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Definitions.

(1) Introduction. This rule provides definitions for the terms used in conjunction with land classified under the Open Space Taxation Act, codified as chapter 84.34 RCW. The terms listed in this rule are intended to act in concert with each other as appropriate.
(2) Definitions. For purposes of land classified under chapter 84.34 RCW, the following definitions apply:
(a) "Additional tax" means the additional property taxes that will be collected when classification is withdrawn or removed from land classified under chapter 84.34 RCW.
(b) "Affidavit" means the real estate excise tax affidavit required by chapter 82.45 RCW and chapter 458-61 WAC. The affidavit will be prescribed by the department and furnished to county treasurers. This form is used by landowners to report sales or transfers of classified land. The owner or transferor and the purchaser or transferee, or agents of each, must sign the affidavit under penalty of perjury.
(c) "Agreement" means an agreement executed between an owner and the granting authority regarding the classification or reclassification of land as either open space or timber land under chapter 84.34 RCW.
(d) "Agricultural product" means livestock and plants that are produced for commercial purposes and includes any agricultural, horticultural, or aquacultural produce or crop; the raising of livestock, poultry, bees, or fur-bearing animals; or the production of milk, eggs, wool, fur, meat, honey, or other substances obtained therefrom. When used in relation to livestock or fur-bearing animals used for food or fiber, "raising" means breeding or increasing the value, size, or weight of the animal. Agricultural product does not include marijuana, useable marijuana, or marijuana-infused products as those terms are defined in RCW 69.50.101.
(e) "Applicant" means the owner who submits an application for classification or reclassification of land under chapter 84.34 RCW.
(f) "Application" means an application for classification or reclassification of land under chapter 84.34 RCW.
(g) "Approval" means a determination by the granting authority that land qualifies for classification or reclassification under chapter 84.34 RCW.
(h) "Appurtenance" refers to something used with, and related to or dependent upon another thing; that is, something that belongs to something else, an adjunct. The thing appurtenant is strictly necessary and essential to the proper use and enjoyment of the land, as well as useful or necessary for carrying out the purposes for which the land was classified under chapter 84.34 RCW.
(i) In terms of farm and agricultural land, an appurtenance is something used for a particular sort of farm and is widely and routinely used in the operation of the commercial agricultural enterprise.
(ii) For example, an appurtenance may be an outhouse, barn, or tool shed or it may be equipment used for a particular purpose or task, such as tools, instruments, or machinery.
(i) "Aquaculture" means the growing and harvesting of marine or fresh water flora or fauna in a soil or water medium for commercial agricultural purposes.
(j) "Assessor" means the county assessor or any agency or person who is authorized to act on behalf of the assessor.
(k) "Assessment year" means the year in which the property is listed and valued by the assessor and precedes the year in which the taxes on the property are due and payable.
(l) "Change in use" means a direct action taken by an owner that actually changes the use of, or has started changing the use of, classified land to a use that is not in compliance with the conditions of the agreement executed between the owner and the granting authority or to a use that is otherwise not in compliance with the provisions of chapter 84.34 RCW. WAC 458-30-295.
(m) "Classified land" means a parcel(s) of land that has been approved by the appropriate granting authority for taxation under chapter 84.34 RCW.
(n) "Commercial agricultural purposes" means the use of farm and agricultural land on a continuous and regular basis, prior to and subsequent to application for classification or reclassification, that demonstrates that the owner or lessee is engaged in and intends to obtain through lawful means, a monetary profit from cash income by producing an agricultural product.
An owner or lessee must engage in commercial agricultural activities on the land to demonstrate a commercial agricultural purpose.
(o) "Contiguous" means land that adjoins and touches other land owned by the same owner or held under the same ownership. Land that is an integral part of a farming operation is considered contiguous even though the land may be separated by a public road, railroad, right of way, or waterway.
For purposes of this subsection (2)(o):
(i) "Same ownership" means owned by the same person or persons, except that parcels owned by different persons are deemed held by the same ownership if the parcels are:
(A) Managed as part of a single operation; and
(B) Owned by:
(I) Members of the same family;
(II) Legal entities that are wholly owned by members of the same family; or
(III) An individual who owns at least one of the parcels and a legal entity or entities that own the other parcel or parcels if the entity or entities are wholly owned by that individual, members of his or her family, or that individual and members of his or her family.
