On Saturday March 21, 2015, at the NJ Forestry Association’s annual meeting, a session was presented by Patricia Wright, Deputy Director of the Division of Taxation, and Melissa Rockwell, the Sussex County Tax Administrator.   The presentation was regarding matters related to the implementation of the Beck amendment to the Farmland Assessment Act, as well as other clarifications and re-emphasis regarding the income requirement.

Of critical concern to consulting foresters and their clients:

  • The income requirement remains the same ($500 for the first 5 acres) for properties with a woodland management plan, BUT if the property has mixed use and at least 5 acres is in cropland/pasture agricultural use, the property will have to meet the new $1,000 (for the first 5 acres) income requirement.
  • There will be an income supplemental form that all farmland assessed landowners will need to complete.  This form verifies the amount of income produced and its source(s), as well as an oath that the statements provided are true with a penalty of $5,000 if reporting is found to be fraudulent. Click here to download a digital version.

Other aspects of the presentation have been emphasized by Division of Taxation in the past, but bear repeating here:
– Income must come from the calendar year in which the application is being made.
– Imputed value of wood that is used by the landowner may NOT be used as part of the income requirement.
– Income from leases may not be used.
– Income from value-added products cannot be used.  Only the value of the raw material is allowed.

Of these, the clarification of the minimum income requirement is probably the largest surprise.  At previous workshops, Division of Taxation and groups representing tax assessors had discussed the ability of individual tax assessors to use their discretion when determining which minimum income requirement to apply to individual properties.  As described in the memorandum (click here), such discretion is no longer an option, and all landowners (and their foresters) will be able to accurately determine the minimum income requirement for their property.