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Use Value Assessments and the Costs to Local Governments

Daniel Coogan, Michael E. Bell, and David Brunori

July 2013, English

This paper addresses several issues related to states’ programs for use-value assessments on agricultural and forest land. The paper identifies and describes each state’s preferential use-value assessment program and focuses on specific program characteristics, like eligibility requirements, standards for implementation, benefits, costs, and distributional consequences. This discussion is followed by a review of the literature on current-use value assessment programs. A case study of Wayne County, Ohio is presented to illustrate the impact of use value assessments which are seen to cause the county to forego significant property tax revenues, to undermine the uniformity of the property tax, and to distort property tax liabilities across both agricultural and other property types.