Applications for Open-Space Agricultural Use Appraisal—What You Need to Know to Protect Your Ag Use Valuation
If you own land and have claimed an agricultural exemption, you may be familiar with the Texas Comptroller’s Application for 1-d-1 (Open-Space) Agricultural Use Appraisal. Certain landowners have recently received notices—surprisingly, in some cases—from their appraisal districts requesting that they file a new application, despite having previously received the appraisal. The precise reasons for reapplication differ, but the counties generally appear to have initiated this process to update information in their records.
Generally, it is true that a landowner only needs to file one application and have an appraisal allowed to maintain eligibility in subsequent years. The Texas Tax Code, however, permits appraisal districts to “require a person allowed appraisal . . . in a prior year to file a new application to confirm that the land is currently eligible for appraisal” if the chief appraiser has “good cause” to believe that the land lost its eligibility. In that case, the chief appraiser must deliver written notice that a new application is required, accompanied by the application form, to the person who filed the previous application.
The Texas Comptroller has prescribed an application (available at https://comptroller.texas.gov/taxes/property-tax/ag-timber/index.php) that contains certain items required by statute. For example, the application contains a section that allows the landowner to indicate that an appraisal was allowed the previous year and then provide only the information that has changed since the earlier application or any information requested by the chief appraiser.
To retain eligibility for an open-space agricultural use appraisal, forms must be filed no later than April 30. A chief appraiser, however, may extend the filing deadline for up to 60 days for good cause. An untimely filing or failure to notify the appraisal district of a change in eligibility could result in substantial financial penalties.