Highland Supervisors rescind farm machinery tax

Monterey, Va. –

The Highland County Board of Supervisors has rescinded the county property tax on farm machinery. After hearing several county residents speak in favor of this action, the Supervisors passed a motion to take this tax off the books. County Attorney Melissa Dowd introduced the issue at the meeting last week.

“The issue that was raised by the Commissioner of Revenue and also by Mr. Blagg is whether or not the county wants to exempt in whole or in part farm machinery, implements or equipment from personal property taxes,” said Ms. Dowd. “You have the authority to do this under the tax codes,” she said.

County Extension Agent Rodney Leech spoke in favor of doing away with this tax.

“Thank you for consideration of eliminating the farm machinery tax,” said Mr. Leech. “It’s long overdue and hard to assess across the county. With our producers, it’s a matter of competitiveness with producers from other regions that are not assessed this that are operating in the county and are not taxed this because they live in another county. I believe it’s the right thing to do. It’ll help our producers have a little more money to put back in the land a little more fertilizer and lime and to support our local businesses. So I fully support this,” said Mr. Leech.

Since the state does not keep records on farm machinery owned by residents, the collection of this tax was dependent on citizens reporting their equipment to the county. Sheriff’s Deputy and farmer, Bill Wagner also spoke in favor of doing away with this tax.

“My name is Bill Wagner,” he said. “As you all know I live here in the county with my wife and son. I work and farm here in Highland County. (I) love this county and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I appreciate the Supervisors time in having this public hearing on reducing farm machinery taxes. What is a farmer? I think you consider this a resident who has to produce his Schedule F taxes to the Commissioner and if you have sold over $20,000 or more agricultural products, you should be able to file for an exemption on your farm machinery. This consideration will cut down on some of those who will try to take advantage of this opportunity for farm machinery. And it wouldn’t be such a burden on the county’s tax base. With the cost of equipment and supplies going up and up, this will be a small help to the farmers. I appreciate your time and consideration.”

Bobby Hefner also spoke in favor of removing this tax.

“I’m Bobby Hefner and I farm in Highland County and we’ve tried for years to get rid of this equipment tax,” she said. “I appreciate Lee (Supervisor Lee Blagg) trying to get it pushed up a little bit. I’m not in favor of doing it the way Bill wants to do it, because I don’t want to make it complicated. Another thing, it isn’t fair because honesty comes into this. How many people buy new tractors and don’t go in and tell them they have a new tractor? Another thing, people moving into the county, sometimes they don’t even know they are supposed to report. I know a new resident that has a new tractor and I know darn well it’s not reported. If you want to up my land taxes .OK. But take this tax away. I’d appreciate it as would other farmers I think. And I think it would be more fair. Thank you,” she said.

The Supervisors voted to remove farm machinery from the county’s personal property tax code. The Supervisors also voted to table the issue of property tax on tools and other machinery for consideration at a future meeting.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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