CONSERVATION USE COVENANT INFORMATION
Owners of agricultural land, timberland and environmentally sensitive land may qualify for conservation use assessment under O.C.G.A. Section 48-5-7.4 The Georgia Revenue Commissioner has the responsibility of annually determining the values for ad valorem tax purposes of this type land and publishing rules and regulations to help county tax assessors determine the value of property that qualify for conservation use assessment.
This favorable tax treatment is to protect these property owners from being pressured by the property tax burden to convert their land from agricultural use to residential or commercial use, hence the name “conservation use” assessment.
Eligible Uses of the Property – If qualified the property shall be used for, but not be limited to:
- Raising, harvesting, or storing crops;
- Feeding, breeding, or managing livestock or poultry;
- Production of aquaculture, horticulture, floriculture, forestry, dairy, livestock, poultry, and apiarian products.
Requirements for Conservation Use Assessment
- The property must be owned by one or more natural or naturalized citizens, an estate, a trust, certain family owned farm entities who is within the fourth degree of kin and when the family farm entity derives 80% or more of gross income from bona fide conservation uses; a bona fide club organized for pleasure, recreation, and other non- profitable purpose pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
- Owner agrees to maintain the property in a qualifying use of “good faith” production of agricultural products or timber for 10 years;
- An individual land owner may not have an interest in more than 2,000 acres of tangible real property that is placed in the conservation use assessment program;
- Property must remain devoted to qualifying use: The property must be devoted to farming or commercial production of agricultural products or timber throughout the life of the covenant. Up to 50% of the property must be used for agricultural use. The other 50% may lie dormant, however, the unused portion may not be used for any other business other than agricultural use;
- Any barns, silos or other structures used in connection with the owner’s production of agricultural products or timber for storage and processing would be included in the conservation use assessment;
- The resident and underlying property would be excluded and taxed at Fair Market Value;
- Owners of a tract less than 10 acres will be required by the county tax assessor to submit additional relevant records to prove bona fide conservation use.
Click here for Conservation Use Form
A PENALTY IS CHARGED IF CONTRACT IS BREACHED