Fri December 30, 2011

New State Law Axes Ag Exemption

At midnight on January 1st, Coloradans will have a few new laws to contend with. One eliminates tax breaks for small properties classified as agricultural that are, in fact, residential homes.

The issue came to light earlier this year when The Denver Post reported Tom Cruise and other celebrities taking advantage of the state’s tax code and paying lower property taxes because their homes were on land designated as agricultural.

The coverage was not lost on Republican State Representative Tom Massey, sponsor of the bill.

“That actually made the issue a little sexier obviously. The Ag. [Agricultural] Exemption law was really set up for these traditional ranch farmers and families in Colorado to help them stay in place, and let them continue to operate as property values have gone up.”

The new law lets state assessors reclassify up to 2 acres of land for taxing at the higher residential rate if the land isn't considered vital to agricultural operations.

While the bill created some controversy within Massey’s own party supporters say the law will allow state assessors a clear cut definition for determining how to tax agricultural and residential land.