Each of the following specialized assessments lasts a period of ten years. Each is designed to provide tax savings to special interest properties in a rapidly changing economic environment. No more than 2,000 acres can be placed in these covenants in the state of Georgia.
Certain covenants can be renewed every ten years if the property continues to meet all qualifications. A breach of any of these covenants results in a penalty where any tax savings accrued over the life of the covenant must be paid back double. Any applications for these covenants must be filed with the Board of Assessors by April 1 each year to receive benefit for that tax year
Conservation Use – designed for farming or agricultural land that generates income and good faith production of agricultural products. The acreage of this land is valued according to Department of Revenue soil productivity values and can only increase 3% per year. The tax savings are calculated as the difference between the soil conservation value and the actual fair market value.
Residential Transitional – designed for residential property that is located in an area transitioning to commercial property. Instead of being valued as commercial property, a qualified applicant receives tax savings by continuing to be valued as residential property.
Environmentally Sensitive – designed for wetland habitats or river corridors that are specifically recognized by the Department of Natural Resources as Environmentally Sensitive property. These properties receive tax savings similar to conservation use properties.
Preferential Agricultural – designed for agricultural property and includes up to $100,000 for qualified storage buildings. Property is assessed at 30 percent of fair market value instead of 40 percent. However, the penalty for any breach is based on a factor according to years in the covenant.
Brownfield – designed for contaminated property which qualifies for participation in Georgia’s Hazardous Site Reuse and Redevelopment Program and is designated as such by the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources. This program freezes the value of the property as an incentive to clean up the property and allows an eligible owner to recoup the cleanup costs against their tax liability.
Forest Land Protection Act is a new form of specialized assessment that originated in 2009. This covenant is designed for forest land tracts consisting of more than 200 acres. The covenant is for fifteen years and is valued according to forest land conservation use values. These values cannot increase by more than 3% each year. The tax savings will be the difference between the Forest Land fair market value and the conservation use values. The penalty for a breach is based on a factor of two to three times the tax savings depending on the year in which a breach occurs. An application for this covenant must be filed with the Board of Assessors by April 1 to receive tax benefits for that tax digest year.
** For more information on any of these specialized assessments, please refer to the Georgia Department of Revenue Local Government Services website.