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What You Need to Know about Texas Wildlife Management and Taxes

Deers in the zoo

Texas is known for having one of the highest property tax rates in the country. That’s why the Texas State Legislature has come up with various incentives to reduce landowners’ tax burden and encourage more people to buy land in Texas. These tax incentives range from research grants to charitable exemptions.

If you’re interested in managing wildlife in your Texas ranch property, here’s what you need to know about the Wildlife Tax Exemption.

What is the Wildlife Tax Exemption?

The Wildlife Tax Exemption is an alternative tax benefit that allows landowners to manage a wildlife property and pay the same property tax rate as an agricultural (ag) exemption. Along with the ag exemption, this special valuation was created by Texas voters in 1995 as a way to conserve the open spaces in this state.

How can I qualify for the Wildlife Tax Exemption?

Any landowner can apply for the Wildlife Tax Exemption. There are a number of important requirements needed in order to qualify for the Wildlife Tax Exemption:

  • Agricultural valuation

    For your property to qualify for the Wildlife Tax Exemption, it must first be under an agricultural or timber valuation a year before you apply for
    the wildlife exemption. Without an agricultural valuation, your application for the Wildlife Tax Exemption will not be considered.

  • Application forms

    Once your property qualifies as agricultural land, you can start accomplishing the Application for 1-D-1 (Open Space) Agricultural Appraisal, the same application form used for appraising the agriculture use of your property. Just make sure that you submit the forms to the County Appraisal District before April 30 of the same year when you want a wildlife tax exemption.

  • Wildlife management plan

    A wildlife management plan is also needed when applying for the Wildlife Tax Exemption. The Wildlife Management Plan for Agricultural Tax Valuation (PWD-885) is a written plan that lists down at least three wildlife management practices that your property should actively utilize. The said practices will be selected from the following list:
    Habit control

    • Erosion control
    • Predator control
    • Providing additional water supplies
    • Providing additional food supplies
    • Providing shelters
    • Making consensus counts to determine population

    Not only is it a requirement that needs to be submitted to the County Appraisal District, but it also serves as your guide when it comes to managing your wildlife property. In making your wildlife management plan, you must only complete the wildlife management plan form and you are not required to consult the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regarding this.

  • Minimum acreage requirement

    If your property has not changed in size since the previous tax year, there is no minimum acreage requirement for the Wildlife Tax Exemption application. But if these tracts of land decreased in size during the previous calendar year, a minimum acreage requirement which ranges from 12 to 50 acres is mandatory.

If you need more information about Texas’s Wildlife Tax Exemption and how it will affect your ranch property, feel free to call me, John Walker, today at 361- 449-2051 or send me an email at desertflowerrealty(at)desertflowerrealty(dotted)com.