1. What is the Farm Property Taxation Policy? Starting January 1998, the Farm Tax Rebate Program was replaced by a new Farm Property Taxation Policy for farm properties. Under the new tax policy, farm properties satisfying the eligibility requirements are identified for the Farm Property Class and are taxed at 25% of the municipal residential tax rate. The farm residence and one acre of land, surrounding it, will continue to be taxed as part of the residential class.
The information collected on an active multi-year Farm Property Class Tax Rate Program application will be used to determine the eligibility for the Farm Property Class tax rate for the 2008 taxation year and future years.
OMAFRA continues to have annual responsibility to determine and report eligible properties to the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. Property owners submitting the multi-year application signed a declaration acknowledging their responsibility to notify OMAFRA if any of their information changes. To ensure the integrity of the OMAFRA data on file, applications will still be sent to a limited numbers of clients each year.
New property owners may request an application from OMAFRA.
2. What are the eligibility requirements for the Farm Property Class (25%) tax rate? In order to be eligible for the Farm Property Class tax rate, the following criteria must be satisfied: Complete and return a multi-year application by the appropriate deadline date to be eligible for Farm Property Class Tax Rate in the following and future years.
The property must be assessed as farmland. This will be done through the Property Assessment Division of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).
The property must be part of a farming business generating over $7000 of gross farm income and be reported to Canada Revenue Agency.
The farm business operating on the property (the owner or the tenant) must have a valid Farm Business Registration number (e.g. a valid 2007 number for the 2008 taxation year).
More than 50% of the property must be owned by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. If the property is owned by a business which is a sole proprietorship, the owner must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
If the property is owned by a business which is a partnership, more than 50% of the profit or loss of the partnership must be allocated to the partners who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. If the property is owned by a business which is a corporation, more than 50% of the voting shares must be owned by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
3. Are there any exceptions to the income eligibility requirements for the Farm Class Tax Rate? If your gross farm income fell below $7000 you may still be eligible for the 25% tax rate if: The application year was not a normal production year, but if it had been, the gross farm income would have been over $7000: or
As a result of age or illness of the owner or his/her spouse, or the death of the owner’s spouse or same sex partner, gross farm income fell below $7000 in the application year.
The person carrying on the farm business must be the property owner, the farm business must have generated an income greater than zero and be reported to Canada Revenue Agency for income tax purposes, must have been operated by the owner for at least ten years and the owner must have qualified for and received, the farm property class tax rate or the farm tax rebate during this time. If you are starting your farm operation and have not yet met the $7,000 income criteria you may be eligible for a start-up exemption. To qualify for this exemption, you must clearly demonstrate that the operation will gross the $7,000 income in future years. The length of the start-up period must be realistic and relative to the commodity being produced.
4. What is considered farming income? For the purpose of Canada Revenue Agency (formerly Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) (income tax act) farming income is defined as income earned by: soil tilling, livestock raising or showing, horse maintenance, poultry raising, dairy farming, fur farming, tree farming, fruit growing, bee-keeping, cultivating crops in water or hydroponics, Christmas tree growing, operating a wild-game reserve, chicken hatchery, running a feedlot.
In certain circumstances, farm income may also include: the raising of fish, marketing gardening, operating a nursery or greenhouse. It may also include some value-added food manufacturing, or sales from a retail outlet/farm stand or restaurant on-farm provided these sales are related to the farming activity on the property, are on a small scale and are considered incidental to the total farm income. To be sure your activity fits this category you must obtain an advance ruling from Canada Revenue Agency. Farming income does not include income earned from working as an employee in a farming business or trapping.
5. I grow a non-traditional crop or raise non-traditional livestock, does this count as farming income? Yes, as long as you can meet the basic program criteria.
6. Application Information !!!! How do I apply? OMAFRA will normally receive the names of new property owners from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and send out applications in April, May or June. If your property is assessed as a farm and you have not received an application by early June you should contact OMAFRA. If your property is not assessed as a farm you should contact the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation office (MPAC).
7. What is the deadline and what happens if I don't return my application by the deadline? Starting in 2000, the deadline for the applications is based on your geographic location. If there are mitigating circumstances involved, the Program Administrator may accept an application until December 31 of the actual taxation year. The Program Administrator has no legal authority to accept an application after this date. If this deadline is missed you maybe unable to qualify for the Farm Property Class Tax rate.
8. Why can I not obtain an application off the OMAFRA website? The farm property class administrator does not issue blank applications on the OMAFRA website or by mail. All applications issued are custom printed which include property roll numbers, legal descriptions and ownership information provided by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.
Applications also contain a unique program and owner barcode which allows for more accurate and timely application processing and to provide specific responses to a property owner about the status of their personal/individual application.
9. I have purchased a new property, how will it be taxed? A new property owner or an owner who commences to farm the property, and who meets the eligibility criteria, may contact OMAFRA and request an eligibility determination and approval for the farm property class tax rate for the remainder of the tax year.
If the property transferred which is currently at a Farm Property Class Tax rate the local assessment office staff will normally allow the property tax rate to remain at the farm property class tax rate for the remainder of the tax year.
New Farm Property Owners and Property Taxes: What you Need to Know
10. I have purchased property that is not currently assessed as farmland, how do I get it assessed as farmland?You should contact MPAC. You should always contact MPAC, prior to the purchase, to confirm what the assessment and tax rate has been determined for the property involved.
11. I have purchased property that is not currently in the farm property class, can I get the farm property class rate? A new property owner or an owner who commences to farm the property, and who meets the eligibility criteria, may contact OMAFRA and request an eligibility determination and approval for the farm property class tax rate for the remainder of the tax year.
The property owner should call immediately to see about eligibility for the next year. (OMAFRA)
12. Information Regarding Tenant Farmers !!! Do I need to apply if I rent out my land? Yes, the person who owns the land must apply for the Farm Property Class Tax Rate.
13. If my tenant farmer has not paid her/his farm business registration fee what will happen to my application for farm property class taxation status? The owner is responsible for ensuring that the tenant has a valid Farm Business Registration Number. If the tenant farmer does not pay the fee then the property is not eligible for the Farm Property Class.
14. What if I can’t get a hold of a tenant farmer to sign my application? The signature is important to verify that a tenant is really farming the property. Applications without a signature will be returned.