North Carolina General Statute 105-277.15(b) Classification - Wildlife conservation land is designated a special class of property under Article V, Section 2(2) of the North Carolina Constitution and is to be appraised, assessed, and taxed in accordance with this section. Wildlife conservation land classified under this section must be appraised and assessed as if it were classified under G.S. 105-277.3 as agricultural land.
105-277.15(c) Requirements - Land qualifies as wildlife conservation land if it meets the
following size, ownership, and use requirements:
- Size: The land must consist of at least 20 contiguous acres
- Ownership: The land must be owned by an individual, a family business entity, or family trust and must have been owned by the same owner for the previous five years. If the land is owned by a family trust, the land meets the ownership requirement if the land was owned by one or more beneficiaries of the family trust for the required time.
- Use: The land must be managed under a written wildlife habitat conservation agreement with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission that is in effect as of January 1 of the year of which the benefit is claimed.
The Wildlife Habitat Conservation agreement requires the owner do one or more of the following:
- Protect an animal species that lives on the land; conserve priority animal wildlife habitats which are longleaf pine forest, early successional habitat, small wetland communities, stream and riparian zone, rock outcrop or bat cave.
- The land has been classified under G.S. 105-277.3 when the Wildlife Habitat Conservation agreement was signed or the owner must demonstrate to both the Wildlife Resources Commission and the assessor that the owner used the land for a purpose specified in the Wildlife Habitat Conservation agreement for three years preceding January 1st of the year for which the benefit is claimed
For assistance with a Wildlife Habitat Conservation agreement property owners must contact the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. www.ncwildlife.org/wildlife_species_con/
Agreements are only issued through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Henderson County does not issue agreements. Obtaining a Wildlife Habitat Conservation Agreement does not defer personal property ad valorem taxes.
The following restrictions apply to this program:
1. No more than 100 acres of an owner’s land may be classified under this section
2. Land owned by a business entity is not eligible for this program if the business entity is a corporation whose shares are publicly traded or one of its members is a corporation whose shares are publicly traded.
Property that is classified as Wildlife Conservation, must be appraised and assessed as if it were classified under NCGC 105-277.3 as agricultural land. However the Wildlife Conservation Program is not a part of the Present-Use Value Program.
Deferred taxes are the difference between the taxes that are due on wildlife conservation land that has been designated a special class of property and that would be due if the land were taxed on the basis of its true value market value. These deferred taxes also become a lien on the property. The deferred taxes for the current and the three preceding years become due and payable with interest when the property loses it eligibility as a result of a disqualifying event. A disqualifying event occurs when the property no longer qualifies as wildlife conservation land.
Applications for the Wildlife Conservation Program must be timely-filed with the Assessor’s Office during the regular listing period, January 1 through January 31, in order to be considered eligible. An owner making application must attach a copy of the owner’s written Wildlife Habitat Agreement in effect as of January 1 of the year for which the application is submitted. An owner, who fails to notify the Assessor when the property loses it eligibility, is subject to a penalty in the amount of 10% per listing period as set out in N.C.G.S. 105-277.5.
Dee Hill Exemption & Present-Use Value Appraiser firstname.lastname@example.org 828 698-4424
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