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Georgia Property Tax Updates

UPDATED september 2018

Taxable Estate for Years on Non-Taxable Usufruct?

In Clayton County Bd. of Tax Assessors v. Aldease Atlanta Joint Venture, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 437, (Case No. S18A0430), decided on June 18, 2018), the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of the retail operator’s motion for summary judgment in an ad valorem real property tax suit based on the ruling that their interests in the premises at issue constituted non-taxable usufructs. The comprehensive restrictions on the airport retailer’s right to use the leased space contained in the concession agreement were “fundamentally inconsistent with the concept of an estate for years” and therefore, the agreement at issue created a non-taxable usufruct and not a taxable estate for years. The Court also held that if the county was permitted to impose a property tax on the usufruct created by the concession agreement, it would violate the Georgia Constitution’s uniformity of taxability requirement since the county did not tax other usufructs or other possessory interests in its jurisdiction. Finally, the Supreme Court held that the trial court did not err in failing to find that the retailer owned leasehold improvements, as the retailer held only a usufruct and not an estate in real property..

Lisa F. Stuckey
Ragsdale, Beals Seigler, Patterson & Gray, LLP
American Property Tax Counsel (APTC)

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