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Georgia State Code
Title      48
Chapter       5  
Section Navigation     1 ... 7.3         7.4 ... 15    
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Section<<< 7.4 7.5 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 >>>  
Title 48, Chapter 5, Section 7.5 (48-5-7.5)

(a) Standing timber shall be assessed for ad valorem taxation only once and such assessment shall be made following its harvest or sale as provided for in this Code section. Such timber shall be subject to ad valorem taxation notwithstanding the fact that the underlying land is exempt from taxation, unless such taxation is prohibited by federal law or treaty. Such timber shall be assessed at 100 percent of its fair market value and shall be taxed on a levy made by each respective taxing jurisdiction according to such 100 percent fair market value. Such assessment shall be made in the county where the timber was grown and shall be taxable by that county and any other taxing jurisdiction therein in which the timber was grown.

(b) For purposes of this Code section, the term "sale" of timber shall mean the arm's length, bona fide sale of standing timber for harvest separate and apart from the underlying land and shall not include the simultaneous sale of a tract of land and the timber thereon.

(c) Lump sum sales.

(1) Where standing timber is sold, in an arm's length, bona fide sale, by timber deed, contract, lease, agreement, or otherwise to be harvested within a three-year period after the date of the sale and for a lump sum price, so much of said timber as will be harvested within three years shall be assessed for taxation as of the date of the sale. The fair market value of such timber for purposes of ad valorem taxation shall be the lump sum price paid by the purchaser in the arm's length, bona fide sale. Any timber described in any sale instrument which is not harvested within three years after the date of the sale shall later be assessed for taxation following its future harvest or sale. Ad valorem taxes shall be payable by the seller and shall be calculated by multiplying the 100 percent fair market value of the timber times the millage rate levied by the taxing authority on tangible property for the previous calendar year. Immediately upon receipt by the seller of the purchase price, the seller shall remit to the purchaser the amount of ad valorem tax due on the sale, in the form of a negotiable instrument payable to the tax collector or tax commissioner. Such negotiable instrument shall be remitted by the purchaser to the tax collector or tax commissioner not later than five days after receipt of the tax from the seller. A purchaser failing to make such remittance shall be personally liable for the tax. With said remittance, the purchaser shall present to the board of tax assessors and to the tax collector or tax commissioner a report of the sale showing the lump sum sales price of the standing timber, the date of sale, the addresses of the seller and purchaser, and the location of the standing timber in the county. The tax collector or tax commissioner shall collect from the purchaser the seller's negotiable instrument in payment of the tax; and a receipt showing payment of the tax shall promptly be delivered by the tax collector or tax commissioner to the seller.

(2) Upon request of the purchaser, the tax collector or tax commissioner shall enter upon or attach to the instrument conveying the standing timber a certification that the ad valorem tax has been paid, the date, and the amount of the tax. The certificate shall be signed by the tax collector or tax commissioner or his deputy. The purchaser may then present the instrument together with the certificate to the clerk of superior court of the county or counties in which the standing timber is located, who shall then file the instrument for record. The ad valorem tax levied under this subsection on lump sum sales of standing timber shall be paid to the tax collector or tax commissioner prior to and as a prerequisite to the filing for record of the instrument with the clerk of superior court, and the clerk shall not be permitted to file the instrument for record unless the instrument discloses on its face the proper certificate showing that the tax has been paid; and the certificate shall be recorded with the instrument.

(d) Unit price sales.

(1) Any person purchasing standing timber, in an arm's length, bona fide sale, by timber deed, contract, lease, agreement, or otherwise by unit prices shall furnish a report to the seller and the county board of tax assessors within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. The report shall show the total dollar value of standing timber paid to the seller and the volume, in pounds, if available, or measured volume, of softwood and hardwood pulpwood, chip and saw logs, saw timber, poles, posts, and fuel wood harvested. Such report shall include such data through the last business day of the calendar quarter, the names and addresses of the seller and the purchaser, and the location of the harvested timber. A copy of such report shall also be furnished by the seller to the tax assessors within 60 days after the end of the calendar quarter. The fair market value of such timber for purposes of ad valorem taxation shall be the total dollar values paid by the purchaser in the arm's length, bona fide sale. Ad valorem taxes shall be payable by the seller in the unit price sales transaction as provided in subsection (h) of this Code section and shall be calculated by multiplying the 100 percent fair market value of the timber times the millage rate levied by the taxing authority on tangible property for the previous calendar year.

(2) Reports to the tax assessors shall be confidential, shall not be revealed to any person other than authorized tax officials, and shall be exempt from disclosure under Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50.

