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Vicki Lambert
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Atlanta GA 30349
Phone: 404-724-7000
Fax: 404-724-7011
Email: local.government.services@dor.ga.gov
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How Timber is Assessed

Standing Timber

Requirements for the Taxation of Timber

Other Sales and Harvests

Standing Timber

For ad valorem tax purposes standing timber is taxed only once following its harvest or sale. Standing timber is taxed at 100 percent of its fair market value. It is subject to taxation even if the land underneath is exempt unless taxation has been prohibited by federal law or treaty.

Standing timber is defined to include softwood and hardwood pulpwood, chip and saw logs, saw timber, poles, posts, and fuel wood. Standing timber does not include orchard trees, ornamental or Christmas trees, by products of harvesting (bark or stumps), and fuel wood harvested by the owner which is used exclusively for heating the owner's home. The "sale" of standing timber as defined by O.C.G.A. 48-5-7.5 is the "arm's length, bona fide sale of standing timber for harvesting separate and apart from the underlying land and shall not include the simultaneous sale of a tract of land and the timber thereon."

Requirements for the Taxation of Timber

Lump Sum Sales

  1. Taxes due on lump sum sales.
    Lump sum sales are where timber is to be harvested within three years after the date of sale, and the timber is sold for a lump sum price. This type of sale is assessed for taxation as of the date of sale at 100 percent of its fair market value. The fair market value of the timber is the lump sum price paid by the purchaser. Taxes are calculated by multiplying 100 percent of the fair market value times the millage rate levied by the tax authority for the previous calendar year.
  2. Seller gives the purchaser a negotiable instrument to pay tax.
    Once the seller receives payment for the timber the seller will immediately give the purchaser a negotiable instrument payable to the tax collector or tax commissioner to pay the ad valorem taxes on the sale.
  3. Purchaser remits negotiable instrument and report of sale to tax collector or tax commissioner.
    The purchaser has five days after receipt of the instrument to remit the negotiable instrument to the tax collector or tax commissioner . The purchaser is also required to remit a report of the sale. This report shows the lump sum sales price, the date of sale, the addresses of the seller and purchaser, and the location of the standing timber.
  4. Receipt for taxes delivered to seller.
    When the tax is paid the tax collector or tax commissioner will deliver a receipt to the seller proving payment.
  5. Filing the instrument with the clerk of superior court.
    The purchaser can request the tax collector or tax commissioner to 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 purchaser will then present the instrument to the clerk of superior court to file the instrument for record.

Unit Price Sales

  1. Report furnished by the purchaser to seller and county board of tax assessors.
    Persons that buy standing timber by unit prices are required to furnish a report to the seller and the county board of tax assessors within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Reports to the tax assessors are confidential and are not revealed to any person other than authorized tax officials. The report should include:
    • the total dollar value of standing timber paid to the seller,
    • the volume in pounds if available, or measured volume,
    • data through the last business day of the calendar quarter,
    • the names and address of the seller and purchaser, and
    • the location of the harvested timber.
  2. The seller must furnish the same report.
    A copy of the same report is to be furnished by the seller to the tax assessors within 60 days after the end of the calendar quarter.
  3. Taxes due on unit price sales payable by seller.
    The fair market value of timber sold by unit price is the total dollar values paid by the purchaser in the sale. The seller is responsible for paying the ad valorem taxes. The taxes are calculated by multiplying 100 percent of the fair market value of the timber times the millage rate levied by the tax authority on tangible property for the previous calendar year.

Owner Harvests

If there are no purchasers for the standing timber, owners are required to report harvested timber from their property to the tax assessors within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. The report should include:

  • the volume in pounds if available, or measured volume,
  • data through the last business day of each calendar quarter, and
  • the location of the tract from which the timber was harvested.

Ad valorem taxes are paid by the landowner.

Other Sales and Harvests

Every sale and harvest of timber that has not been taxed previously (excepting only a sale not for harvest within three years) is taxable. These sales are reported in the same manner as lump sum sales, unit price sales, or owner harvest sales--depending on which situation most closely applies.

Valuation of Timber Other Than Under Lump Sum Sale or Unit Price Sale

The Revenue Commissioner is responsible each calendar year for providing the tax assessors with the weighted average price paid in pounds and measured volume of softwood and hardwood pulpwood, chip and saw logs, saw timber, poles, and fuel wood. This report to the tax assessors is due within 60 days of each calendar year. Weighted averages are figured for each county or multicounty area. These weighted averages are applied by the tax assessors to determine the fair market value of timber harvested in sales other than under lump sum sales or unit price sales.

Click here for information on contacting your local County Tax Commissioner or County Board of Tax Assessors.