Additional Information - DFL
The Current Use Program offers three classifications:
- Open-Open Space Land
- Farm and Agricultural Land
- Current Use Timber Land
Reclassification Application Fee:
Reclassification from DFL to Farm and Agricultural Land
|The application fee to reclassify to Farm and Agricultural Land is $350 and is non-refundable. Please include the fee with your application and make the check payable to "San Juan County Treasurer".|
Reclassification from DFL to Open Space Land and Current Use Timber Land
Please contact San Juan County Community Development for the application fee to reclassify to Open Space Land or Current Use Timber Land. Please direct all questions regarding the application process and status of your application to Community Development.
The contact information for Community Development is:
|Physical Address:||Mailing Address:||Phone Number:|
135 Rhone Street
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
PO Box 947
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
Reclassification Application Process (WAC 458-30-325)
The application for reclassification must be made within 30 days from the from the date of removal from forest land status.
- Application: Change of Designation 64 00038 (Download, Fill-in)
- Attachments: Please see table below for Attachments to the Application.
|Reclassification Request||Attachments to Applications||Reclassification Approval Authority|
|Open Space Land||Rev 64 0021||Community Development|
|Farm and Agricultural Land||Rev 64 0024 or Rev 64 0108|
Farm Mgmt Plan
|Timber Land||Rev 64 0109 or Rev 64 0111|
Timber Mgmt Plan
Valuation of Reclassified Land:If approved, the assessed value of reclassified land will be based on the new classification as of January 1 of the assessment year following the year of application.
For example, if an application for reclassification from designated forest land to farm and agricultural land is submitted on February 15, 2017, and approved on July 15, 2017, the land will be valued and assessed as farm and agricultural land January 1, 2018, and the owner is required to pay taxes on this new assessed value in 2019.
How can the land be removed from Designated Forest Land?
There are two ways to remove land from the Designated Forest Land Program.
Land may be removed from designation by the owner if:
- The owner notifies the Assessor in writing. Complete the form entitled "Property Owner's Request for Removal of Designated Forest Land".
- The owner sells or transfers the land to a new owner and the new owner does not sign a notice of forest land continuance. Complete the form entitled "Property Owner's Request for Removal of Designated Forest Land".
- The owner sells or transfers the land to an ownership that makes the land exempt from ad valorem taxation.
After (1) the Assessor provides the owner written notification and (2) the owner is given an opportunity to respond, land may be removed by the Assessor if:
- The Assessor determines that the land is no longer primarily devoted to and used for growing and harvesting, or
- The owner did not comply with a final administrative or judicial order with respect to a violation of the restocking, forest management, fire protection, insect and disease control, and forest debris provisions of Title 76 RCW or any applicable rules under Title 76 RCW.
- The Assessor determines that restocking the land has not occurred to the extent or within the time specified in designation application and the Forest Management Plan.
When is Removal of Land not Subject to Compensating Tax?
The additional tax, applicable interest, and penalty shall not be imposed if the removal of classification results solely from:
- Land is transferred to a government entity in exchange for other land located in the State of Washington,
- Land taken through the exercise of the power of eminent domain, or sale of transferred in anticipation of the exercise of such power was received in writing or by other official action,
- A natural disaster changes the use of such land,
- Official action by the state, county, or city disallows the present use of such land,
- Transfer of land to a church when such land would qualify for exemptions granted thereto,
- Acquisition of property interests by state agencies or agencies or organizations qualified under RCW 84.34.210 and 64.04.130 (See RCW 84.34.108(5f)), or
- The sale or transfer of land within two years after the death of the owner of at least a fifty percent interest in the land if the land has been assessed and valued as classified under this chapter continuously since 1993.
Compensating tax recaptures that would have been paid on the land if it had been assessed and taxed at its true and fair value instead of forest land value. The Assessor uses the following 4 elements to calculate compensating tax:
- current year's levy rate,
- the last assessed forest land value,
- the true and fair value as of January 1st of the year of removal from designation, and
- the number of years in designation (not to exceed 9 years).
Prior Year's Compensating Tax. The amount of compensating tax is the difference between the last Designated Forest Land value and the new assessed value of the land. This amount is then multiplied by the last levy rate extended against the land and multiplied by the number of years the land was designated as forest land, not to exceed nine years.
Remainder of Current Year Compensating Tax. Compensating taxes will also be due on the land from January 1 of the year the designation is removed up to the removal date.
Please ensure that you understand the potential tax liabilities associated with removing land designation.
New Owner Wants to Continue DFL Classification
If designated forest land is sold or transferred to a new owner and the new owner wants the land to continue its classification, the new owner must sign a Notice of Continuance and submit to the Assessor an approvable Forest Management Plan. If the Notice of Continuance is not signed by the new owner and attached to the real estate excise tax affidavit, all additional taxes will become due and payable by the seller or transferor at the time of sale.
The Auditor will not accept an instrument of conveyance regarding classified land for filing or recording unless the new owner has signed the Notice of Continuance or the additional tax has been paid, as evidenced by the real estate excise tax stamp affixed thereto by the treasurer.
New Owner is an Heir or Devisee of a Deceased Owner and Wants to Continue DFL
The new owner must submit a Notice of Continuance. The new owner is not required to sign the Notice of Continuance.
New Owner Does Not Want to Continue DFL Classification
If the new owner(s) does not want to continue the classification or designation, all additional tax, interest, and penalty or compensating tax calculated pursuant to RCW 84.34.108 or RCW 84.33.140will be due and payable by the seller or transferor at the time of sale. Payment in full is required before the conveyance can be recorded or filed.