Code of the District of Columbia

§ 47–868. Reduced tax liability for certain urban farms.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, if real property is used as an urban farm, then 90% of the real property tax otherwise levied pursuant to [§ 47-811] on the portion of the real property exclusively in use as an urban farm shall be abated for each real property tax year that such portion of the real property is used as an urban farm; provided, that if an urban farm is located on or in an improvement to real property, the abatement shall be applied only to the real property tax otherwise levied pursuant to [§ 47-811] on the portion of the improvement in use as an urban farm, as computed under subsection (a-1) of this section.

(a-1)(1) In the case of an urban farm located in an improvement to real property not exclusively used for urban farming, the portion of the improvement in use as an urban farm shall be computed by dividing the square footage of the portion of the improvement used for urban farming by the gross building area of the improvement.

(2) In the case of an urban farm located on an improvement to real property not exclusively used for urban farming, the portion of the improvement in use as an urban farm shall be computed by dividing the square footage of the portion of the improvement used for urban farming by the total square footage of the improvement, which shall be computed as the sum of the gross building area of the improvement and the roof area.

(b)(1) An abatement permitted under this section shall not exceed the tax liability for the entire parcel of real property on which the urban farm is located, taking into account any other applicable abatements, exemptions, or reductions.

(2) If real property is put to use as an urban farm at some time other than at the beginning of the tax year, the 90% tax abatement provided for in subsection (a) of this section shall be pro-rated according to the portion of the real-property tax year that the real property is in use as an urban farm, notwithstanding any other provision of this section.

(3) No abatement under this section shall exceed $20,000 per parcel of real property, per tax year.

(4) No abatement shall be permitted for an abutting parcel of real property with common or related ownership that is not in use as an urban farm.

(5) If the amount of tax to be abated for any half tax year for all properties certified under subsection (f)(1) of this section exceeds the total amount of funds available as certified under subsection (f)(2) of this section, the available funds shall be allocated pro rata among all properties certified under subsection (f)(1) of this section.

(c) The abatement described in subsection (a) of this section may be apportioned between semiannual installments of tax.

(d)(1) To be eligible to apply for an abatement under this section, an applicant shall, before the property is put to use as an urban farm, submit a proposed annual planting plan to the Department of General Services ("Department") for approval. The annual planting plan may include season-appropriate uses of an urban farm, such as providing cover crops, a bee hive, or growing seedlings in a greenhouse.

(2) After an applicant submits a proposed annual planting plan, the Department shall have 30 calendar days during which to object to the proposed annual planting plan and request modifications to the annual planting plan. If no objection is made within 30 calendar days of submission, the annual planting plan shall be considered approved.

(3) Once approved, the applicant shall retain the annual planting plan for at least 3 years and shall provide the annual planting plan in the event of an audit.

(e)(1) A real property owner requesting a tax abatement under this section shall apply for and provide documentation supporting the tax abatement claim in the form and manner prescribed by the Department pursuant to rules established under subsection (h) of this section.

(2) A real property owner receiving a tax abatement under this section shall make such reports concerning the use of property as may be prescribed by the Department pursuant to rules established under subsection (h) of this section.

(3) A property owner denied an abatement under this section shall have the appeal rights provided by [§ 47-1009].

(f)(1) The Department shall certify semiannually to the Office of Tax and Revenue ("OTR"), in a form and medium prescribed by OTR, each property or portion thereof eligible to receive a real property tax abatement pursuant to this section, as well as the period of time for which the property is eligible for a tax abatement under this section.

(2) The certification required by paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be accompanied by a statement from the Department specifying the amount of funds available under [[§ 48-402.02]], for real property tax abatements for the properties identified pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) Before certifying that a property is eligible for a real property tax abatement pursuant to this section, the Department shall ensure, at a minimum, that:

(A) The soil on the real property has been tested and found to be substantially free from arsenic, lead, and heavy metals and safe for use in the growth of produce fit for human consumption; and

(B) The real property was in use as an urban farm continuously throughout the abatement period pursuant to an approved annual planting plan.

(g) For the purposes of this section, the terms "urban farm" and "produce" shall have the same meaning as provided in [[§ 48-401]].

(h) The Mayor, pursuant to [[subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2]], may issue rules to implement the provisions of this section.


(Apr. 30, 2015, D.C. Law 20-248, § 201(a)(2), 62 DCR 1504; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-257, § 3(a)(2), 64 DCR 2049; Dec. 13, 2017, D.C. Law 22-33, § 7212, 64 DCR 7652.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7212 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-167, Oct. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 10802).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 7212 of Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-104, July 20, 2017, 64 DCR 7032).