TIMBER HARVEST TAX: WHO PAYS, WHEN, WHERE AND HOW MUCH?
Coleman W. Dangerfield, Associate Professor
Bob Izlar, Director, Center for Forest Business,
Warnell School of Forest Resources,
Arnett C. Mace Jr., Dean
The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service
Since 1992, timber value is no longer added to the value of
the land in the county tax digest. Timber and land are each a
separate class of property and are taxed differently.
First, the county assesses timber at 100 percent of its fair
market value (FMV) times the millage rate at the time of sale, or
harvest if there is no sale. Normal property assessment is 40
percent of the fair market value every year. The FMV of timber
is generally going to be the actual sale price, but it must be a
bona fide sale. For example, it cannot be a sale which would not
reflect what the timber would have sold for on the open market
(e.g. father to daughter for a “special price”).
Second, the timber sale must be separate and apart from the
There is no tax on the timber where the owner
simultaneously sells the land and timber as a unit without timber
harvest. The county taxes only timber sold and intended for
Third, all timber sales and harvests, except a landowner
cutting firewood from his own land for use within his personal
home, are taxable. Timber cut and manufactured into a product
by the owner is considered a harvest and taxed as such. County
assessors tax timber under three general categories. These are:
Lump Sum Sales, Unit Sales and Owner Harvests.
Lump Sum Sales
A lump sum sale is the absolute sale of specific standing
timber for a fixed total price. Buyer and seller agree to the lump
sum price before cutting begins. Usually, lump sum sales are by
contract. Since the ownership of timber changes with a lump
sum sale, a timber buyer can record these sales with a deed.
These sales are also called ‘boundary sales” when the owner sells
all timber within a given area. They may also include sales of
marked timber, tim