House Passes Moul Bill to Exempt Agricultural Easements, Land Bank Transfers from Retroactive Tax
HARRISBURG – By a unanimous vote today, the House passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams) that would prevent the Department of Revenue from taxing agricultural easements and land bank transfers prior to the exemption recently passed into law, which became effective on Sept. 11, 2016. Moul’s bill would also permit taxpayers to petition for a refund of taxes improperly imposed on transactions that took place prior to that date.
“The tax code portion of this year’s budget added language to specifically exempt agricultural conservation easements from the Realty Transfer Tax,” said Moul. “Unfortunately, the new language did not include a retroactive effective date, meaning that agricultural conservation easements from the past few years could still receive a realty tax assessment.”
House Bill 2370
would retroactively restore the tax exemption for certain transfers that took place after the exemption was lifted. They include transfers of agricultural conservation easements to or from Pennsylvania, a county, a local government unit or a conservancy under authority of the Agricultural Area Security Law; transfers of conservation easements or preservation easements under the Conservation and Preservation Easement Act; and transfers of perpetual historic preservation easements, perpetual public trail easements or other perpetual public recreational use easements, perpetual scenic preservation easements or perpetual open-space preservation easements to or from the United States, Pennsylvania, a county, a local government unit or conservancy.
“A Realty Transfer Tax would have had a chilling effect on Pennsylvania’s successful farmland preservation program,” said Moul. “The Commonwealth leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production. Instead of landowners selling their land to a developer at a significant profit, this program enables state and county governments to purchase conservation easements and land bank transfers. For this program to continue to be successful, we must ensure that these landowners are not unduly burdened.”
Moul’s legislation, which would go into effect immediately and be retroactive to July 13, 2016, now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Dan Moul
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham