CAUV renewal streamlined by bill, sponsors say

Larry Limpf

A bill that would streamline the process for landowners to re-enroll in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program had its first hearing Tuesday in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Representatives Jason Stephens, R – Kitts Hill, and Gary Scherer, R – Circleville, provided sponsor testimony on House Bill 485 before the Ways and Means Committee, saying it would eliminate the requirement for property owners enrolled in the CAUV program to file renewal applications and the corresponding requirement for county auditors to mail them to growers participating in the program.
The initial CAUV application and accompanying fee would still be required.
Currently, a renewal application must be filed annually before the first Monday in March to continue in the program. The application process also requires county auditors to inspect the farmland to ensure compliance.
“First, requiring these farmers to complete the renewal application every year and requiring the county auditor’s office to check the farmland each year results in unnecessary redundancy and difficulties for working farmers across Ohio,” Scherer and Stephens testified. “Under HB 485, the county auditor’s office will still be required to check the farmland annually, as in current law, but these farmers will no longer be tasked with the renewal of the CAUV application.”
The bill sets two circumstances under which a landowner will still be required to provide documentation the land qualifies for CAUV:
-Owners of less than 10 acres must document the yearly income earned from the land. Such plots qualify only if the land generates at least $2,500 in annual income or is enrolled in a federal conservation program.
-Owners of CAUV land that becomes enrolled in a federal conservation program after initially qualifying for CAUV must provide county auditors a copy of the federal agreement.
CAUV is designed to permit agricultural land values to be set below market values, usually resulting in a savings on property taxes for growers.
“This is an important program that normally sets a substantially lower tax bill for working farmers, helping them out with their property taxes. The administration of this program, however, is cumbersome, expensive and redundant for farmers and their local governments,” the representatives testified.


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