Special Assessment Programs - Overview

This is intended to be a quick overview of some of the Special Assessment programs.  For details on these programs please contact the Department of Assessment and Taxation.

Special Note to Owner, Buyers or Sellers of Specially Assessed Property, Real Estate Professionals or other interested parties:

Specially assessed properties carry a Potential Additional Tax that remains on the land regardless of ownership changes. This means that the special assessment and the Potential Additional Tax liability remain on the property until the Assessor discovers, or it is otherwise determined that such special assessment no longer applies. If a property is disqualified from a special assessment program, regardless of whom the current owner is or for how long they have owned the property, a potential additional tax amount of up to 5 years or 10 years, depending on the program, could be assessed against the property.

Designated Forestland (a.k.a. forest deferral)

Any zoning.  There must be at least two contiguous¹ acres in the same ownership which meet minimum forest management and stocking standards or an acceptable plan to meet the standards must be in place.  Severance tax will not be charged upon harvest and sale of the timber. 
Disqualification: 5 yrs

Small Tract Forestland Option (a.k.a. STFO)

Any zoning.  There must be a minimum of 10 but less than 5,000 acres of forestland in the state of Oregon in the same ownership under either the designated forestlands or highest and best use forestlands²  program.   All contiguous¹ parcels of forestland use in the same ownership (one or more of the owners) must be included.  Severance tax will be charged upon harvest and sale of the timber.  An application for Designation of Land as Forestland and an application for Small Tract Forestland Option may be filed at the same time.  When ownership changes, the assessor has 15 months to notify the new owner to reapply or face disqualification. Once disqualified, the property must remain out of the program for five years. 

Disqualification: 10 yrs from STFO to Designated Forestland; 5 yrs from Designated Forestland to Market

Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) Zoned Farm (a.k.a. Zoned Farm)

Property must be in an Exclusive Farm Use zone and must be used to grow something for sale with the intent to make a profit.  (Zoning of E30, E40 etc.)  No minimum acreage requirement.  No minimum income requirements.

Disqualification: 10 yrs outside Urban Growth Boundary; 5 yrs inside Urban Growth Boundary

Farmland Not Within an Exclusive Farm Use Zone Farm Deferral (a.k.a. Farm Deferral)

Any zoning other than exclusive farm use.   The statute states that a gross income requirement must be met for three out of five years before filing for the deferral and every five-year interval thereafter.  There are, however, certain limitations that should be discussed with the Assessment and Taxation office. The income must be supported by a Schedule F or other farm income tax form.  There is no minimum acreage requirement.
   Yearly Income requirement:                                            Disqualification:  5 yrs

0 – 6.5 acres:    $650

6.5 – 30 acres:  multiply acreage by $100

30+ acres:         $3,000

Wildlife Habitat Conservation and Management Plan

Land must be located in an area zoned for exclusive farm use, mixed farm and forest use, or forest use under a land use planning goal protecting agricultural land or forestland.  Property owners should contact the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to ascertain the requirements and develop a plan.  After approval from the ODFW, an application must be made to the Assessor. 
Disqualification: 10 yrs in EFU outside Urban Growth Boundary; 5 yrs in F1 or F2 or EFU inside Urban Growth Boundary

Open Space

Land that is being used as a golf course open to the general public and all or a portion of the land is within or is contiguous to an urban growth boundary.   
Disqualification: all yrs in program

Conservation Easement

Land that is held by one or more holders and is managed with the terms of the easement that are capable of meeting the requirements for being considered exclusively for conservation purposes under 170(h) of the IRS, must be recorded with county clerk in which land is located and written certification filed with county assessor by owner of the land if deduction has been claimed under 170(h) or the holder of the easement. 
Disqualification: 10 yrs in EFU outside Urban Growth Boundary; 5 yrs all else.


Please note that all applications must be filed between January 1 and April 1 with the Assessor’s office unless it is a request to change designation type due to a notice of declassification from another special assessment program.  If such a notice is received between January 1 and August 14, the owner has until August 1st or 30 days from the date of notice, whichever is later, to submit an application. If such notice is received between August 14 and December 31, the owner has between January 1 and April 1 of the next year to file for another special assessment program.


¹ Land that has a common boundary that is greater than a single point.  Includes parcels separated by public or county roads, state highways, non-navigable streams or non-navigable rivers.

² Highest & Best Use Forestland (a.k.a. forestlands) is generally zoned F1 and are lands for which the most probable, reasonable and legal use of the land is predominately for the growth and harvesting of timber.  This precludes alternative uses such as residential, farm or commercial, which may support a higher value.  This is not a deferral program; the value shown is considered its worth until highest and best use changes.  Most often the status changes because a home site has been established.  At that point, the landowner is notified to apply for deferral in order to keep the lower taxable value.  Severance tax will not be charged upon harvest and sale of the timber.