County assessors have not been applying the rules regarding real and personal property consistently across county lines. The clear rules laid out by the Department of Local Government Finance are not being followed in some counties. The misclassification of taxable assets like land, buildings, equipment and property by local officials has led to increased tax bills for farmers. Local revenue shortfalls in some areas have led to these aggressive assessment tactics in an attempt to find revenue.
We need to review our own assessments to ensure that farmland and farm buildings are assessed as such. Farmers should educate assessors about the assets involved in farming operations and be a credible resource for them to turn to in times of misclassification. Building relationships with county assessors will help improve their role in the property tax assessment process to get it right the first time. The more we work to educate our assessors in agriculture, the better understanding they have for the farm businesses operating in their county.