Certain forestland and open-space land is designated as a special class of property under the authority of the North Carolina Constitution and, as such, is excluded from taxation or is otherwise specially treated.
Forestland consisting of at least one tract having a minimum of 20 acres in actual production and that is not included in a farm unit is designated a special class of property eligible for taxation based upon its present-use value if it meets certain ownership requirements.
Forestland - Land that is a part of a forest unit that is actively engaged in the commercial growing of trees under a sound management program. Forestland includes wasteland that is a part of the forest unit, but the wasteland included in the unit shall be appraised under the use-value schedules as wasteland. A forest unit may consist of more than one tract of forestland, but at least one of the tracts must meet the ownership requirements below, and each tract must be under a sound management program. Woodland that is a part of a farm unit is considered to be agricultural land; however, such lands are to be appraised under the use-value schedules as woodland (Sec. 105-277.3, G.S.; Sec. 105-277.4, G.S.)
Present-use value - means the value of land it its current use as forestland, based solely on its ability to produce income, using a rate of 9% to capitalize the expected net income of the property and assuming an average level of management.
Ownership Requirements: To qualify for forestland classification, property owned by natural persons must:
be the owner's place of residence.
must have been owned by the current owner or a relative of the current owner for the four years preceding January 1 of the year for which the benefit of this section is claimed.
At the time of transfer to the current owner, it qualified for classification in the hands of a business entity or trust that transferred the land to the current owner who was a member of the business entity or a beneficiary of the trust, as appropriate.
The land must, if owned by a business entity or trust, have been owned by the business entity or trust or by one or more of its members or creators, respectively, for the four years immediately preceding January 1 of the year for which the benefit of this section is claimed
Land owned by general or limited partnerships, limited liability companies, or corporations will be assessed at its present-use value if the entity's principal business is forestry, and all the members of the entity are either individuals actively engaged in that business, or are relatives of individuals who are actively engaged in that business.
Effective for North Carolina property taxes imposed for taxable years beginning after June 2004, agricultural land, horticultural land, and forestland owned by a business entity may retain its present-use value status when the land is leased to a nonmember provided all members of the business entity are relatives. (Sec. 105-277.2(4)(b), G.S.)
Land owned by trusts will be assessed at its present-use value if:
the trust was created by an individual;
the land qualified for present-use valuation in the hands of that individual; and
all of the current beneficiaries are either the trust's creator or relatives of the trust's creator, or a second trust whose current beneficiaries are the trust's creator or relatives of the trust's creator.
In addition, land owned by testamentary trusts will qualify for present-use valuation if the trust was created by an individual, the land qualified for present-use valuation in the hands of that individual, the creator of the trust had no relatives at the time of death, and the trust income is used for educational, scientific, literary, cultural, charitable, or religious purposes.
Land enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program shall be assessed as agricultural land if it is planted in vegetation other than trees, or as forestland if it is planted in trees.
Application: To obtain present-use valuation, an application must be filed with the assessor of the county in which the property is located during the regular listing period of the year for which the benefit of this classification is first claimed or within 30 days of the date shown on a notice of a change in valuation A new application does not have to be submitted unless the property is transferred or becomes ineligible for present-use-value appraisal because of a change in use or acreage.
Change in use - The difference between the tax based on a present-use valuation and the amount that would otherwise be due, together with any accrued interest, penalties or costs, is carried as a lien on the property as deferred tax. When the property, or any part of it, no longer qualifies for forestland classification, the applicable deferred taxes for the preceding three fiscal years, plus interest, are payable immediately.
Exemption - Standing timber, pulpwood, seedlings, saplings, and other forest growth is classified as a special class of property under the authority of the North Carolina Constitution and, as such, is excluded from taxation (Sec. 105-275(15), G.S.). The purpose of this classification is to encourage proper forest management practices and to develop and maintain North Carolina's forest resources.
Valuation and Assessment:
North Carolina has 6 Major Land Resource Areas (MLRA's) which are characterized by particular patterns of soils, relief climate, water resource, and land use. It is from these MLRA's that the basis for net income schedules are derived. Each schedule contains 5 net income ranges listed by decreasing income levels. A 100% assessment is applied to these values.
Severance Tax:(Sec. 113A-194)
The assessment rates is based on the following standards:
(1) for primary forest products customarily measured in board feet, the "International 1/4 Inch Log Rule" or equivalent will be used;
(2) for primary forest products customarily measured in cords, the standard cord of 128 cubic feet or equivalent will be used;
(3) for any other type of forest product separated from the soil, the Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, shall determine a fair unit assessment rate, based on the cubic foot volume of one thousand foot board measure, International 1/4 Inch Log Rule or one standard cord, 128 cubic feet.
The assessment levied on primary forest products shall be at the following rates:
fifty cents (50¢) per thousand board feet for softwood sawtimber, veneer logs and bolts, and all other softwood products normally measured in board feet;
forty cents (40¢) per thousand board feet for hardwood and bald cypress sawtimber, veneer, and all other hardwood and bald cypress products normally measured in board feet;
twenty cents (20¢) per cord for softwood pulpwood and other softwood products normally measured in cords;
twelve cents (12¢) per cord for hardwood pulpwood and other hardwood and bald cypress products normally measured in cords;
all material harvested within North Carolina for shipment outside the State for primary processing will be assessed at a percentage of the invoice value. This percentage will be established to yield rates equal to those if the material were processed within the State.