"To claim the farmland preservation tax credit, you must either have a farmland preservation agreement or have land zoned for farmland preservation," says Keith Foye, Land and Water Resource Bureau director with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. "The amount of the credit also varies depending on when you signed your agreement and whether your land is in an Agriculture Enterprise Area, so even if you know you're eligible, you also need to know how much you can claim."
Foye recommends that farmers who do not know their status call their county land conservation office to check whether they have a current agreement, and check with their local or county zoning office to find out if they are in a certified farmland preservation zone.
The Farmland Preservation Program was restructured beginning July 1, 2009, and was included in the budget Gov. Scott Walker signed last June. Farmland preservation agreements signed before July 1, 2009 remain in effect until their expiration dates. Agreements signed or modified after July 1, 2009, must be for land that is in an Agricultural Enterprise Area, although it does not have to be zoned for farmland preservation.
Here is a summary of tax credit rates and schedules for different situations:
•If you signed a farmland preservation agreement after July 1, 2009, or modified an earlier agreement, the tax credit is $5 per acre.
•If your land is zoned for farmland preservation, the tax credit is $7.50 per acre.
•If you signed a farmland preservation agreement after July 1, 2009, or modified an earlier agreement, and your land is zoned for farmland preservation, the tax credit is $10 per acre.
•If you signed a farmland preservation agreement prior to July 1, 2009, the tax credit is based on household income and property taxes.
Foye also reminded farmers that the form needed to claim the tax credit changed when the program changed. If you signed an agreement prior to July 1, 2009, and have not modified it, you will continue to use Schedule FC to calculate your tax credit. Otherwise, use the newer Schedule FC-A.
Farmers with questions about farmland preservation can call 608-224-4633 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has detailed information about the farmland preservation tax credit on its website: http://www.revenue.wi.gov/faqs/ise/farm.html.