AN ACT TO EXPAND THE EXEMPTION FOR FARMERS TO INCLUDE CERTAIN SALES TO A QUALIFYING FARMER FOR A ZOO, TO EXEMPT QUALIFYING ITEMS FROM SALES TAX IF PURCHASED BY A WILDLIFE MANAGER FOR WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES, AND TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE PROPERTY TAXATION OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION LAND.
Senate committee substitute deletes the content of the 1st edition and replaces it with the following.
Effective January 1, 2022, amends GS 105-164.13E, which provides sales and use tax exemptions for certain items purchased by qualifying farmers or conditional farmers. Adds a new subsection to the statute that allows a qualifying farmer or conditional farmer who operates a zoo in addition to the farmer's farming operations a sales and use tax exemption for the items used in the farmer's zoo operations. Specifies that an item is used by a farmer for zoo operations if it is used for the housing, raising, or feeding of animals for public display. Bars income derived from the zoo operations from being included in determining if the farm meets the qualifications for a qualifying farmer or conditional farmer under the statute. Makes the 10 items listed in existing subsection (a) that are primarily used in the farmer's zoo operations exempt from sales and use tax. Makes the provisions of subsections (c) and (c1), which extends the exemption to items purchased to fulfill contracts with and services for a qualifying farmer or conditional farmer, applicable to the zoo operations exemption, as specified.
Effective July 1, 2022, enacts GS 105-164.13F, creating a sales and use tax exemption for eight enumerated items purchased by a wildlife manager used primarily for wildlife management activities, defined as one or more activities for which wildlife conservation land must be used to qualify for the wildlife conservation land classification under GS 105-277.15, as amended by the act. Defines wildlife manager as a person who owns land classified and taxed as wildlife conservation land. Items that may be exempt under the new statute include, among others, feed and feeders; certain rodenticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides; commercial fertilizer, lime, land plaster, mulch, plant plugs, seedlings, saplings, seeds, and seed inoculants; machinery, as described, used for one of three specified purposes, including accessing or developing access to wildlife habitats; and fuel used to operate the exempt machinery. Requires application to the Secretary of Revenue (Secretary) for an exemption certificate pursuant to State law, which is valid for three years and renewable. Provides for the certificate's expiration when the wildlife manager ceases to engage in wildlife management activities or the land no longer qualifies for classification as wildlife conservation land under State law. Requires a certificate holder to notify the Secretary within 30 days upon no longer qualifying for the exemption. Provides for the exemption to extend to certain items purchased by the certificate holder to fulfill a contract with the certificate holder or to perform a service for the certificate holder, subject to the provision of the certificate to the retailer and recordkeeping requirements specified.
Reorganizes GS 105-277.15, which provides for the taxation of land classified as wildlife conservation land. Defines wildlife conservation land as land that meets the size, ownership, and use requirements of the statute. Under current law, wildlife conservation land must be appraised, assessed, and taxed as if it were classified under GS 105-277.3 as agricultural land. Now requires wildlife conservation land used for wildlife species protection or wildlife habitat protection to be appraised and assessed as if it were classified as forestland, and wildlife conservation land used for wildlife reserve to be appraised and assessed as if it were classified as agricultural land.
Makes the following changes to the size, ownership, and use requirements of wildlife conservation land under the statute. Requires the land to consist of at least 20 contiguous acres located in the same county (previously, did not require the land be located in the same county). Adds that once the initial qualifying tract of 20 contiguous acres has been met, one or more additional acres that meet the ownership and use requirements can qualify for enrollment; however, if the land is used for wildlife habitat protection, then the additional acreage must be located in the same county as the qualifying 20-acre tract. Expands the ownership criteria to allow for ownership by a combination of one or more of the three entities previously permitted (an individual, a family business entity, or a family trust) as tenants in common. Allows tenants in common to elect to treat their individual shares as owned by them individually in accordance with GS 105-302(c)(9). Under current law, requires the land to have been owned by the same owner for the previous five years with three exceptions. Now requires that the land have been owned by the same owner for the previous four years, adding four new exceptions, now totaling seven exceptions. Exceptions added include: (1) if the land is the owner's place of residence; (2) if an owner of land enrolled as wildlife conservation land acquires additional land that shares a common boundary with the enrolled land; (3) if the land is owned as tenants in common and the land was owned by one or more of the tenants for the required time; and (4) if the land is acquired through transfer or inheritance from a relative and the land was owned by the relative for the required time.
Reorganizes the current use requirements, which require that the land be managed under a written wildlife habitat conservation agreement with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission) that is in effect as of January 1 of the year in which the benefit is claimed and the agreement requires the owner to do one or more of three specified activities, now organized with descriptors to include wildlife species protection, wildlife habitat protection, or wildlife reserve. Maintains the existing specifications of each of the three activities. Eliminates the additional requirement for land used for wildlife species protection or wildlife habitat protection to have been classified under GS 105-277.3 when the wildlife habitat conservation agreement was signed, or requiring the owner to demonstrate to both the Commission and the assessor that the owner used the land for a purpose specified in the signed wildlife habitat conservation agreement for three years preceding the January 1 of the year in which the benefit is claimed. Maintains the restriction which limits the classification as wildlife conservation land under the statute by capping land used as a wildlife reserve to no more than 800 acres of an owner's land in a county. Now allows for all other land of up to 200 acres (was, 100 acres) of an owner's land in a county to be classified as wildlife conservation land under the statute. Updates internal cross-references to reflect the organizational changes made by the act.
Makes the above changes effective for taxable years imposed beginning on or after July 1, 2022.
Changes the act's titles.