$1 Property Tax On Million Dollar Land? It’s Legal

$1 Property Tax On Million Dollar Land? It’s Legal

Holladay, UTIt sounds like a great combination: extremely valuable land, with rock-bottom property taxes. It’s real, legal and happening in one of the wealthiest corners of the state, in Holladay in the Walker-Cottonwood Lanes area.

We were surprised, and you may be surprised how a few people here can pay property taxes of less than $20 a year, on land worth more than a million dollars.

It’s a place of magnificent estates, crystal clear swimming pools and private tennis courts. But for some people here in Holladay animals are what make taxes go way down.

A parcel with horses on it, valued at more than $1,242,000, 2006 property tax: $1.11. Another parcel with a tree farm, beehives and fish worth more than $3,422,300. Property tax just $19.02.

How does it work? Close to a dozen people in this area have property which qualifies for something called the Utah Farmland Assessment Act, otherwise known as Greenbelt.

How does it work? Close to a dozen people in this area have property which qualifies for something called the Utah Farmland Assessment Act, otherwise known as Greenbelt.

Under Utah state law, a law that has been in place now for more than 35 years, if you have at least five acres connected together and you have a certain number of animals or crops on that land, you can get a huge, legal tax break.

Under Utah state law, a law that has been in place now for more than 35 years, if you have at least five acres connected together and you have a certain number of animals or crops on that land, you can get a huge, legal tax break.

Is it a good program?

Charlie Roberts from the Utah State Tax Commission says greenbelt’s aim is to save Utah farms.

“It was virtually impossible for people with farms, particularly small farms, to stay in business if their property were assessed at residential or commercial values,” says Roberts.

But to the organization representing thousands of Utah farmers Greenbelt planted within this exclusive neighborhood is a surprise.

In one case a farm with five parcels is worth more than $10.6 million dollars. If that land were not on greenbelt the property taxes would be in the range of $140,000. On greenbelt the actual taxes paid in 2006? Roughly $60.

The tax break is for undeveloped land, which some argue preserves valuable open space and country living.

Greenbelt property owners in Holladay who own homes, pay the going tax rate on houses, and land tied to them – in a couple of cases, tens of thousands of dollars.

Statewide more than 100,000 parcels are on Greenbelt, saving farmers millions in taxes, and advocates say, keeping farms alive.

What about the assessor’s office? Is it strictly enforcing the law, as the farmers want?

The Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office says it is and that it sends out investigators to check on the property and how it’s used and that under the law the Holladay properties qualify for the significantly reduced taxes.

By Brian Mullahy, KUTV

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