What is the Williamson Act (Ag Preserve)?
The California Land Conservation Act of 1965, commonly referred to as the Williamson Act, is a tax relief measure for owners of farmland. The act permits a landowner, whose land is used for farming, to sign a contract with the County guaranteeing that the land will continue to remain in farming for a period of at least 10 years.
In return for this guarantee, the Assessor annually values land and growing improvements in the Act using a restricted income approach rather than the market value. The farmer gets the benefit of being taxed on the lower of the total base year value, current market value, or restricted (AG Preserve) value. Generally, this means the taxes for the farmer are reduced, sometimes greatly.
You must apply to the Tulare County Planning Department by October 15 to receive Williamson Act benefits for the following tax year if you wish to place your farm property into the AG Preserve. The Assessor's Office may require you to report data pertaining to your agriculture parcels via an AG Preserve Questionnaire.