Agricultural Exemption -
with Honey Bees
|Are you interested in saving hundreds, maybe
even thousands on your property taxes each year? If so, having honey bees
can help you qualify. We sell bees (seasonal) and hives starting at around
$500 for an established colony, but for those that may not want to get into
beekeeping, we also offer lease options for our hives starting at $200 each
per hive per year in South Bexar County. Trip charges may apply for other areas,
based on distance from our home bee yards. We do everything to manage and
maintain the hives, and you reap the rewards of the tax breaks and get some
honey as an added bonus. How sweet is that?
Texas law, effective January 1, 2012, made it possible for
beekeeping to qualify for an agricultural exemption on property taxes. This is
covered in the Tax Code under Chapter 23, Subchapter D, Sect. 23.51 (1) and (2).
There are several key phrases and requirements to this law. Sect. 23.51 (1)
covers the definition of "qualified open-space land". Specifics state land that
has an established agricultural use history for five of the preceding seven
years. Record keeping is critical. Registration and permitting with Texas Apiary
Inspection Service (TAIS) helps establish this history. Wording of the law
states agricultural use to the degree of intensity generally accepted in the
area. Each local appraisal district sets their own standards as the accepted
degree of intensity. Most appraisal districts use a minimum of six colonies
(beehives) as a standard. That is the accepted definition of an apiary from
Texas bee law under the Agriculture Code, Title 6, subtitle A, Chapter 131,
Sect. 131.001 (2).
Size of qualifying acreage is not less than 5 or more than 20 acres. Remember
the definition of agriculture use. Losing an acre to a homestead exemption has
to be accounted for on acreage.
Also, realize the landowner does not have to own the bees. You may lease the
property to a beekeeper. Again, keep accurate and complete records. The wording
of the law states "the use of land to raise or keep bees for pollination or for
the production of human food or other tangible products having a commercial
Lastly, it is important to stress the fact that each local appraisal district
can set their own standards and requirements for the beekeeping exemption.
Please contact your local appraisal district for guidance and minimum
We are based just south of San Antonio, Texas. However, we cover
a large portion of central and south Texas. Contact us to reserve bees for your
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