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Author Topic: Apiary Property Taxes  (Read 3455 times)
jwchitwood
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« on: January 27, 2011, 08:09:33 PM »

I keep my bees on a 20 acre parcel of land. I own this land and the count insists on taxing my land at residential rates.  My bees are a business and I conduct myself as such. My county refuses to affirm my land as a whole is used for my business and will only identify 1 acre as ag use.  Any of you smart lawyer beekeepers know of case law I can use in my arguments before the court?
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2011, 08:23:19 PM »

I would guess you live on this land also.   It is zoned residential.   So divide the lot.   Get it resurveyed so that your house sits on 1 acre zoned res. and get the other 19 zoned ag.   But I think that would be a lot of trouble and be a while before you see any savings.
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fat/beeman
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2011, 08:46:28 PM »

well in ga where I live my land is zoned ag use. I live on 6 plus acres and do bees full time so I get farm tax rate.some small townships don't see it that way check with your state gov. usely state over rules county or townships.
Don
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G3farms
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 10:04:58 PM »

Here in TN if you own 15 acres you can put it in the green belt (agiculture), you a susposed to show an income of $1,500 from the far to qualify for the tax breaks but it is not enforced to heavily.
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
deknow
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 10:18:11 PM »

An argument you might try:

How many hives do you have on the 20 acres?

Whatever that number is, would the county consider that many hives on a single acre ag lot surrounded by 19 residential one acre lots (occupied) as "the bees are only using the one acre"?

deknow
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iddee
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 11:25:25 PM »

Place one hive on each acre?

Seriously, if it is wooded, place in with the forestry service as timber growth. If not wooded, plant it in a crop for one year, or lease it to someone to plant for 1.00.
Either way, it is ag. Forget about the bee side of it.
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hardwood
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2011, 11:38:30 PM »

The property owners of some of my bee yards wanted me to place bees there as to get the Ag exemption. In one county the taxing authority comes to inspect and as long as they have even one hive in place will give exemption on all but one acre (for the house). The next county can't/won't give a definitive answer to how many hives are needed per acre so it really depends on the inspector's mood.

Most have guidelines for other animals...2 cows/acre...etc.

Scott
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jwchitwood
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2011, 08:29:51 PM »

I appreciate all of your thoughts.  Here are some answers to your questions/comments.

I do not live on the land. Part of the land is wooded and part is untamed pasture. 

I could sign a hay lease with someone for X dollars and cover the tax situation.  It is not in my nature to do that though.  I believe I'm right and I will not allow the county to bully me.

Apiaries are specifically covered by Kansas state tax law as ag use. There is no measure of usage in the law. If you have an apiary and you make money then you are a farm and you owe taxes.  The IRS sees it that way as well and wants their cut too.

I've already had my county level appeal. I asked the county rep what additional information I needed to provide to prove my farm business. The county rep could not and would not provide me an answer.  I challenged her straight out on comments she had made. I said you obviously don't see my apiary as a farm.  The law says an apiary is a farm. What's the problem.  She said people have tried to dodge taxes in the past in the same manner.

I have a court date in a couple of months to plead my case to the judge (30 minute time limit total). I found some case law from another state which mirrors my own situation.  The judge ruled in favor of the land owner.  I'm not sure if such case law would hold any weight in Kansas.
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hardwood
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« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2011, 10:46:21 PM »

I forgot to mention I'm sorry I sign 5 year leases at $1 per year with the owners.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
Rosalind
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2011, 08:16:52 AM »

Check with a CPA certified for your state. The regulations on what constitutes a farm really vary quite a bit state-to-state.

In my state, you have to sell your products commercially before you're considered a farm, although you don't actually have to make any money by doing so (farmers who are running a deficit are still farmers). However, the state assigns the responsibility for Board of Health certification to individual towns/cities rather than the state government, and gosh, those town inspectors have absolutely no sense of humor. The state just comes round once a year to inspect and shoot the breeze for a bit, it's the town busybodies who decide whether you're clean enough to sell at the market, so essentially my neighbors get to decide if I'm a farm. Too bad for me, they just think I am somewhat nuts.   pink elephant

However, I know some other states require certain amounts of income derived from farm activities before you're a "real" farm. Had one dude from St. Louis inform me that because I don't make at least $30k/year off my poultry & fruit, I am not a "real" farmer. I said, gee, I know plenty of farmers who are in debt up to their eyeballs and not making a thin dime after they pay for diesel, seed, tractor repairs, fertilizer, pesticide, milker maintenance, tank chillers, antibiotics, water tanks, concrete...you want to tell them they ain't real farmers?  tongue
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jwchitwood
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2011, 06:00:25 PM »

I just received the ruling for the state.  The court upheld the law. My apiary is in fact a farm and should be taxed at farm rates.
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G3farms
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2011, 07:44:50 PM »

That is good to hear, now go and ask for your money back for the past years you have paid in at a higher tax rate.
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
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