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CUV Programs Provide Big Tax Savings
Few people know about Conservation Use Valuation, a Georgia tax program begun in 1992. For the ones who do, though, it has saved them considerable money in ad valorem taxes.

CUV tax savings for qualified farm and forest landowners has amounted to $212 million over the eight-year period, said Coleman Dangerfield of the University of Georgia Center for Forest Business.

The tax savings in 1999 alone were an estimated $43.7 million. That's a lot of money, but it represents only 0.84 percent of the $5.2 billion collected annually in property taxes in the state.

Environmental Impacts

Dangerfield, an Extension Service economist and professor in UGA's Warnell School of Forest Resources, said CUV was a response to concerns for urban sprawl, land use transition and resulting environmental impacts.

"It provides tax relief for broad classes of qualified agriculture and forest landowners," he said.

Under the program, a landowner signs a 10-year agreement with the county to receive current-use, as opposed to fair-market valuation of the property for tax purposes. The landowner gets a lower tax bill, and the rest of the state gets more green and open space in farms and forests.

Details in New Publication

Details of the CUV program are now in a new publication from the Center for Forest Business. " Property Tax Incentives for the Georgia Landowner" is under CFB research notes on the Warnell School's CFB Web page.

The publication can be viewed as electronic slides on-line, with speaker notes. Or you can download it to print or to view on portable computers.

The bulletin covers the ad valorem tax issues of CUV for agricultural, forest and environmentally sensitive land and for residential transitional property.

It provides details, too, on the one-time county ad valorem tax on timber at harvest or at sale for harvest. And it covers issues of property tax digests, assessed values, millage rates and fair market value (FMV) for property.

The CFB publication also covers Agricultural Preferential Assessment for farm and forest land, a program similar to CUV.

(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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