(ii) "Family" includes only:
(A) An individual and his or her spouse or domestic partner, child, stepchild, adopted child, grandchild, parent, stepparent, grandparent, cousin, or sibling;
(B) The spouse or domestic partner of an individual's child, stepchild, adopted child, grandchild, parent, stepparent, grandparent, cousin, or sibling;
(C) A child, stepchild, adopted child, grandchild, parent, stepparent, grandparent, cousin, or sibling of the individual's spouse or the individual's domestic partner; and
(D) The spouse or domestic partner of any individual described in (o)(i)(B)(III) of this subsection.
(p) "County financial authority" and "financial authority" mean the treasurer or any agency or person charged with the responsibility of billing and collecting property taxes.
(q) "County legislative authority" means the county commission, council, or other legislative body.
(r) "County recording authority" means the auditor or any agency or person charged with the recording of documents.
(s) "Current" and "currently" means as of the date on which property is to be listed and valued by the assessor.
(t) "Current use value" means the taxable value of a parcel of land placed on the assessment rolls following its classification or reclassification under chapter 84.34 RCW.
(u) "Department" means the department of revenue.
(v) "Farm and agricultural conservation land" means either:
(i) Land previously classified as farm and agricultural land that no longer meets the criteria and is reclassified as open space land; or
(ii) Traditional farmland that is not classified under chapter 84.33 or 84.34 RCW, has not been irrevocably devoted to a use inconsistent with agricultural uses, and has a high potential for returning to commercial agriculture.
(w) "Farm and agricultural land" means:
(i) Any parcel of land twenty or more acres in size or multiple parcels of land that are contiguous and total twenty or more acres in size when the lands are:
(A) Primarily used to produce agricultural products for commercial agricultural purposes;
(B) Enrolled in the federal conservation reserve program or its successor administered by the United States Department of Agriculture; or
(C) Primarily used for other commercial agricultural purposes as established by rule.
(ii) Any parcel of land or contiguous parcels of land at least five acres, but less than twenty acres in size that are primarily used for commercial agricultural purposes, and produce a gross income equal to:
(A) One hundred dollars or more in cash per acre per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification when the application was made prior to January 1, 1993; or
(B) Two hundred dollars or more in cash per acre per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification when the application is made on or after January 1, 1993.
For the purposes of meeting the minimum gross income requirements as described in (w)(ii)(A) and (B) of this subsection for leased classified farm and agricultural land, the owner may use either the cash income received from leasing his or her classified farm and agricultural land, or the cash income received by the lessee for the production of the agricultural product on the owner's classified farm and agricultural land.
(iii) Any parcel of land or contiguous parcels of land at least five acres, but less than twenty acres in size that are primarily used for commercial agricultural purposes and that have:
(A) Standing crops with an expectation of harvest within seven years and a demonstrable investment in the production of those crops equivalent to one hundred dollars or more per acre in the current or previous calendar year; or
(B) Standing crops of short rotation hardwoods with an expectation of harvest within fifteen years and a demonstrable investment in the production of those crops equivalent to one hundred dollars or more per acre in the current or previous calendar year.
For the purposes of meeting the minimum investment requirements as described in (w)(iii)(A) and (B) of this subsection for leased classified farm and agricultural land, the owner may use either the cash income received from leasing his or her classified farm and agricultural land, or the cash income invested by the lessee in the production of the standing crop on the owner's classified farm and agricultural land.
(iv) Any parcel of land or contiguous parcels of land less than five acres in size that are primarily used for commercial agricultural purposes, and produce a gross income equal to:
(A) One thousand dollars or more in cash per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification when the application was made prior to January 1, 1993; or
(B) One thousand five hundred dollars or more in cash per year for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for classification when the application is made on or after January 1, 1993.
For the purposes of meeting the minimum gross income requirements as described in (w)(iv)(A) and (B) of this subsection for leased classified farm and agricultural land, the owner may use either the cash income received from leasing his or her classified farm and agricultural land, or the cash income received by the lessee for the production of the agricultural product on the owner's classified farm and agricultural land.
