If you own 20 acres or more of forestland anywhere in North Carolina, you may be eligible for Present Use Tax Valuation. This is a state-mandated program also known as the Use Value Assessment Program. The purpose of the program is to assess taxes on property based on the agricultural or forestry production capacity of the property rather than the market value of the property. The Use Value Assessment Program is intended to enable landowners to keep their land in agricultural or forestry production instead of selling the property because of burdensome taxes.
To qualify for Use Value for forestland, an application must be completed and submitted to the tax office during the listing period, normally the month of January. For forestland, landowners must also have a Forest Management Plan. The forest management plan verifies to the Tax Department that the property is being managed for commodity production in a sound manner as required by the Use Value Law.
All forestland in Wilkes County included in the Use Value Assessment Program is taxed based on a valuation of $248.00 per acre. For some landowners, whose property values have increased due to nearby development, this could mean substantial savings.
There are roll back provisions that enable the county to collect deferred taxes for three previous years plus interest if the land is sold to someone outside of the family. But, for most landowners, if they plan to own the land for four years or more, tax savings will be achieved.
There are several other provisions of the Use Value Assessment Program, but most of them are straightforward and easily understood. For most landowners, the savings gained the first year they are taxed under Use Value are greater than the time and expense involved in the application process.
We can assist you with preparation of a forest management plan that will enable you to be included in the Use Value Assessment Program, and greatly reduce the taxes you pay on your forestland property.