48-5-269. Authority to promulgate rules and regulations regarding uniform books, records, forms, and manuals; limits on change in current use value of conservation use property

   (a) Subject to the limitations contained in Chapter 2 of this title, the commissioner may promulgate rules and regulations specifically regarding this part, including, but not limited to, the following:

      (1) Prescription of the forms, books, and records to be used for standard property tax reporting for all taxing units, including, but not limited to, the forms, books, and records to be used in the listing, appraisal, and assessment of property and how the forms, books, and records shall be compiled and kept;

      (2) Prescription of the form and content of state-wide, uniform appraisal and assessment forms, books, and manuals;

      (3) Development and prescription of procedures under which property sales ratio surveys shall be conducted; and

      (4) Prescription of methods and procedures by which identification data, appraisal and assessment data, sales data, and any other information relating to the appraisal and assessment of property shall be furnished to the department using electronic data processing systems and equipment.

   (b) The commissioner shall promulgate after consultation with the Department of Agriculture, the Georgia Agricultural Statistical Service, the Georgia Forestry Commission, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Cooperative Extension Service, and county tax officials shall follow uniform rules and regulations establishing a table of values for the current use value of bona fide conservation use property. Such rules and regulations shall apply to the evaluation of bona fide conservation use property, exclusive of any improvements thereon, which improvements shall have their current use value determined as otherwise provided by law. Such rules and regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the following provisions and criteria:

      (1) Sales data for arm's length, bona fide sales of comparable real property with and for the same existing use and per-acre property values determined by the capitalization of net income before property taxes, with sales data to be weighted 35 percent and income capitalization values to be weighted 65 percent. All sales data shall be adjusted to remove the influence of the size of the tract on the sales price of tracts below 50 acres in size. Income capitalization values shall be derived from the respective conservation use property classifications, with consideration given to productivity of the respective major geological or geographical regions, and for this purpose:

         (A) Net income before property taxes shall be determined for:

            (i) Agricultural land by calculating a weighted average of all crop and pasture acreage in each district as designated by paragraph (2) of this subsection in the following manner:

               (I) Crop land by calculating the five-year weighted average of per-acre net income before property taxes from the major predominant acreage crops harvested in Georgia, and as used in this subdivision, the term "predominant acreage crops" means the top acreage crops with production in no less than 125 counties of the state; and

               (II) Pasture property by calculating a five-year weighted average of per-acre rental rates from pasture land; and

            (ii) Forest property by calculating a five-year weighted average of per-acre net income before property taxes from hardwood and softwood harvested in Georgia. For purposes of this division, the term "property taxes" shall not include the tax under Code Section 48-5-7.5 which tax shall be considered in calculating net income; and

         (B) The capitalization rate shall be based upon:

            (i) The long-term financing rate available on January 1 from the Regional Federal Land Bank located in Columbia, South Carolina, and published pursuant to 26 U.S.C. Section 2032A(e)(7)(A)(ii), further referenced by regulations 26 C.F.R. 20.2032A-4(e);

            (ii) The arithmetic mean of Federal Farm Credit bond yields, whose maturity is no less than five years in the future, as published in the Wall Street Journal on January 1 or the most recent business day of the current year, rounded to the nearest hundredth;

            (iii) For the purpose of determining the income capitalization rate, divisions (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph shall be given weighted influences of 80 percent and 20 percent, respectively; and

            (iv) A property tax component which shall be the five-year average true tax rate for the unincorporated area of each county located within the regions established by paragraph (2) of this subsection;

      (2) The state shall be divided into an appropriate grouping of the nine crop-reporting districts as delineated by the Georgia Agricultural Statistical Service for the purpose of determining any calculation under this subsection;

      (3) In no event may the current use value of any conservation use property in the table of values established by the commissioner under this subsection for the taxable year beginning January 1, 1993, increase or decrease by more than 15 percent from its current use value as set forth in the table of values established by the commissioner under this subsection for the taxable year beginning January 1, 1992. In no event may the current use value of any conservation use property in the table of values established by the commissioner under this subsection for the taxable year beginning January 1, 1994, or any subsequent taxable year increase or decrease by more than 3 percent from its current use value as set forth in the table of values established by the commissioner under this subsection for the immediately preceding taxable year; and

      (4) Environmentally sensitive properties as certified by the Department of Natural Resources shall be valued according to the average value determined for property of the same or similar soil type, as determined under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.

   (c) In no event may the current use value of any conservation use property increase or decrease during a covenant period by more than 3 percent from its current use value for the previous taxable year or increase or decrease during a covenant period by more than 34.39 percent from the first year of the covenant period. The limitations imposed by this subsection shall apply to the total value of all the conservation use property that is the subject of an individual covenant including any improvements that meet the qualifications set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Code Section 48-5-7.4; provided, however, that in the event the owner changes the use of any portion of the land or adds or removes therefrom any such qualified improvements, the limitations imposed by this subsection shall be recomputed as if the new uses and improvements were in place at the time the covenant was originally entered.