(v) Farm and agricultural land also includes:
(A) Land on which employee housing or the principal residence of the farm owner or operator is located, if the housing or residence is on or contiguous to a classified farm and agricultural land parcel of twenty acres or more or multiple parcels that are contiguous and total twenty acres or more, and the use of the housing or residence is integral to the use of the classified farm and agricultural land for commercial agricultural purposes;
(B) Land on which appurtenances necessary for the production, preparation, or sale of the agricultural products are situated when the appurtenances are used in conjunction with the land(s) producing agricultural products, such as a machinery maintenance shed or a shipping facility located on farm and agricultural land that produces the products to be shipped;
(C) Land incidentally used for an activity or enterprise that is compatible with commercial agricultural purposes as long as the incidental use does not exceed twenty percent of the classified land. An incidental use of classified farm and agricultural land may include, but is not limited to, wetland preservation, a gravel pit, a farm woodlot, or a produce stand;
(D) A noncontiguous parcel of land from one to five acres in size that constitutes an integral part of the commercial agricultural operation being conducted on land qualifying as "farm and agricultural land." As used in this paragraph, noncontiguous means not adjoining or touching but held by the same ownership as defined in RCW 84.34.020;
(E) Land used primarily for equestrian related activities for which a charge is made including, but not limited to, stabling, training, riding, clinics, schooling, shows, or grazing for feed and that otherwise meets the requirements in (w)(i), (ii), or (iv) of this subsection; or
(F) Land used primarily for horticultural purposes including growing plants in the ground or in a container, regardless of whether under a structure, such as a greenhouse, subject to the following:
(I) The land is not primarily used for the storage, care, or selling of plants purchased from other growers for retail sale;
(II) If the land is less than five acres and used primarily to grow plants in containers, such land does not qualify as "farm and agricultural land" if more than twenty-five percent of the land used primarily to grow plants in containers is open to the general public for on-site retail sales;
(III) If more than twenty percent of the land used for growing plants in containers is covered by pavement, none of the paved area is eligible for classification as "farm and agricultural land." However, this limitation does not prevent up to twenty percent of the paved area from qualifying as "incidental use" as described in (bb) of this subsection; and
(IV) If the land classified under (w)(v)(F) of this subsection, in addition to any contiguous land classified under (w) of this subsection, is less than twenty acres, it must meet the applicable income or investment requirements described in (w)(ii), (iii), or (iv) of this subsection.
(x) "Farm employee or farm and agricultural employee" means an individual who is employed on farm and agricultural land on a full-time basis or a seasonal or migratory worker who works on farm and agricultural land only during the planting, growing, and/or harvesting seasons. For purposes of (x) of this subsection, "full-time basis" refers to an individual who is employed at least twenty-five hours per week on farm and agricultural land. It does not include a person who is employed full time by a business activity that is not conducted on classified farm and agricultural land and who only works occasional weekends or during the harvest season on classified farm and agricultural land.
(y) "Farm woodlot" means an area of land within a parcel(s) of classified farm and agricultural land that is used in a manner compatible with commercial agricultural purposes including, but not limited to, the growing and cutting of trees for the use of the owner or the sheltering of livestock.
(z) "Granting authority" means the appropriate agency or official that acts on an application for classification or reclassification under chapter 84.34 RCW. The granting authority for:
(i) Open space land classification under RCW 84.34.020(1) and 84.34.037 is the county legislative authority. However, for applications within an incorporated area of a county, the granting authority is made up of three members of the county legislative authority and three members of the city legislative authority in the county in which the land is located in a meeting where members may be physically absent but participating through telephonic connection or separate affirmative acts by both the county and city legislative authorities where both affirm the entirety of the application either without modification or with identical modifications;
(ii) Farm and agricultural land classification under RCW 84.34.020(2) and 84.34.035 is the assessor or the assessor's designee; and
(iii) Timber land classification under RCW 84.34.020(3) and 84.34.041 is the county legislative authority. However, for applications within an incorporated area of a county, the granting authority is made up of three members of the county legislative authority and three members of the city legislative authority in the county in which the land is located in a meeting where members may be physically absent but participating through telephonic connection or separate affirmative acts by both the county and city legislative authorities where both affirm the entirety of the application either without modification or with identical modifications.
