Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) and Agricultural District
The CAUV and Ag District filing period for tax year 2023 has ended.
The next filing period will be January 2, 2024 to March 4, 2024.
The Harrison County Auditor is responsible for administering the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program and the Agricultural District program, adhering to guidelines for each program set by the State of Ohio. Both programs provide distinct benefits to agricultural landowners within the county. Although the programs have similar qualifications, they are two separate programs, and each has its own application and renewal process. Applying for one program does not automatically enroll you in the other. Separate applications and renewals must be filed to maintain eligibility in each program. The Auditor's Office is happy to assist participants in both programs by mailing renewal notices, due date reminders, etc. but please remember it is ultimately the landowner's responsibility to maintain eligibility. Our office is not responsible for lost or misplaced mail.
Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV)
The Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program provides tax relief on commercial agricultural land, following guidelines established by the State of Ohio. Under the Ohio Revised Code, owners of land devoted exclusively to commercial agriculture can apply to be taxed based on the production capacity of the soil instead of the land's fair market value. Through this method, agricultural landowners with parcels enrolled in the CAUV program usually receive a lower valuation and therefore a lower tax bill. Home sites and outbuildings are still valued at fair market value and are not affected by the program. Once a parcel is enrolled in the program, it remains in the program unless there is a change in use or failure to comply with filing requirements. The CAUV program follows the land, not the owner.
To qualify for CAUV, land must have ten or more acres devoted exclusively to commercial agriculture and that land must have been in production for at least three years prior. Land under ten acres may still qualify if an average annual gross income of at least $2500 is earned from production. Proof of income must be submitted annually to maintain eligibility. Applicants must have had ownership of the parcel as of January 1st of the year of application and all parcels on the application must have the same legal owner's name. There is no exception for related co-owners, married couples, trust or LLC names.
All initial and renewal applications must be filed annually with the Harrison County Auditor’s office after the first Monday of January and before the first Monday of March. A filing fee of $25 is required for all initial applications. There is no fee required for renewal applications. If a landowner fails to file an application during this time period, the parcel will be removed from the program and again be taxed at its market value. Upon removal from CAUV, a recoupment fee of the prior three years tax savings will be assessed, per State of Ohio guidelines. In all instances the recoupment fee shall follow the land, regardless of any ownership change.
The Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation District staff assists the Auditor by conducting inspections for all initial applications to verify use and eligibility. Renewal applications will also be inspected randomly, at least once every five years, to confirm continued eligibility. Upon completion of the inspection, soil values, certified by the Ohio Department of Taxation, are assigned per acre and use to the parcel. This value, combined with any homesite and wasteland value, equals the CAUV taxable value for the enrolled parcel.
If at any time a parcel no longer meets the qualifications of the CAUV program, the parcel will be removed from the program and again be taxed at its fair market value. Upon removal from CAUV, a recoupment fee of the prior three years tax savings will be assessed, per State of Ohio guidelines. In all instances the recoupment fee shall follow the land, regardless of any ownership change.
The Farmland Preservation Act, enacted in 1983, was designed to promote and encourage the preservation of agricultural land and agricultural production by allowing landowners to voluntarily create an Agricultural District. Although establishing an Agricultural District has similar qualifications to enrolling in the CAUV program, it does not reduce real estate value or tax. It instead provides other benefits to land devoted to agricultural use including:
• Protection to working farmers from nuisance lawsuits relating to dust, noise and odor.
• The deferment of special assessments by subdivisions for water, sewer and electrical service.
• Restrictions on zoning regulations affecting farm markets.
• Restrictions on eminent domain actions involving land withing the agricultural district.
• Restrictions on distribution of public funds within an agricultural district for the construction of housing, commercial or industrial facilities for non-agricultural use.
• Requires the Ohio Power Siting Board to consider the impact of major utility facilities on the viability of agricultural districts.
Only land meeting specific qualifications, similar to the CAUV program, may be designated as an Agricultural District. The land must have ten or more acres used exclusively for agricultural production or be enrolled in certain land programs with a federal agency for the prior three calendar years. If the property is less than ten acres, it may still qualify if evidence of an annual gross income of at least $2500 for the prior three years is submitted. Additional restrictions may apply if the land is located within a municipality. Enrollment in the program is a five-year commitment.
Landowners may file an application and any required documentation with the Harrison County Auditor’s Office at any time to enroll in the program. There is no fee for the initial application or the renewal. Once enrolled, the land must remain in the program for five years. If the land is converted to non-agricultural use during the five-year term, a penalty will be assessed per the Ohio Revised Code. Land that is transferred to a new owner during the five-year term shall continue in the Agricultural District unless the new owner elects to discontinue inclusion in the program. The new owner must file the withdrawal with the County Auditor within sixty days after the transfer and then be subject to penalty per the Ohio Revised Code. At the end of the five-year term, the landowner can choose to renew enrollment for another five years or non-renew with no penalty. The land will be removed from the program if no renewal form is filed by the first Monday in March of the expiring year.
Applications and Renewal Forms for each program can be accessed by clicking the links below.