemption automatically rolls to the new owner. Much like homestead exemptions, this is not the case!

True story. Several years ago (when I was financing farm and ranch land), I had a customer that purchased farm land from his neighbor, (he previously leased it for many years)and he forgot to reapply for his agricultural exemption. He missed the deadline and was stuck with paying a signification property tax bill for that year. Point of the story? DON’T MISS THE DEADLINE!

When To File?

The deadline is before May 1.

What Properties Qualify?

Each county in Texas adopts specific agricultural use guidelines regarding minimum livestock stocking density, acreage per tract and productivity yields. Just because it is rural and has an agricultural connection, does not mean it will qualify for the exemption. Here is a link to the Texas State Comptroller website with more details:

For more details visit your County’s Central Appraisal District website. Here are the links for Wharton County:

What Happens if I Miss The Deadline?

You could be responsible to pay property taxes on the fair market value

Where Can I Go To Get More Information?

Start off by contacting the county Central Appraisal District where the property is located. Also, you might want to take the time to read this article from Texas A&M Agrilife Extension’s Blog. Their “Texas Agricultural Law Blog” is a wealth of information and it is something I reference on a consistent basis along with their Podcast.

Do You Have No Idea What an Open Space or Agricultural Use Tax Exemption Is?

If you are not familiar with agricultural tax exemptions and are looking to purchase farm and ranch land in Texas, start with the Texas Comptrollers website, the County’s Central Appraisal District where the property would be located, or the “Texas Agricultural Law Blog”

Do you have any futher questions? Feel free to CONTACT ME in any way! If you want to know more about my personal and professional background and how I can help you buy or sell real estate, be sure to check out the rest of my website, or click the links to by social media account at the top of the page.

-Cori Radley

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