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How to Become Farm Tax Exempt in Illinois

Title: How to Become Farm Tax Exempt in Illinois: A Comprehensive Guide


Becoming farm tax exempt in Illinois can bring numerous financial benefits to farmers and agricultural landowners. By obtaining tax-exempt status, individuals can significantly reduce their tax burdens and access various incentives offered by the state. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to become farm tax exempt in Illinois, including the necessary steps and requirements. Additionally, we will address frequently asked questions (FAQs) to further clarify the process.

I. Steps to Becoming Farm Tax Exempt in Illinois:

1. Verify Eligibility:
To qualify for farm tax exempt status in Illinois, individuals must meet specific criteria. The primary requirement is that the property must be actively engaged in farming or agricultural activities. This includes activities such as crop production, livestock breeding, and beekeeping. Additionally, the farm must generate a minimum gross income of $1,000 per year.

2. Gather Documentation:
Collect all relevant documentation to support your application. This includes proof of income, such as sales receipts and financial statements, as well as any other records that demonstrate your active engagement in farming activities. Keep records of expenses, crop yields, and any other relevant information that showcases the agricultural nature of your property.

3. Obtain an Application:
Contact the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) or download the appropriate forms from their website. The primary form required for farm tax exemption is the ST-587, which is the Illinois Sales Tax Exemption Certificate for Agricultural Inputs. Fill out the form accurately and completely, providing all necessary details about your property and farming activities.

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4. Submit the Application:
Once you have completed the ST-587 form, submit it to the IDOR. Ensure that all information is accurate and that you have attached any required supporting documentation. Keep a copy of the application for your records.

5. Await Approval:
The IDOR will review your application and determine whether you meet the criteria for farm tax exemption. The review process may take several weeks, so be patient. If approved, you will receive a Certificate of Registration, confirming your tax-exempt status.

6. Maintain Compliance:
After obtaining farm tax exemption, it is crucial to comply with any reporting requirements and maintain accurate records. The IDOR may conduct periodic audits to verify your eligibility for continued tax exemption. Ensure that you adhere to all regulations and promptly provide any requested information.


1. What are the benefits of farm tax exemption in Illinois?
Farm tax exemption provides various advantages, such as reduced tax burdens, exemptions on specific farm-related purchases, and eligibility for government programs and grants designed to support the agricultural industry.

2. Can I claim tax exemption if my farm does not meet the minimum income requirement?
No, to qualify for farm tax exemption, your farm must generate a minimum gross income of $1,000 per year. However, consult with the IDOR to explore other options or exemptions that may be available to you.

3. Can I apply for farm tax exemption if I lease agricultural land?
Yes, both landowners and tenants can apply for farm tax exemption in Illinois. However, it is important to ensure that the necessary farming activities are being conducted on the property to meet the eligibility requirements.

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4. Are there any ongoing responsibilities after obtaining farm tax exemption?
Yes, maintaining compliance is essential. This includes accurately reporting income, expenses, and any changes in farming activities. It is recommended to keep detailed records and seek professional advice to ensure ongoing compliance.


Becoming farm tax exempt in Illinois is an advantageous step for farmers and agricultural landowners. By following the outlined steps and meeting the necessary requirements, individuals can significantly reduce their tax burdens and access various incentives and programs offered by the state. Remember to maintain accurate records, comply with reporting obligations, and seek professional assistance if needed. With proper guidance, you can successfully obtain farm tax exemption and enjoy the financial benefits it provides.

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