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Possible Tax Issue

October 26, 2008

I received this by way of the Back County Horseman of Washington and I thought that more people should have this information. It isn't exactly our issue yet but ........

Dear Horsey Friends,

Thank you for all of your support these last couple of months. As most of you know, King County has come down hard on all the farms in King County the last few months. After 30+ years, King County and the Washington State Department of Revenue changed their interpretation of the Open Space Taxation Act which is jeopardizing the existence of farms, especially horse farms, in King County (and all of Washington for that matter because it is the Washington State Department of Revenue that is requiring this different interpretation.) Therefore, I have to ask for another favor….please attend the public hearing on November 13th from 10-noon at: 1025 Union Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98504, 4th Floor Executive Conference Room.

This is the meeting that really counts!!!!! 

Please contact Marilou at the DOR to confirm your attendance. Her email is: MarilouR@DOR.WA.GOV. Please contact your horsey friends and especially other horse boarders and ask them to rsvp for this meeting. This is the meeting that will determine the viability of horse farms in King County and the State of Washington. This is the farm owner's and equestrian's opportunity to finally be heardJ

Also, if you are unable to attend this meeting, please email your written comments Marilou at MarilouR@DOR.WA.GOV.

Thank you,

Dana Kapela
dkapela@msn.com
206/930-2163

Please see letter below from the Department of Revenue…..:

STATE OF WASHINGTON
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
October 15, 2008
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Brad Flaherty, Assistant Director
Property Tax Division
SUBJECT: STAKEHOLDER MEETING TO REVIEW OPEN SPACE TAXATION
ACT DEFINITION (WAC 458-30-200)
The Department of Revenue wants to acknowledge recent concerns and confusion about the
definition of "commercial agricultural purposes" as defined in WAC 458-30-200 and is
beginning a stakeholder process to consider changes to the rule.
Definition to be reviewed
The Legislature enacted chapter 84.34 RCW, the Open Space Taxation Act, in 1970, and the
Department adopted rules (chapter 458-30 WAC) to implement and administer this program in
1971. In 1988, the original rules were repealed and new rules adopted, including WAC 458-30-
200, which defines "commercial agricultural purposes," in pertinent part, as the:
(i) Raising, harvesting, and selling lawful crops;
(ii) Feeding, breeding, managing, and selling of livestock, poultry, fur-bearing
animals, or honey bees, or any products thereof;
(iii) Dairying or selling of dairy products;
(iv) Animal husbandry;
(v) Aquaculture;
(vi) Horticulture; or
(vii) Participating in a government-funded crop reduction or acreage set-aside
program.
Except for the inclusion of the cultivation of Christmas trees and certain short-rotation
hardwoods, the definition of "commercial agricultural purposes" has remained virtually
unchanged since at least 1988. It is time to give the definition a thorough review to make sure it
makes sense in light of current agricultural practices and other current use provisions.
Specific issues to be addressed
We are aware of two specific issues that need to be covered. Persons who purchase calves or
piglets in the Spring, raise them over the Summer, and sell them in the late Fall want this activity
to be included in the definition of "commercial agricultural purposes." The eligibility of horse
boarding also needs to be addressed. You may know of other issues we need to consider.
First stakeholder meeting scheduled
Our initial stakeholder meeting to consider possible rule changes will be held at 1025 Union
Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98504, 4th Floor Executive Conference Room, on Thursday,
November 13, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. We invite you and others you may know who have an
All Interested Parties
October 15, 2008
Page 2
interest in clarifying this rule to join us in a discussion. Space is limited so please confirm your
attendance by responding to the e-mail address below. Based on the issues raised and interest
shown at this meeting, additional meetings may be planned, including meetings throughout the
state as appropriate.
Additional questions
If you have any additional questions or would like more information about the meeting, please
contact Marilou Rickert in the Department's Interpretations and Technical Advice Division at
(360) 570-6115 or by e-mail at MarilouR@DOR.WA.GOV.
BF:slc

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