10-Year CovenantIn return for the favorable tax treatment, the property owner must keep the land undeveloped in a qualifying use for 10 years. Owners who breach their CUV covenant must pay back twice the savings they have received.Applications for CUV assessment must be filed with the county board of tax assessors on or before the last day for filing ad valorem tax returns in the county. The last day is April 1 in most Georgia counties.Specially trained staff appraisers of the Georgia Property Tax Division set CUVs after consulting with the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Statistics Service, Forestry Commission, Department of Natural Resources and Cooperative Extension Service.Setting CUV ValuesThey set the values by a statutory design that takes mostly into account the ability of the soil to grow certain agricultural commodities. But the design also factors in the typical selling price when lands are sold from farmer to farmer and not from farmer to developer.If you want to know if your Georgia property qualifies for CUV, contact your county tax assessor now for the sign-up period that opened Jan. 1.The University of Georgia Extension Service office in your county is a good source of information. Further property tax information is available on-line through the UGA Warnell School of Forest Resources. Look for “Forest Economics and Taxes” in the “Information Library” section under “Service and Outreach.”Or, visit the Georgia DOR’s Web site (www2.state.ga.us/departments/dor/ptd/adm/taxguide/rights.html). CUV Property ClassesThree different classes of property can qualify for conservation-use valuations: Determined by a formula which considers income potential based on soil productivity and market sales for different regions in the state.Calculated by the Georgia Department of Revenue. The DOR, in turn, annually distributes a table of values to each county in the state. Want lower property taxes? Many Georgia landowners may already qualify for a tax break that’s been in effect for a decade. They just don’t know it.Georgia introduced the “Conservation Use Valuation” taxation program for qualified property in 1992. CUV property is assessed at 40 percent of the current-use value. That can be considerably less than property assessed at 40 percent of fair market value.This favorable tax treatment is designed to protect property owners from being pressured by the property tax burden to convert their land from agricultural or forest use to residential or commercial use.CUV RequirementsTo distinguish CUV from fair market values, Georgia law requires the CUV to be: Agricultural and forest property. CUVs for these properties are calculated annually by the DOR for farm lands and woodlands and distributed to the county tax assessors.Environmentally sensitive property. CUVs for environmentally sensitive CUV properties are determined by using the forest table of values. Local assessors will take the forest property description for the lowest productivity class and use the same value.Residential transitional. This class is unique. The CUV is determined by the local tax assessors. The primary goal of valuing residential transitional properties is to remove the influence of location and development from the value.