Conservation Use Value Covenant (CUVA) Information
The Conservation Use Value Covenant was lobbied by Georgia Legislators in 1991 and was signed into law in 1992. The taxpayer agrees to keep his property in a “good faith” farming use for the life of the covenant exemption which is 10 years. During this 10 year period the land is valued according to schedules provided by the Georgia Department of Revenue. These values are based on the productivity of each type of soil in the state of Georgia. The values are provided to the county Board of Assessors on an annual basis. The exemption does provide that the covenant value cannot increase more than 3% in one year, and also that it cannot exceed more than a 34.39% increase during the life of the 10 year covenant. This methodology is implemented consistently and uniformly, by the appraisal staff, among all properties that are subject to the covenants.
All taxpayers are encouraged to visit the Tax Assessor’s Office regarding these exemptions. Printed materials are available from the Department of Revenue and the Cooperative Extension Office concerning this covenant.
Since all exemptions and covenants cause shifts in the property tax burden of this county, the Gordon County Tax Assessor’s office and the Board of Assessors work diligently to ensure that these exemptions and covenants are implemented fairly, consistently, correctly, and in accordance to O.C.G.A. 48-5.
Read O.C.G.A. 48-5-7.4
Read the official document from the Gordon County Board of Assessors (Coming Soon)
January 1 – April 1
This is the time for the taxpayer to make sure your property is charged correctly.
This is also the time to review your personal property, which includes boats, aircraft or businesses. You are required to return those annually so they are charged correctly for tax purposes.
Check with the Tax Commissioner’s office and make sure you have all the exemptions you are eligible for. And do not forget to signup for Farm Covenants and Homestead Exemptions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the covenant good for and can I renew the covenant?
Covenants do NOT run more than 10 years, when a taxpayer “renews” that is a different covenant for another 10 years. The language in the STATUE is VERY clear: O.C.G.A. 48-5-7.4 (d) No property shall qualify for current use assessment under this Code section unless and until the owner of such property agrees by covenant with the appropriate taxing authority to maintain the eligible property in bona fide qualifying use for a period of then years beginning on the first day of January of the year in which such property qualifies for such current use assessment and ending on the last day of December of the final year of the covenant period. After the owner has applied for and has been allowed current use assessment provided for in this Code section, it shall not be necessary to make application thereafter for any year in which the covenant period is in effect and current use assessment shall continue to be allowed such owner as specified in this Code section. At least 60 days prior to the expiration date of the covenant, the county board of tax assessors shall send by first-class mail written notification of such impending expiration.
Can my covenant value increase?
Covenants value cannot increase more than 3% in one year and cannot exceed more than 34.39% during the life of the 10 year covenant. The language in the Georgia Rules and Regulations is VERY clear: 560-11-6-.07 (i) Except as otherwise provided, the total current use valuation for any property, including qualified improvements, whose qualifying use is as bona fide conservation use property for any year during the covenant period shall not be increased or decreased by more than three percent from the current use valuation for the immediately preceding tax year or be increased or decreased during the entire covenant period by more than 34.39 percent from its current use valuation for the first year of the covenant period. The limitations imposed herein shall apply to the total value of all the conservation use property that is the subject of an individual covenant including any improvements that meet the qualifications set forth in O.C.G.A. 48-5-7.4(a)(1); provided, however, that in the event the owner changes the use of any portion of the land, such as from timber land to agricultural land, or adds or removes therefrom any such qualified improvements, the limitations imposed by this subsection shall be recomputed as if the new uses and improvements were in place at the time the covenant was originally entered. This limitation on increases or decreases shall not apply to the current use valuation of residential transitional property.
How is a conservation use property valued?
VALUATION OF CONSERVATION USE PROPERTY: Specially trained staff appraisers of the Georgia Department of Revenue Local Government Services Division determine values of conservation use property annually after consultation with the Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Agricultural Statistical Service, the Georgia Forestry Commission, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Cooperative Extension Service. Values are determined according to statutory scheme that takes mostly into account the ability of the soil to grow certain agricultural commodities, but also weighs in the typical selling price when sales of land are made from “farmer to farmer” and not from “farmer to developer”. The resulting table of current use land values differs according to the soil productivity with “1” being assigned to the most productive land and “9” being assigned to the least productive land. There are eighteen soil productivity classes: A1-A9 is for agricultural land (crop land and pasture land W1-W9 for timberland There are over 900 different soil types that have been identified by the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agricultural. The Revenue Commissioner has grouped these soil types into the eighteen soil productivity classes.
How does Gordon County implement soil maps?
Previously our soil study provided to us by the Soil Conservation Service in October 1965 was hard copy lines over very old aerial photography; in 2011 we obtained these soil maps as an overlay to be used with current aerial photography to more accurately implement the types of soils and soil productivity classes.
Why 2 acres per residence is excluded from the CUVA covenant now?
This was derived from the 2011-2012 Regular Legislative Session from House Bill 916 and was effective May 1, 2012 and amended O.C.G.A. 48-5-7.4 (b) and clearly states: (B) Such property excludes the entire value of any residence and its underlying property; as used in this subparagraph, the term “underlying property” means the minimum lot size required for residential construction by local zoning ordinances or two acres, whichever is less. This provision for excluding the underlying property of a residence from eligibility in the conservation use covenant shall only apply to property that is first made subject to a covenant or is subject to the renewal of a previous covenant on or after May 1, 2012.
Why did my value not change at all for some years?
Taxpayers under CUVA in 2009, 2010 and 2011 also benefited from the Moratorium in effect for those years stating that the value of the property could not change without significant change such as adding structure. This Moratorium was put in place by Legislation and all 159 counties in Georgia had to abide and not raise values for those years. ( HB 233 February 2009 for the Moratorium)
Can you breach without penalty at a certain age?
O.C.G.A. 48-5-7.4 (q) (3) which states : (3) Any case in which a covenant is breached solely as a result of an owner electing to discontinue the property in its qualifying use, provided such owner has renewed without an intervening lapse at least once the covenant for bona fide conservation use, has reached the age of 65 or older, and has kept the property in a qualifying use under the renewal covenant for at least three years. Such election shall be in writing and shall not become effective until filed with the county board of tax assessors;
Can you breach with penalty due to medical reasons?
O.C.G.A. 48-5-7.4 (q) (2) which states : (2) Any case in which a covenant is breached solely as a result of a medically demonstrable illness or disability which renders the owner of the real property physically unable to continue the property in the qualifying use, provided that the board of tax assessors shall require satisfactory evidence which clearly demonstrates that the breach is the result of a medically demonstrable illness or disability.