Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey Forest Service

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Farmland Assessment

The Farmland Assessment Act of 1964 was amended in 1986, requiring some woodland owners to develop and implement a state-approved forest management plan to qualify for reduced property taxation.

Under the amended act, woodland owners must fulfill special requirements concerning property used exclusively for the production and sale of forest products, excluding Christmas trees. Some woodland owners are eligible for reduced property taxes if they follow a state approved forestry plan.

The New Jersey Forest Service is responsible for reviewing the woodland owner's forest management plan and for inspecting each site every three years to determine if the activities being conducted fit the specific woodland area and are being implemented as reported.

Woodland owners are required to complete and submit an application (Form FA-1) and the woodland data form (Form WD-1) to qualify for farmland assessment. These forms must be submitted to the local tax assessor and the NJ Forest Service annually. Your local tax assessor retains the final authority to determine who qualifies for farmland assessment.

The New Jersey Forest Service aids the woodland owner by reviewing the application and by reporting to local tax assessors the results of the review. In addition, the Forest Service will inspect the accomplishments reported on the WD-1 form and report to the local assessor any non-compliance. For more information contact your State Regional Forester or a Consulting Forester.

Proper management of New Jersey's more than 228,000 acres of private woodlands currently under the Farmland Assessment Act will not only help eliminate excessive and unnecessary cutting of one of the state's valuable natural resources, but also will enhance the benefits of properly managed woodlands, such as improved air and water quality and wildlife habitat.

Download the Checklist for preparing a NJ FLA Woodland Management Plan.

  1. What are the basic qualifications of the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964?
    • The land must have been actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use for the two successive years immediately preceding the tax year for which farmland assessment is requested.
    • The area must be at least five acres in size.
    • Gross sales of agricultural of horticultural products - in addition to any payments received under a soil conservation program - must average at least $500 plus additional $5 per cropland acre and $.50 per woodland acre for each acre over 5 or there must be clear evidence of anticipated yearly gross sales and such payments amounting to at least your minimum gross sales requirement.
      • Forthcoming Division of Taxation regulations will account for forest stewardship program (N.J.A.C. 7:3-5) and no annual income requirement to qualify.

  2. What happens if the land has been assessed for agricultural or horticultural use and the land use changes?
  3. When land assessed under the act is changed to a use other than agricultural or horticultural, it is subject to additional or roll-back taxes. The land is subject to the payment of roll-back taxes for the year in which the change in use of the land occurs and in each of the immediately preceding two tax years in which the land was assessed under the act.

  4. Will there be more inspections on my property?
  5. Yes. The Forest Service will Inspect your accomplishments at least once every three years after the initial inspection.

  6. What woodland owners are required to have a woodland management plan (WMP) and program?
  7. If your woodland acreage total is more than 50 percent of your total agricultural and horticultural lands, you will need a WMP to qualify your additional woodlands under the act. (Exception: An owner claiming farmland assessment for wooded property exceeding the amount presumed to be supportive and subordinate woodland must submit an explanation and proof to the local assessor.)

  8. Will I need a WMP for all my woodlands?
  9. Technically, no. For example, if you have 50 acres of crop land and 60 acres of woodland you would only be required to prepare a plan for 10 acres. However, it is strongly recommended that you have a WMP for all your woodlands.

  10. Do I have to submit a WMP each year?
  11. No. However, if a substantial revision is made at any time, such as for selling part of the property or changing in prescribed forestry activities, then a new WMP must be submitted and approved.

  12. What is meant by a description of how the property boundaries are or will be marked and delineated?
  13. Property boundaries should be clearly defined by one or a combination of the following features: stone walls, fence lines, posters, paint marks, hedge rows, etc. The WMP should describe what these boundary features are. Relying on corner markers to identify boundaries will not be sufficient. If they are not clear, boundaries should be marked within three years from initial application of filed WMP.

  14. What happens if my woodland was under farmland assessment but fails to meet the conditions set forth in N.J.A.C. 18:152.7?
  15. Land that fails to meet the additional conditions during the first year the conditions are imposed, will not be subject to roll-back taxes, but will be treated as land for which an annual application was not submitted.

  16. What is a statement of the average overall productivity capabilities of my woodland?
  17. State how your woodlands will meet the gross sales income requirement of the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964. The statement should include where and how will derive your annual income of $500 plus. This statement is most important when all income received is derived from your woodlands.
In addition to annually submitting the application for farmland assessment (Form FA-1), the following information must be submitted:

A copy of a woodland management plan prepared in accordance with provisions noted under N.J.A.C. 18:15-2.10; (First year only, until plan is renewed or changed.)

A scaled map of the land showing the location of woodland activity and the soil group classes of the land (annually).

A completed woodland data form (Form WD-1), as prescribed by the director of the Division of Taxation. The information to be provided by the landowner must include the following (annually):

  • A description of all woodland management actions taken in the pre-tax year;
  • A statement as to the type and quantity of tree and forest products sold;
  • An indication of the amount of income received or anticipated from the sale of trees and forest products;
  • A certification in lieu of an oath signed by both the landowner and an approved forester stating that the land is actively devoted to a woodland use that is in compliance with the filed woodland management plan.

Complete applications should be sent to your local tax assessor and the NJ Forest Service's appropriate regional office.

If the above information is not submitted annually to the assessor, the land will not qualify for agricultural use.