CONSERVATION USE

Georgia’s Conservation Use Valuation Assessment program, known as CUVA, is a complex property tax abatement program that allows qualifying natural or naturalized citizens, qualifying estates and trusts, and family-owned farm entities to pay lower property taxes in exchange for maintaining the land as is for 10 years. If the 10-year covenant is broken, the qualifying person must repay double the saved taxes plus interest, unless an exception applies or is granted. While the application of CUVA is highly technical, interpretation of its implementing statute is often left to the decision of county attorneys with little binding precedent from Georgia’s appellate courts to guide their advice to boards of tax assessors. Our attorneys have helped guide numerous clients through determining whether their land qualifies under CUVA. Our holistic approach includes developing strategies to minimize breach penalties should they occur, and when necessary, negotiate with and challenge local taxing authorities regarding decisions under CUVA. Our team provides similar services for clients seeking to take advantage of the Forest Land Protection Act (“FLPA”).