Horse boarding, breeding and training operations may qualify for property tax exemptions thanks to the efforts of AzHC and our lobbyist!
In 2011, Arizona Representative Heather Carter and Senator Steve Pierce were successful in getting HB 2552 signed into law. The new law expanded the list of conditions for land to be classified as agricultural for property tax purposes to include land and improvements devoted to raising, boarding, training, or the commercial breeding of equine or an equine rescue facility registered with the Dept. of Agriculture.
During the summer and fall of 2011, AzHC worked with the Arizona Farm Bureau, the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, the Arizona Department of Revenue, and several County Assessors to create a set of guidelines for Assessors to use in making these classifications. The new guidelines can be found at: http://www.azdor.gov/Portals/0/Brochure/Interim-Equine-Property-Assessment-Guideline-2011.pdf.
In addition, a significant issue for all of agriculture for several years was successfully addressed this year. Our industry has been living with the threat of having Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA) funds swept by the legislature and Governor to be spent on programs in other parts of government.
SB1233, Agriculture Trust Funds by Senator Don Shooter and HB2340, Trust Fund Criteria by Representative Russ Jones were signed by the Governor. These bills designated fifteen (15) agricultural funds as trust funds. Among the funds protected is the Livestock Custody Fund which supports ADA operations dealing with stray and/or seized animals.
Further strengthening our work regarding agricultural property tax classification was SB 1416 Property Tax; Agriculture Classification; Affidavit by Sen. Gail Griffin. This bill was also signed by the Governor. SB1416 reduces the time that property must be used primarily for agriculture in order to be eligible for classification as agricultural property to three of the last five years. It had been seven of the last ten years. Importantly, property is now eligible for the agricultural classification if the owner files with the county assessor a signed affidavit that there is a reasonable expectation of operating profit from the agricultural use of the property. In the past County Assessors had been requesting property owners submit extensive financial records or face the loss of the agricultural classification.