The Hancock County Board of Supervisors discussed the countywide Family Farm Credit reapplication with the assessor’s office during their meeting Oct. 7.
The Hancock County Assessor’s Office is updating its records to make sure each eligible agriculturally-classed parcel is receiving the credit and those who are no longer eligible are not.
The credit is for farm land of more than 10 acres that is farmed by the owner or a family member of the owner.
“It’s a credit on your property taxes, and to qualify for that you have to farm the property you own or you have to rent it out to a family member to receive that credit,” Supervisor Chairman Jerry Tlach said.
Tlach said the county is going through its records and redoing all the Family Farm Credit applications, so property owners who have done the application in the past need to do it again or they will not get the credit.
“To get that credit, landowners need to go into the assessor’s office or send the paper that was sent to them back by Nov. 1 so [they] can keep receiving that credit,” he said.
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Jolene Leerar from the county’s auditor’s office said the credit is a state calculation that usually ends up at around $20 per 40 acres.
“It’s not a huge credit at all, but it’s a state-figured credit,” she said.
Leerar said the county itself does not figure how much credit the family farms get; the only thing the county does is look at the application and make sure the family farm on the application qualifies for the credit.
The assessor’s office is redoing the applications because the current ones on file are so out of date and the State recommended they go through and redo them all after so many years since people and owners change.
“We have people that their applications are old and we don’t know if there’s family still farming them, there’s family not farming them,” Leerar said. “And then we also have the other hand that there’s people getting letters that are coming in saying, ‘We didn’t know that we were eligible,’ and they could have been receiving this credit for x amount of years, and now they’re like, ‘Oh. Wow.’ So both sides of the spectrum here. We need to get the people that deserve the credit the credit and those that have made changes and shouldn’t be receiving it shouldn’t receive it.”
The state-mandated date to get the new applications into the Hancock County Assessor’s Office is Nov. 1.