Clean & Green
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has extended the annual deadline for enrolling in Act 319, Clean and Green Program, from June 1st, 2020 to October 15th, 2020 due to Covid-19. Please contact the Assessment Office with any questions at 724-656-1941.
Clean and Green is a preferential tax assessment program, that bases property taxes on use values rather than fair market values. This ordinarily results in a tax savings for landowners. This program was enacted by our legislature in 1974 and is commonly known as Act 319.
What Are The Eligibility Requirements?
A property must be ten acres in size, and in Agricultural Use, Agricultural Reserve, or Forest Reserve. Agricultural Use applications may be less than 10 acres in size if the property is capable of generating at least $2,000 annually in farm income.
- Agricultural use–Land which is used for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity or is devoted to and meets the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation under a soil conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the Federal government.
(i) The term includes any farmstead land on the tract. (ii) The term includes a woodlot. (iii) The term includes land which is rented to another person and used for the purpose of producing an agricultural commodity. (iv) The term includes land devoted to the development and operation of an alternative energy system, if a majority of the energy annually generated is utilized on the tract.
- Agricultural reserve–Noncommercial open space lands used for outdoor recreation or the enjoyment of scenic or natural beauty and open to the public for that use, without charge or fee, on a nondiscriminatory basis. The term includes land devoted to the development and operation of an alternative energy system, if a majority of the energy annually generated is utilized on the tract.
- Forest reserve–Land, 10 acres or more, stocked by forest trees of any size and capable of producing timber or other wood products. The term includes land devoted to the development and operation of an alternative energy system if a majority of the energy annually generated is utilized on the tract.
What Is The Penalty For A Change In Use Of Land?
A landowner who breaches the covenant is subject to seven years of rollback taxes at 6% interest per year. The rollback tax is the difference between what was paid under Clean and Green versus what would have been paid, if the property had not been enrolled, plus interest per year.
May I Sell Or Divide My Property Without Having To Pay Rollback Taxes?
The Act allows for two types of divisions or conveyances: “Split-offs” and “Separations.” A split-off is a division, by conveyance or other action of the owner, of land, into two or more tracts, for use of constructing a residence. No more than two acres may be split-off per year except if the municipality requires a minimum three-acre subdivision to construct the residence. Cumulative split-offs may never exceed 10 acres, or 10% of the total land originally enrolled, the lesser of the two. Rollback taxes would be due only with respect to the land split-off. Separation is a division, by conveyance or other action of the owner, of land into two or more tracts of land that continue to be in Agricultural Use, Agricultural Reserve, or Forest Reserve. The tracts must usually be at least 10 acres in size and continue to meet the qualifications. No rollback taxes would be due.
Must I Allow Public Access To My Clean And Green Property?
Agricultural Reserve is the only category that needs to remain open to the public for passive recreational uses free-of-charge on a non-discriminatory basis. A landowner may place reasonable restrictions on this, however. Examples include: limiting access after dark, prohibiting hunting and restricting use of motorized vehicles.
How Do I Apply For Clean And Green?
The application deadline is June 1 of each year, in order to be considered for the following tax year. There is a one time application fee of $50 to apply for Clean and Green. The total acreage of each application must be greater than or equal to 10 acres unless you are applying as an Agricultural Use Application by claiming the property is capable of generating at least $2000 annually in farm income.
Contact Information for Department:
Lawrence County Government Center Clean and Green Administrator
Assessment Office Chuck Masters, CPE
430 Court Street 724-656-1939
New Castle, PA 16101 firstname.lastname@example.org