• Easements and Tax Obligations

    Easements and Tax ObligationsWhen you are granted an easement, you obtain a possessory right to use the property of another individual for a particular purpose. Easements, however, grant only possessory, and not ownership rights. The owner of the easement property remains the legal owner of the land, but cannot hinder the easement holder’s access or use of the affected property.  As the holder of title to the land, property owners are generally responsible for maintaining the property. This obligation also extends to paying taxes on land subject to the easement. Sometimes issues arise regarding property taxes for the most common type of easements, right-of-way easements, which are addressed below.

    Right-of-way easements grant another party the right to use a particular portion of the property. A utility company typically obtains a right-of-way easement when it places an underground pipe on a property owned by another individual. Some states offer property tax credits for granting right of-way easements. In Georgia, a property owner can receive significant tax advantages on both the federal and state level for granting conservation easements to the entity restricting land use for conservation purposes.

    When an easement is initially granted, the parties may be able to negotiate an agreement to require the easement holder to pay a portion of the property taxes commensurate with the size of the easement property. It is important to ensure that this type of agreement is properly executed before granting the easement. In any case, the landowner would still be responsible for collecting the easements holder’s proportionate share of the taxes.

    Lastly, the existence of an easement may provide grounds for the property owner to request that the local tax assessment of the property be reevaluated. In some cases, the existence of a right-of-way easement may significantly impact the overall value of the property, particularly if the easement covers a substantial portion of the land and affects the landowner’s ability to make structural improvements, plant landscaping or enjoy the right to privacy. A reduction in the owner’s use and enjoyment of the property should reasonably be indicated in the tax assessment.

    The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at http://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.

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