The New Jersey Legislature has provided for special farmland property tax assessments for land actively put to agricultural or horticultural use. In order to qualify for the farmland assessment, the property must meet the requirements of the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964. N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.1, et seq. The purpose of the Farmland Assessment Act is to provide family farms and farmers with some economic relief by permitting farmland to be taxed at a lower assessment. Andover Tp. v. Kymer, 140 N.J. Super. 399 (App. Div. 1976).
In order to qualify for the reduced assessment, the land must consist of atleast five (5) acres of land devoted to agriculture or horticulture use and must have been devoted for such use in two successive years immediately preceding the tax year in question. N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.2. Non-agricultural use of the land which is merely incidental to the agricultural use, does not prevent farmland assessment of the property. Mt. Hope Min. Co. v. Rockaway Tp., 8 N.J. Tax 570 (Tax 1986). Taxpayers and any prospective purchasers must also be aware that when the land is then applied to a use other than agricultural or horticultural, the land will be subject to additional taxes, otherwise referred to as “roll back” taxes. N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.8 The amount of the roll-back taxes is equal to the difference between the taxes paid under the qualified farmland assessment and the taxes that would have been paid if the land were assessed as other land in the taxing district, for the current year and for the two years immediately prior therefrom.
– Daniel J. Granatell