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What are farm and forestland assessments?

Some properties are eligible for reduced assessments through either farm use special assessment or forest special assessment. The guidelines for qualifying for farmland are influenced by zoning. Properties in an Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) zone must be farmed with intent to make a profit. If these properties are employed in a farm activity, and there are annual sales of commodities, the properties may qualify for farm use special assessment.

Properties zoned other than EFU can also qualify for farm assessment using the same guidelines, with two important differences. There are specific income requirements and the operator must file an IRS schedule F. Income must be confirmed by the IRS schedule F or Farm Schedule and said form must be supplied to our office on request. Non-zoned properties must prove that they have met the farm income level for 3 of the past 5 years before they are eligible for farm use special assessment. Property in an EFU zone must have been farmed the prior year to be eligible for special assessment. Property can also receive a designated forestland assessment.

Forestland is identified as being held or used for the predominant purpose of growing and harvesting trees of a marketable species. The property must be adequately stocked with a marketable species. Properties can also qualify based on a formal reforestation plan. Landowners in the Designated Forestland program may make application into the Small Tract Forestland (STF) program if they own 10 to 4,999 designated forestland acres in Oregon. This program is assessed at 20% of the special assessed value. Landowners will pay a privilege tax at harvest.

Once in the STF program landowners cannot opt out. If you purchase land under the STF option and you meet the requirements, you may apply to continue in the program. Application must be made within 30 days after the date the county assessor issues a notice of intent to disqualify under ORS 321.716.
You may file an application for continued qualification after the date stated above if:
The application is filed on or before December 15 of the first year the land would have otherwise been disqualified from STF, and you pay a $200 late filling fee at the time the application is filed.

Designated Forest landowners who wish not to apply into the STF option will be assessed at 100% of the special assessed value and will not pay a privilege tax at harvest.

If a property is removed from one of these special assessment programs, a disqualification penalty will be calculated and may be collected. (Only collectible if the land is changed significantly enough that it could not go back into the Special Assessed Program). The penalty is basically a 5-year recovery of the tax savings received by being under special assessment. Farm special assessed properties in an EFU zone are subject to a disqualification penalty of up to 10 years; EFU & MPA (Multi-Purpose Agriculture) is up to 10 years; Non-EFU 5 years; and STF up to 10 years. Specific questions regarding these programs should be directed to 541.766.6855.

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