(aa) "Gross income" means cash income derived from commercial agricultural purposes, as defined in (n) of this subsection. Gross income includes payments received from the United States Department of Agriculture for participating in a crop reduction or acreage set-aside program when such payments are based on the productive capacity of the land. It also includes the wholesale value of agricultural products produced from any parcel of classified land of at least five acres but less than twenty acres in which the agricultural products are donated to nonprofit food banks or feeding programs. The term does not include the following:
(i) The value of any products produced on the land and consumed by the owner or lessee;
(ii) Cash income derived from leases for the use of the land for noncommercial agricultural purposes;
(iii) Payments for soil conservation programs; or
(iv) The value represented from an exchange of goods or services for other goods or services (bartering).
(bb) "Incidental use" means a use of land classified as farm and agricultural land or timber land that is compatible with commercial agricultural purposes or the commercial growing and harvesting of timber. Incidental use for land classified as farm and agricultural land cannot exceed twenty percent of the total classified land, while incidental use for timber land cannot exceed ten percent of the total classified land. An incidental use may include, but is not limited to, wetland preservation, a gravel pit, a farm woodlot, or a produce stand.
(cc) "Integral" means that which is central to or inherent in the use or operation of classified farm and agricultural land for commercial agricultural purposes. To be considered integral to the farming operation, the residence of the farm operator or owner and/or housing for farm employees must be the place(s) from which the farmer conducts his/her commercial agricultural business.
(dd) "Interest" means the amount of applicable interest upon additional tax.
(ee) "Net cash rental" means the earning or productive capacity of farm and agricultural land less the production costs customarily or typically paid by an owner or landlord. See WAC 458-30-260 for a more detailed explanation.
(ff) "Notice of continuance" means the notice signed when land classified under chapter 84.34 RCW is sold or transferred if the new owner of the land intends to continue the classified use of the land and elects to have the land remain classified under chapter 84.34 RCW. This notice is part of the real estate excise tax affidavit or may be a separate document prepared by the department and attached to this affidavit.
(gg) "Open space land" means one of the following:
(i) Any parcel(s) of land so designated by an official comprehensive land use plan adopted by any city or county and zoned accordingly;
(ii) Any parcel(s) of land, by preserving it in its present use would either:
(A) Conserve and enhance natural or scenic resources;
(B) Protect streams or water supply;
(C) Promote conservation of soils, wetlands, beaches, or tidal marshes;
(D) Enhance the value to the public of abutting or neighboring parks, forests, wildlife preserves, nature reservations or sanctuaries, or other open space;
(E) Enhance recreation opportunities;
(F) Preserve historic sites;
(G) Preserve visual quality along highway, road, or street corridors, or scenic vistas;
(H) Retain in its natural state, tracts of land of not less than one acre in size situated in an urban area and open to public use on such conditions as may be reasonably required by the granting authority; or
(iii) Any parcel(s) of farm and agricultural conservation land.
(hh) "Owner" means:
(i) Any person(s) having a fee interest in a parcel of land; or
(ii) The contract vendee when the land is subject to a real estate contract.
(ii) "Parcel of land" means a property identified as such on the assessment roll. For purposes of chapter 84.34 RCW and this WAC chapter, a parcel does not include any land area not owned by the applicant including, but not limited to, a public road, right of way, railroad, or waterway.
(jj) "Penalty" means the amount due when land is removed from classification under chapter 84.34 RCW. The amount of the penalty is equal to twenty percent of the additional tax and interest calculated in accordance with RCW 84.34.080 or 84.34.108.
(kk) "Planning authority" means the local government agency empowered by the appropriate legislative authority to develop policies and proposals relating to land use.
(ll) "Primary use" means the existing use of a parcel or parcels of land so prevalent that when the characteristic use of the land is evaluated a conflicting or nonrelated use appears to be very limited or excluded. The primary use of a parcel does not represent a specific percentage of the total classified land.
(mm) "Qualification of land" means the approval of an application for classification or reclassification of land by a granting authority in accordance with chapter 84.34 RCW.
