(a) Any person who owns timberland comprising ten or more contiguous acres may qualify for identification as managed timberland for property tax purposes as set forth in subdivision (1), subsection (d), section ten of this article.
(b) The assessor, upon receipt of an appraisal or certification of the timberland from the Tax Commissioner, shall assess the property as managed timberland beginning with the next ensuing assessment year. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the classification of timberland included in a certified managed timberland plan shall not change for property tax purposes until such time as there is: (1) A change in the use of the property which requires a change in classification; (2) a change in the classification of the property from Class III to Class IV; or (3) a change in the classification of the property from Class IV to Class III.
(c) If the director of the Division of Forestry determines that the owner of timberland failed to implement a certified managed timberland plan within twenty-four months of certifying that the property meets the definition of managed timberland, the director shall give written notice to the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, that such certification is removed and the owner of the timberland shall pay to the sheriff of the county in which the property is located a fine equal to the amount of property taxes saved due to the property being assessed as managed timberland plus interest calculated at the rate of nine percent per year. Additionally, the assessor shall reassess the property. The amount of this fine is equal to the sum of the following calculations:
(1) For each assessment year, the county assessor shall determine the market value of the property and subtract from that value the value at which the property was appraised as managed timberland. This amount shall be multiplied by sixty percent. This result shall then be multiplied by the applicable levy rate.
(2) Interest shall be imposed on the amount calculated under subdivision (1) of this subsection at the rate of nine percent per annum beginning with October 1, of the tax year in which the taxes should have been paid based upon the timberland value of the property. Interest shall continue to accrue until the day the fine is paid.
(d) The sheriff shall deposit and account for the fines collected under this section in the same manner as property taxes.