Cattaraugus County is home to a couple of potentially useful Agricultural exemptions. These exemptions are meant to help the Ag producer by reducing their tax burden.
NYS Sales Tax Exemption Forms
Some NYS Sales Tax Exemption Forms for Agricultural businesses. We know New York State has a lot of forms so we've taken some time to break them down into lists.
Avoid Sales Tax on Qualified Items
The NYS Form ST-125 should be used to avoid sales tax on qualified items (other than fuel) at the time of purchase. Once you've done this, be sure you set up an account with your farm's information at your local stores.
Obtain a refund for Sales Tax Paid
The NYS Form AU-11 is for use in obtaining a refund for sales tax paid on items qualified for exemption.
Sales Tax Exemption on a qualified Vehicle Purchased from a Non-Dealer
The NYS Form DTF-803 is for use in claiming the sales tax exemption on a qualified vehicle purchased from a non-dealer. Item number 13 provides the exemption.
Fuel Tax Exemption Forms
The NYS Form FT-1004 is for a Certificate for Purchases of Non-Highway Diesel Motor Fuel or Residual Petroleum Product for Farmers and Commercial Horse Boarding Operations
This is the most widespread exemption used by those in the Ag industry. There are a couple of important items to keep in mind with this exemption:
Land generally must consist of seven or more acres that were used in the preceding two years for the production for sale of crops, livestock, or livestock products.
The annual gross sales of agricultural products generally must average $10,000 or more for the preceding two years. If an agricultural enterprise is less than seven acres, it may quality if average annual gross sales equal $50,000 or more. Land that supports a commercial horse boarding operation may qualify for an agricultural assessment if the following eligibility requirements are met:
at least seven acres of land supports the commercial horse boarding operation;
the operation boards at least 10 horses regardless of ownership; and
the operation receives $10,000 or more in gross receipts annually in the preceding two years from fees generated through boarding horses and/or through producing sale of crops, livestock, and livestock products. (Land that supports operations whose primary on site function is horse racing is not eligible.)
A start-up operation may qualify based on its annual gross sales of agricultural products in the operation's first or second year. Such annual sales must amount to at least $10,000, if the start-up operation has seven or more acres, or to at least $50,000, if the start-up operation has less than seven acres in agricultural production.
A start-up commercial horse boarding operation may also qualify based on annual boarding fees of $10,000 or more in its first or second year.
There are many caveats to this exemption: rented land, land outside an agricultural district, exceptions to gross sales, orchard/vineyard/apiary, all of these topics have a broader definition when talking about the Agricultural Assessment. More information can be found here.
The application procedure
The landowner's first step in applying for an agricultural assessment is to go to the Cattaraugus County Soil and Water Conservation District office. There, all farmland to be enrolled in the program will be classified by soil productivity. A District technician plots each farm tax parcel of the farm online, and calculates the acreage in each soil group. The landowner should work with the technician to outline woodland areas and ineligible areas. The landowner may exclude any area from the program and this area should be clearly defined and marked on the map. The technician records the information on a "Soil Group Worksheet" (Form APD-1).
Next, the landowner, transfers this soil information to the "Application for an Agricultural Assessment" (form RP-305), available from the assessor's office, or here, and indicates any farm woodland on the parcel. The landowner then submits the completed RP-305 application form along with copies of the completed APD-1 soil group worksheet and the soil map to the assessor by taxable status date, which is March 1st for all of Cattaraugus County.
Landowners must file an application each year with the local assessor. After the initial application, a short version may be used if there have been no changes since the previous year's application. See Form RP-305-r, Agricultural Assessment Application Renewal.
Farm Building Exemptions
This is the second most utilized “tax break” for the local Agricultural producers. It allows for a 10-year property tax exemption on newly built buildings that are:
Essential to the operation of lands actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use.
Must actually be used and occupied to carry out the agricultural or horticultural operations.
The farmland must actually be used in bona fide agricultural or horticultural production carried on for profit.
The farmland must not be less than five acres in area.
An application for exemption must be filed within one year of completion of construction.
The agricultural structures and buildings will be exempt from any increase in the property's assessed value resulting from the improvement. The NYS Application for Tax Exemption of Agricultural and Horticultural Buildings and Structures (RP-483-INS), and more information can be found in the New York State Farm Building Exemptions Questions & Answers flyer.