The Washington State Legislature recognizes that it is in the best interest of the state and its citizens to maintain, preserve and conserve adequate open space lands for the production of food, fiber and forest crops. To support the development and preservation of farm and agricultural lands, the legislature created a property tax deferral program designed to help taxpayers who wish to produce agricultural products for commercial purposes: the Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land program. The Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land program is governed by state statute RCW 84.34 and WAC 458-30 and managed by the Assessor's Office.
Through participation in the Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land program, Washington State encourages the use of natural resources for the economic well-being of the state. As a way to encourage commercial farming in Washington State, landowners may apply to have their land classified as Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land. Property owners that apply and are accepted into the Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land program have their lands valued at their current use rather than at their highest and best use for property tax purposes. This designation often results in a lower assessed value and lower taxes.
Complete applications submitted between January 1st and December 31st are reviewed in the year after they were submitted. Once the approval is recorded, the assessed value is reduced for the year of the approval and taxes are reduced in the following year. Once an application is approved, the land is subject to a back-tax liability if the use of the land changes after being declared Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land.
To qualify to have your property classified as Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land, you must:
- Be actively producing and selling agricultural products for commercial purposes with an intent to obtain a monetary profit where agricultural products are defined by WAC 458-30-200 as:
- livestock and plants that are produced for commercial purposes and includes any agricultural, horticultural, or aquacultural produce or crop
- the raising of livestock, poultry, bees, or fur-bearing animals (in relation to livestock or fur-bearing animals used for food or fiber, "raising" means breeding or increasing the value, size, or weight of the animal)
- the production of milk, eggs, wool, fur, meat, honey, or other substances obtained therefrom
- Meet the minimum income requirements based on the amount of acreage enrolled in the program
- 0-4.99 acres must produce a gross income equal to or greater than $1,500 per year
- 5-19.99 acres must produce a gross income equal to or greater than $200 per acre enrolled in the program per year
- Properties larger than 20 acres must be able to demonstrate the property is devoted primarily to commercial farming activity through the production of livestock or agricultural commodities
- Complete the Application for Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land
- Pay the application fee for the Open Space Farm and Agriculture program ($400.00)
- Provide copies of your Federal 1040 Schedule F for three (3) of the five (5) years prior to application
- Complete the Farm Plan form (all applicant's must sign the form)
Mail your completed and signed application along with copies of the documents listed above to:
Clark County Assessor's Office
Attn: Current Use
PO Box 5000
Vancouver, WA 98666-5000
Help in Applying
If you prefer, you may contact us with your questions via email at email@example.com. We can also be reached by phone at (564) 397-2391.
Removal from Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land Classification
Land classified under the program may be removed if:
- The owner submits a written request to withdraw from current use assessment
- The land is sold or transferred to an ownership making it exempt from ad valorem taxation,
- All or a portion of the land is transferred to a new owner and the new owner does not wish to continue the classification; or
- The Assessor determines, after giving the owner written notice and an opportunity to be heard, that the land is no longer primarily used for and devoted to commercial farming activity.
Change in Ownership or Title of Classified Land
When classified land is sold or transferred to new ownership, the new owner(s) must determine if they would like the property to remain in the program and accept the potential tax liability associated with land in the Open Space Farm and Agricultural Land program. In addition, the new owner must:
- Complete the Notice of Continuance Land Classification as Current Use or Forest Land form,
- Sign section 6(3) of the Real Estate Excise Tax Affidavit form (all grantees must sign), and
- Complete the Farm Plan form (all applicant's must sign the form).
Upon receipt of the required information, the Assessor’s Office will determine if the property is eligible to continue in the classification.
Reclassifying Open Space Farm and Agricultural Lands to Another Classification
If the use of land classified under the program changes, it may be eligible to be reclassified to another Current Use Designation. In order to determine the classification that best suits the new use of the land, please contact our office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (564) 397-2391.