What are the tax advantages of land rental versus ownership?

What are the tax advantages of land rental versus ownership?
What are the tax advantages of land rental versus ownership?

Which is preferable—renting or owning land? The disparities between the tax benefits are rarely mentioned, even though both sides have many advantages in this recent hot-button issue in agriculture.

Let's examine each opportunity's potential for a tax deduction.

Landowner Property Taxes

Property taxes on a house or land with a place on it are not tax-deductible, while all property taxes from farmland are. One must compare the home's value to the farmland's value to determine how much of a business's property taxes are tax deductible.

The down payment for the purchase and the principal payments on a farm real estate loan is not tax deductible. Despite this, loan interest payments are. It is also tax-deductible to pay interest on operational or equipment loans.
Land Enhancements

Owning farmland entails taking ownership of the land's condition. Tax deductions are available for any running costs used to enhance the property. Examples could include, with some restrictions, tiling a field or fencing off pasture land, depending on your state.
Land Lease Rent

When renting land, you can deduct the entire rent payment from your taxes, unlike when taking out a farmland loan. Typically, a rent payment covers both the cost of the right to farm the land as well as the ground's property taxes.


It would be considered "double-dipping" if an operational loan were used to pay the land's rent because the interest on the loan would also be deductible from income. Again, depending on the rental agreement, this also applies to loans for equipment or other necessary operating costs.

Renting could allow you to deduct more money from your taxes, even when owning land gives you more opportunities. While deciding how to manage your land, you should also consider the obligations and constraints of rental agreements, homeownership on properties, and necessary land upgrades. How, therefore, should we respond to the question of owning vs. renting? Simple: There is no obvious solution. Both you are renting and owning come with various tax advantages and deductions. The decision that will benefit your business the most is the ideal one.

Jaques is not a CPA or attorney; he is a real estate broker with nine state licenses. Always consult a professional before making any financial or legal decisions.

FarmlandFinder digitalizes agricultural transactions, enhancing transparency and accessibility for all parties. As the director of real estate, Jaques manages the farmland market and real estate compliance.