The Cavalier County Soils Committee has been hard at work this past year trying to find a solution to the dilemma of inaccurate tax values that are currently in place for many agricultural soil parcels.
By Melissa Anderson
The soils committee, led by Cavalier County Tax Director Pam Lafrenz recently put forward a recommendation to the Cavalier County Commission to completely remove all soil modifiers on agricultural parcels and start from scratch.
The committee also has been looking at lowering the soils productivity index which would bring more parcels into taxable value range.
The Soil Productivity index (PI’s) is a rating that comes from the natural resources conservation services and provides a ranking of soils based on their crop production potential.
“This rating will compare a soil’s potential yield against another over a period of time,” Lafrenz explained, “Because of the PI rating system some of the current modifiers have become obsolete.”
Lafrenz and the soil committee members carefully considered the best course of action in trying to address and rectify this problem that the soils currently have. The decision to remove all soil modifiers was the best and fastest way to get all parcels up to date.
“The new PI’s already have the modifiers accounted for in the ratings,” Lafrenz said, “Because of this, some parcels of land are getting double modifiers.”
Another problem that the soils committee and Lafrenz kept running into with the modifiers is that they have not been kept up-to-date and are now inaccurate.
“Removing all modifiers and starting over is the best solution to fix the problems with the soils,” Lafrenz said.
This change will take place for the 2017 taxes so land owners have time to get their evidence together to get the accurate modifiers back on for their land.
The first step for land owners to start the process is to contact their townships assessor. The land owner will need to bring in the appropriate paperwork to prove their need for a modifier. The assessors will then meet with the soils committee.
From there the soils committee will either prove or deny the land owners request for a modifier. The soils committee will create a list of all approved modifiers and present those to the county commissioners for approval.
“Once this is complete, it will make the tax director’s office and soils committee job of keeping the soils up-to-date easier,” Lafrenz stated.
This is not the only item regarding taxation that area producers and land owners need to be aware of for the upcoming tax season. The farm exemption forms will also be going out in the near future.
The state mandated farm exemption forms will need to be returned into the tax director’s office by February 1. Lafrenz reminds farmers and land owners that proof of income will be required for the years of 2014, 2015, and 2016 with the farm exemption application.