Land used for a retired farmer’s dwelling may qualify for farm class provided farming continues on the dwelling parcel or an adjacent parcel. If the land is located in a rural taxation area, the dwelling itself may be exempt from general property taxes. A number of conditions must be met. Some of these conditions apply to the applicant; some apply to the land.
What are the conditions for the applicant?
The conditions for the applicant include the following:
- The applicant must be a retired farmer or the spouse of a retired farmer.
- A retired farmer is an individual who has retired from farming, but, who for at least 20 years in total:
- occupied a farmer’s dwelling as his or her principal residence on land owned by that individual or the individual’s spouse
- was actively involved in the day-to-day farm activities on land classified as a farm that was part of the dwelling parcel or an adjacent parcel, and was owned by the individual or spouse
- If the applicant is a spouse of a retired farmer, or was a spouse at the time of a retired farmer’s death, he or she must have been the spouse of the retired farmer when the retired farmer ceased farming.
- The applicant must own the land for which the application is made.
- The applicant must be at least 65 years old by October 31.
- The applicant must own the dwelling on the land and occupy the dwelling as his or principal residence.
- The applicant must apply each year by October 31.
What are the conditions for the land?
The conditions for the land include:
- The dwelling must be located in the agricultural land reserve (ALR).
- Part of the dwelling land or the adjacent parcel must be classified as a farm the next tax year (e.g., if the application is made October 31, 2013, some land must qualify for farm class for the 2014 tax year). In other words, some portion of the parcel on which the dwelling is located, or an adjacent parcel, must be farmed by someone else, such as a lessee farmer or a family member of the retired farmer.
- The dwelling must be the same dwelling that was occupied as a principal residence when the farmer retired.
- When the farmer retired from farming:
- the dwelling occupied as a principal residence must have been a farmer’s dwelling; and
- some portion of the dwelling parcel or an adjacent parcel must have also been classified as a farm.
- The land that will be classified as a farm the next tax year must be owned by the applicant or his or her spouse.
These conditions are a summary of the statutory and regulatory requirements. Please refer to the Assessment Act and the Classification of Land as a Farm Regulation for more detail. Specifically, definitions for “retired farmer” and “spouse” are contained in the Assessment Act.
When is a retired farmer’s dwelling land ineligible for farm class?
Circumstances in which retired farmers’ dwelling land will not qualify for farm class include:
- No portion of the dwelling parcel or an adjacent parcel will be in farm class the following year.
- The applicant is not yet age 65 on October 31.
- The dwelling is located outside the agricultural land reserve (ALR).
- The dwelling land is not owned by the applicant.
- The dwelling land is solely owned by a corporation or partnership.
- The dwelling is not the applicant’s principal residence.
- The retired farmer does/did not have a minimum 20-year history of farm class on land owned and farmed by him or her.
- The applicant is a spouse of a retired farmer, but was not the retired farmer’s spouse when the retired farmer ceased farming.
- The dwelling in respect of which the application is made is not the same dwelling owned and occupied when the retired farmer ceased farming.
When do I have to apply?
The deadline to apply is October 31 of the current year for the upcoming tax year. An application to have land used for a retired farmer’s dwelling classified as a farm must be made every year. Only one application can be submitted by a retired farmer or spouse for retired farmer dwelling land.
The Retired Farmer’s Dwelling Land Application is available here.
Will my dwelling qualify for a tax exemption?
If your dwelling is located in a rural taxation area and all the conditions are met to have your dwelling land classified as a farm, your dwelling will be exempt from general property tax, but it will still be taxable for school purposes.
Disclaimer: Where information presented differs from legislation, legislation shall prevail.