(nn) "Rating system" means a public benefit rating system adopted for classified open space land according to RCW 84.34.055.
(oo) "Reclassification" means the process by which land classified under chapter 84.34 or 84.33 RCW is changed from one classification to a different classification established by chapter 84.34 RCW or into forest land as described in chapter 84.33 RCW. For example, land classified as farm and agricultural land under RCW 84.34.020(2) may be reclassified as open space land under RCW 84.34.020(1).
(pp) "Removal" or "removed" means land classified under chapter 84.34 RCW is removed from classification by the assessor either because the owner requests removal, the new owner fails to sign the notice of continuance, the assessor does not approve a notice of continuance, or the land is no longer being used for the purpose for which classification was granted.
(qq) "Sale of ownership" means the conveyance of the ownership of a parcel of land in exchange for valuable consideration.
(rr) "Standing crop" includes short rotation hardwoods, Christmas trees, vineyards, fruit trees, or other perennial crops that:
(i) Are planted using agricultural methods normally used in the commercial production of that particular crop; and
(ii) Typically do not produce harvestable quantities in the initial years after planting.
(ss) "Tax year" means the year when property tax is due and payable.
(tt) "Timber land" means any parcel of land, five or more acres in size, or multiple parcels of land that are contiguous and total five or more acres in size, that are primarily used for the commercial growth and harvesting of forest crops.
(i) Timber land refers only to the land and also includes:
(A) Land incidentally used for an activity or enterprise that is compatible with the commercial growing and harvesting of timber as long as the incidental use does not exceed ten percent of the classified land; and
(B) Land on which appurtenances necessary for the production, preparation, or sale of commercial timber products are situated when the appurtenances are used in conjunction with the land(s) producing timber products.
(ii) Timber land does not include:
(A) Land listed on the assessment roll as designated forest land according to chapter 84.33 RCW;
(B) Land on which nonforest crops are located; or
(C) Land used as a residential home site.
(uu) "Timber management plan" is synonymous with a "forest management plan" and details an owner's plan regarding the management of classified timber land including, but not limited to, the planting, growing and/or harvesting of timber. The elements of such a plan are set forth in WAC 458-30-232.
(vv) "Transfer" means the conveyance of the ownership of a parcel of land without an exchange of valuable consideration and may include situations where classified land is donated to an owner, corporation, partnership, or limited liability corporation.
(ww) "True and fair value" is the value of a parcel of land placed on the assessment rolls at its highest and best use without regard to its current use. The term also refers to market value, that is, the amount of money a buyer of property willing, but not obligated to buy would pay a seller of property willing but not obligated to sell, taking into consideration all uses to which the property is adapted and might reasonably be applied.
(xx) "Withdrawal" or "withdrawn" means action taken by the owner of land classified under chapter 84.34 RCW by filing a notice of request to withdraw the land from classification under the current use program in compliance with RCW 84.34.070. Once land has been classified under chapter 84.34 RCW, it must remain classified for at least ten years from the date of classification. At any time after eight years of the initial ten-year classification period have elapsed, the owner may file a notice of request to withdraw all or a portion of the land from classification with the assessor of the county in which the land is located. Land is withdrawn from classification as a result of a voluntary act by the owner.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 84.34.141. WSR 15-03-093, § 458-30-200, filed 1/21/15, effective 2/21/15. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.070 and 84.08.010(2). WSR 12-07-059, § 458-30-200, filed 3/19/12, effective 4/19/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.34.141, 84.34.020, and 84.34.030. WSR 02-20-041, § 458-30-200, filed 9/24/02, effective 10/25/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.34.141. WSR 01-24-030, § 458-30-200, filed 11/27/01, effective 12/28/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.110, 84.08.070, 84.34.141 and 84.34.360. WSR 95-21-002, § 458-30-200, filed 10/4/95, effective 11/4/95. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.010 and 84.08.070. WSR 90-24-087, § 458-30-200, filed 12/5/90, effective 1/5/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 84.08.010(2), 84.34.141 and chapter 84.34 RCW. WSR 88-23-062 (Order PT 88-12), § 458-30-200, filed 11/15/88.]
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