Senate File 5 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1repealing the property tax exemption for forest
2reservations and including applicability provisions.
1   Section 1.  Section 427C.1, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   3427C.1  Tax exemption.
   4Any person who establishes a forest or fruit-tree
5reservation as provided in this chapter shall be entitled to
6the tax exemption provided by law.
7   Sec. 2.  Section 427C.2, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   9427C.2  Reservations.
   10On any tract of land in the state of Iowa, the owner
11or owners may select a permanent forest reservation or
12reservations, each not less than two acres in continuous area,
13or a
fruit-tree reservation or reservations, not less than
14one nor more than ten acres in total area, or both, and upon
15compliance with the provisions of this chapter, such owner or
16owners shall be entitled to the benefits provided by law.
17   Sec. 3.  Section 427C.3, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   19427C.3  Forest reservation Buildings — acre exclusion.
   20A forest reservation shall contain not less than two hundred
21growing forest trees on each acre. If the area selected is a
22forest containing the required number of growing forest trees,
23it shall be accepted as a forest reservation under this chapter
24 provided application is made or on file on or before February
251 of the exemption year.
If any buildings are standing on an
26area selected as a forest reservation under this section or a
27 fruit-tree reservation under section 427C.7, one acre of that
28area shall be excluded from the tax exemption. However, the
29exclusion of that acre shall not affect the area’s meeting the
30acreage requirement of section 427C.2.
31   Sec. 4.  Section 427C.9, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   33427C.9  Replacing trees.
   34When any tree or trees on a fruit-tree or forest reservation
35shall be removed or die, the owner or owners of such
-1-1reservation shall, within one year, plant and care for other
2fruit or forest trees, in order that the number of such trees
3may not fall below that required by this chapter.
4   Sec. 5.  Section 427C.10, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   6427C.10  Restraint of livestock and limitation on use.
   7Cattle, horses, mules, sheep, goats, ostriches, rheas, emus,
8and swine shall not be permitted upon a fruit-tree or forest
9 reservation. Fruit-tree and forest reservations shall not be
10used for economic gain other than the gain from raising fruit
11or forest trees.
12   Sec. 6.  Section 427C.11, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   14427C.11  Penalty.
   15If the owner or owners of a fruit-tree or forest reservation
16violate any provision of this chapter within the two years
17preceding the making of an assessment, the assessor shall
18not list any tract belonging to such owner or owners, as a
19reservation within the meaning of this chapter, for the ensuing
20two years.
21   Sec. 7.  Section 427C.12, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   23427C.12  Application — inspection — continuation of
24exemption — recapture of tax.
   251.  It shall be the duty of the assessor to secure the facts
26relative to fruit-tree and forest reservations by taking the
27sworn statement, or affirmation, of the owner or owners making
28application under this chapter; and to make special report to
29the county auditor of all reservations made in the county under
30the provisions of this chapter.
   312.  The board of supervisors shall designate the county
32conservation board or the assessor who shall inspect the area
33for which an application is filed for a fruit-tree or forest
34 reservation tax exemption before the application is accepted.
35Use of aerial photographs may be substituted for on-site
-2-1inspection when appropriate. The application can only be
2accepted if it meets the criteria established by the natural
3resource commission to be a fruit-tree or forest reservation.
4Once the application has been accepted, the area shall continue
5to receive the tax exemption during each year in which the
6area is maintained as a fruit-tree or forest reservation
7without the owner having to refile. If the property is
8sold or transferred, the seller shall notify the buyer that
9all, or part of, the property is in fruit-tree or forest
10 reservation and subject to the recapture tax provisions of
11this section. The tax exemption shall continue to be granted
12for the remainder of the eight-year period for fruit-tree
13reservation and for the following years for forest reservation
14 or until the property no longer qualifies as a fruit-tree or
reservation. The area may be inspected each year by
16the county conservation board or the assessor to determine if
17the area is maintained as a fruit-tree or forest reservation.
18If the area is not maintained or is used for economic gain
19other than as a fruit-tree reservation during any year of the
20eight-year exemption period and any year of the following five
21years or as a forest reservation during any year for which
22the exemption is granted and any of the five years following
23those exemption years
, the assessor shall assess the property
24for taxation at its fair market value as of January 1 of that
25year and in addition the area shall be subject to a recapture
26tax. However, the area shall not be subject to the recapture
27tax if the owner, including one possessing under a contract
28of sale, and the owner’s direct antecedents or descendants
29have owned the area for more than ten years. The tax shall be
30computed by multiplying the consolidated levy for each of those
31years, if any, of the five preceding years for which the area
32received the exemption for fruit-tree or forest reservation
33times the assessed value of the area that would have been taxed
34but for the tax exemption. This tax shall be entered against
35the property on the tax list for the current year and shall
-3-1constitute a lien against the property in the same manner as
2a lien for property taxes. The tax when collected shall be
3apportioned in the manner provided for the apportionment of the
4property taxes for the applicable tax year.
5   Sec. 8.  Section 427C.13, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   7427C.13  Report to department of natural resources.
   8The county assessor shall keep a record of all forest and
9 fruit-tree reservations in the county and submit a report of
10the reservations to the department of natural resources not
11later than June 15 of each year.
12   Sec. 9.  Section 441.22, Code 2019, is amended to read as
   14441.22  Forest and fruit-tree Fruit-tree reservations.
   15Forest and fruit-tree Fruit-tree reservations fulfilling
16the conditions of sections 427C.1 to 427C.13 shall be exempt
17from taxation. In all other cases where trees are planted upon
18any tract of land, without regard to area, for forest, fruit,
19shade, or ornamental purposes, or for windbreaks, the assessor
20shall not increase the valuation of the property because of
21such improvements.
22   Sec. 10.  REPEAL.  Sections 427C.4, 427C.5, and 427C.6, Code
232019, are repealed.
24   Sec. 11.  SAVINGS PROVISION.  This Act, pursuant to section
254.13, does not affect the operation of, or prohibit the
26application of, prior provisions of chapter 427C or section
27441.22, or rules adopted under chapter 17A to administer prior
28provisions of chapter 427C or section 441.22, for assessment
29years beginning before January 1, 2020, and for duties,
30powers, protests, appeals, proceedings, actions, or remedies
31attributable to an assessment year beginning before January 1,
33   Sec. 12.  APPLICABILITY.  This Act applies to assessment
34years beginning on or after January 1, 2020.
1The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
2the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   3Current Code chapter 427C authorizes a property tax
4exemption for certain forest reservations and fruit-tree
5reservations. To qualify for the exemption as a forest
6reservation, the property must be at least two acres in
7continuous area and meet certain tree density requirements.
   8This bill repeals the exemption for forest reservations for
9assessment years beginning on or after January 1, 2020.
   10The bill does not affect the operation of, or prohibit the
11application of, prior provisions of Code chapter 427C or Code
12section 441.22, or rules adopted to administer prior provisions
13of Code chapter 427C or Code section 441.22, for assessment
14years beginning before January 1, 2020, and for duties,
15powers, protests, appeals, proceedings, actions, or remedies
16attributable to an assessment year beginning before January 1,