(e) Owner harvests. Owners of real property in this state who harvest standing timber from their own lands shall report the volume, in pounds, if available, or measured volume, of softwood and hardwood pulpwood, chip and saw logs, saw timber, poles, posts, and fuel wood harvested through the last business day of each calendar quarter from said lands to the tax assessors within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Such reports shall also identify the location of the tract from which the standing timber was harvested. The fair market value of such timber for purposes of ad valorem taxation shall be as determined under subsection (g) of this Code section. Ad valorem taxes shall be paid by the landowner as provided in subsection (h) of this Code section and shall be calculated by multiplying the 100 percent fair market value of the timber times the millage rate levied by the taxing authority on tangible property for the previous calendar year.

(f) Other sales and harvests. Every sale and every harvest of timber not previously taxed (excepting only a sale not for harvest within three years) shall be a taxable event. If any such sale or harvest is not a reportable taxable event described under subsection (c), (d), or (e) of this Code section, such timber shall be subject to ad valorem taxation under this subsection; and such sale or harvest shall be reported and taxed under the provisions of subsection (c), (d), or (e) of this Code section, whichever is most nearly applicable.

(g) The commissioner, after consultation with the Georgia Forestry Commission, shall provide the tax assessors of each county with the weighted average price paid, in pounds and measured volume, during each calendar year for softwood and hardwood pulpwood, chip and saw logs, saw timber, poles, posts, and fuel wood in each county or multicounty area within 60 days of the end of each calendar year. The most recent weighted average prices provided by the commissioner shall be applied by the tax assessors to the volume of wood removals reported as provided in this Code section to determine the fair market value of timber harvested other than under a taxable lump sum sale or taxable unit price sale.

(h)(1)(A) Based on the reports and data provided under subsections (d), (f), and (g) of this Code section, the tax collector or tax commissioner shall on a quarterly basis mail tax bills for sales and harvests other than lump sum sales. Ad valorem taxes on such sales and harvests shall be payable by the landowner within 30 days of receipt of the bill from the tax collector or tax commissioner.

(B) Based upon the reports and data provided under subsections (e) and (g) of this Code section, ad valorem taxes for owner harvests shall be payable by the landowner to the tax collector or tax commissioner within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter.

(2) Any ad valorem tax or penalty which is not timely paid as provided in this Code section shall bear interest at the rate specified in Code Section 48-2-40 from the due date. Unpaid taxes, penalty, and interest imposed under this Code section shall constitute a lien against the property of the person responsible for payment of such tax and shall be collected in the same manner as other unpaid ad valorem taxes are collected.

(i) The millage rate applicable at the time of sale or the time of harvest of standing timber shall be the millage rate levied by the taxing authority on tangible property for the preceding calendar year.

(j) Any person who fails to timely make any report or disclosure required by this Code section shall pay a penalty of 50 percent of the tax due, except that if the failure to comply is unintentional and the report or disclosure is filed within 12 months after the due date the amount of the penalty shall be 1 percent for each month or part of a month that the report or disclosure is late.

(k) Forms for reports required by this Code section shall be supplied to each county by the department.

(l)(1) In any county in which the ad valorem taxation of timber pursuant to this Code section reduces the total property tax digest of such county for tax year 1992 by more than 20 percent of the amount of the total property tax digest of such county for the immediately preceding taxable year, such digest shall be supplemented as follows:

(A) The difference between the total property tax digest for the county and the total property tax digest less the total assessed value of standing timber removed from the digest shall be calculated;

(B) The difference calculated under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall be reduced by the fair market value of sold or harvested timber; and

(C) If the amount calculated under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph is more than 20 percent of the amount of the total property tax digest of such county for the immediately preceding taxable year, the resulting amount shall be assigned and taxed on a levy made by the tax officials of such county in a pro rata manner against the land underlying the standing timber so removed from the digest.

(2) Where a digest is so supplemented for tax year 1992, it shall be supplemented in subsequent years as follows:

(A) For tax year 1993, such supplemental assessment shall be in an amount equal to 75 percent of the supplemental assessment received for tax year 1992;

(B) For tax year 1994, such supplemental assessment shall be in an amount equal to 50 percent of the supplemental assessment received for tax year 1992;

(C) For tax year 1995, such supplemental assessment shall be in an amount equal to 25 percent of the supplemental assessment received for tax year 1992; and

(D) For tax year 1996 and future tax years, no supplemental assessment shall be received.

(m)(1) Any supplemental assessment added to a digest pursuant to subsection (l) of this Code section shall not be included in the calculation of the equalized adjusted school property tax digest under Code Section 48-5-274 for the purpose of calculating the required local five mill share for school funding purposes under Code Section 20-2-164.

(2) The fair market value of timber harvested or sold added to a digest pursuant to this Code section shall be included in the calculation of the equalized adjusted school property tax digest under Code Section 48-5-274 for the purpose of calculating the required local five mill share for school funding purposes under Code Section 20-2-164.

Saturday May 23 16:06 EDT


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