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Farmland property tax payments could be lower, eventually

Farmland property tax payments could be lower, eventually

Legislative action and formula working through leaner years will eventually put brakes on increases.

The good news is that your property tax bill on bare farmland shouldn't be higher a year from now than it was for what you just paid. The first installment for this year was due on May 11.

The better news is that assessed values will increase more slowly over the next few years than they would have under the existing formula for the next few years. Even better yet, at some point the formula will produce lower values than the new system devised by the legislature. At that point you will be assessed based on the lower of the two values.

Related: Indiana legislative victory: Property taxes you won't have to pay

Rise and fall of farmland values: Thanks to legislative action recently, farmland assessment should never get as high as it would have without action.

The bad news is that intersection of the slow growth model and the existing formula doesn't happen until 2024. Even then you will pay more than you do today.

If the existing formula is left in place and crop prices stay down, values could eventually decrease again to current levels. That would be somewhere around 2030, and crystal balls have a hard time staying clear that far out, especially if the crystal ball involves the legislature, and it does.

Katrina Hall, state director of legislative services for Indiana Farm Bureau, explains what will happen over the next few years with property tax values, based on the legislation passed this session. The assessed value for land in 2016 will be $2,050 per acre, same as in 2015, she says. Then in 2017 through 2023, value will be $2,105, $2,162, $2,221, $2,281, 2,342, $2,404 and $2,470, respectively.

However, without changes enacted this session, assessed values for bare farmland would have peaked at $3,230 per acre in 2020 under the existing formula. By 2024, the formula will actually produce an amount lower than the revised method, with the projected assessment for 2024 at $2,390 per acre, and for 2025 at $2,339 per acre.

Related: What the future holds for Indiana farm land property taxes

The bottom line – tax bills will increase modestly on bare farmland for the next several years, then back off, but still remain above $2,000 per acre into the foreseeable future unless the legislature comes up with a revised formula in the near future. Indiana Farm Bureau has researched a variety of other methods to reduce farmland taxes, and will be offering those in the months to come.

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