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Urban farmers in Salt Lake City, Utah, might soon be receiving tax breaks on their property. SB22, the measure that will allow this to happen, was sent to the House, thanks to a 29-0 Senate vote. The bill will allow for breaks to residents who grow food on lots that are at least 2 acres.
At this time, most urban-farming lots are not big enough to qualify for reductions that larger agricultural companies receive. These reductions are part of the Greenbelt Act, also known as the Farmland Assessment Act, which qualifies agricultural property to be taxed based on its productive capability instead of the market value. The lot must be 5 adjoining acres large.
In order to qualify for SB22, should it pass the House, urban farmers will need to apply for the tax reduction and prove they sell and produce from their lots. The downside is, if urban farmers stop using the lots for food production and sales, the owners must pay 10 years of back taxes based on the “highest and best use” of the land.
According to Senator Wayne Niederhauser, the creator of SB22, “These properties in urban counties are going away.” Niederhauser might extend the tax reductions to other counties with urban areas if all goes well with the initial bill.