Taxation FAQ 12

Should land that is being actively used for agricultural purposes, in violation of a local ordinance prohibiting agricultural use, still be classified as agricultural land?

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue answer is yes. The Department has stated that state statutes supersede local ordinances, and therefore, such land would require classification as agricultural land, because it meets the definition of agricultural land under Wis. Admin. Code sec. Tax 18.05(1). Enforcement of the ordinance would be a municipal decision; once the land is no longer being used for agricultural purposes, either through enforcement of the ordinance or the land owner's choice, the classification should be changed from agricultural to another classification. If land was devoted primarily to a qualifying agricultural use under Tax 18.05(1) during the prior production season and was compatible with agricultural use on January 1 of the current assessment year, even if in violation of ordinance, easement, or contract, the land must be classified as agricultural land for the current assessment year. The agricultural classification would apply until such time that the land is no longer devoted primarily to a qualifying agricultural use.