Ohio farmland owners who created wetlands on their property as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wetlands Reserve Program may no longer receive a farmland property tax break. Last year, the Ohio Department of Taxation gave county auditors a new interpretation of the state law that will prevent private landowners from receiving the farmland property tax break that was promised to continue when they opted in to the program.
According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, the new interpretation was spurred after an ongoing rift in Ashtabula County. The county auditor argued that an Ashtabula company that runs two wetlands-mitigation banks should not receive a tax break because the land cannot be farmed and the banks, because they are built to replace destroyed wetlands, benefit developers rather than agriculture.
Agriculture advocates argue that the state is outright wrong.
“Any land enrolled in a federal conservation program qualifies,” said Chad Endsley, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s agricultural-law director, to the Columbus Dispatch. “The law has not changed.”
The new law interpretation will affect more than 20,600 acres of Ohio farmland enrolled in the USDA Wetlands Reserve Program.
Read more at The Columbus Dispatch
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