The Indiana Commission on Business Personal Property and Business Taxation released its final report Wednesday, and Indiana Farm Bureau is pleased that four of the 16 recommendations from the commission offer solutions to the unsustainable tax burden being shouldered by Indiana’s farmers. “We applaud the work of the all the legislators who sat on the commission, especially the commission chairman, Sen. Brandt Hershman, and are deeply thankful that they recognized that the growing tax burden on family farms impacts not just their profitability but their very existence as well,” said Farm Bureau President Don Villwock. “The steps outlined in the commission report will go a long way toward creating a fair and stable assessment formula for farmland.”
The commission had three specific recommendations pertaining to farmland taxation. First, agricultural land must be assessed for the March 1, 2015, assessment date using the same base assessment rate used for the March 1, 2014, assessment date. Second, agricultural land must be assessed for the March 2015 assessment date using the same soil productivity factors used in 2011. And third, there must be further study of alternative means of agricultural land assessment.
In its statement of findings, the commission noted that the “statutory formula that establishes the base assessed value for farmland creates an inherent four-year delay between the factors in the formula and the base values used to calculate the property tax bill.” That delay in the formula has become painfully evident in the past few years, as the record prices seen three and four years ago are making farmland taxes skyrocket even as current crop prices are plummeting. “I truly appreciate all of the work the commission has done during its four meetings this summer, especially the focus they had on providing significant and lasting tax relief to Hoosier farmers,” said Katrina Hall, Farm Bureau’s director of state government relations. “We shared our members’ concerns, and the commission listened. This is an excellent beginning, but we will need the help of the entire General Assembly and Governor Pence for these recommendations to be adopted in the 2015 session.”
You can read the entire commission report on the Indiana General Assembly’s website at https://iga.in.gov/documents/6614e854