Present Use Value Program a Benefit for Qualified Farm and Forest Land Owners

— Written By

Effective in 1974, The North Carolina General Assembly enacted the Present Use Value (PUV) Program, which allows reduced tax assessments for individuals owning property used for agriculture, horticulture or forestry. This program is voluntary and was created to keep the family farm in the family and allow farmers to continue farming while property values rise from urban growth. Property that qualifies and is accepted into this program is taxed at its “present use value” rather than its market value. The difference between the market value and the present use value is “deferred”. In layman’s terms the property is valued at a lower rate, and therefore the owner’s land is taxed at a lower rate. If for some reason the land becomes disqualified from the PUV program, the deferred taxes for the current year and the previous three years plus interest becomes due.

Additional Qualification Opportunities

In recent years, conservation easements (2002), “working waterfront” (2007), and land managed for wildlife habitat (2008) under a plan approved by the Wildlife Resources Commission became qualified for present use-value assessment.

Basic Requirements

  • Begin the process by contacting your county tax assessor to see if you qualify.
  • Minimum acreage of actual production land:

o   5 acres for horticulture use

o   10 acres for agricultural use

o   20 acres for forest use

o   20 contiguous acres up to 100 acres for wildlife habitat

  • Production in horticulture e.g., flowers, Christmas trees, blueberries, etc., must follow a sound management plan which means one needs to generate an average income of $1,000 per year over a three-year period of time.
  • Forest land must follow a forest management plan. In developing a Woodland Plan, contact the NC Division of Forestry at 828-631-9316 or find a certified forester.
  • Wildlife habitat lands must be managed under a written Wildlife Habitat Conservation Agreement with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Contact Brad Howard, Private Lands Program Coordinator at 828-294-2605 or email

For land to be eligible for present-use value assessment, Macon County Property Appraisers will determine if the land is being operated under a program of sound management. To learn more about the PUV program contact Tom Allen at 828-349-2147 or or Christie Cabe at 828-349-2182 or

Deadline Dates Include

  • Applications may be submitted from January 1– 31, 2021
  • Plans (timber, wildlife, or conservation) are due by December 31, 2021

 Online Sources

The NC Department of Revenue Present Use Value Program Guide

The NC Department of Revenue Present Use Value Forms