Foreign investors must report land holdings

Foreign investors who buy, sell or hold a direct or indirect interest in agricultural lands in the United States are reminded that they are required under the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act to report their holdings and transactions to the U.S. secretary of agriculture.

The secretary of agriculture has delegated the responsibility for collecting this information to the network of county Farm Service Agency offices.

Foreign investors buying or selling land must report such transactions within 90 days of the date of the sale. Failure to file an accurate or timely report can result in a penalty with fines up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land.

Specifically, the act requires reports to be filed by:

n individuals who are not U.S. citizens or citizens of the Northern Mariana Islands or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands;

n individuals who are not lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence or who are not paroled into the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act;

n any organization created under the laws of a foreign government or which has located its principal place of business outside the United States;

n any U.S. organization in which a significant interest or substantial control is directly or indirectly held by foreign individuals, organizations or governments;

n any foreign governments.

Farm Service Agency form FSA-153 is used to report land holdings and transactions.

The completed form must be returned to the FSA county office in which the land is located.

Bill Harmon is excecutive director of the Marion County FSA office.

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