3751. Statement of purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of this subchapter is to encourage and assist the maintenance of Vermont's productive agricultural and forest land; to encourage and assist in their conservation and preservation for future productive use and for the protection of natural ecological systems; to prevent the accelerated conversion of these lands to more intensive use by the pressure of property taxation at values incompatible with the productive capacity of the land; to achieve more equitable taxation for undeveloped lands; to encourage and assist in the preservation and enhancement of Vermont's scenic natural resources; and to enable the citizens of Vermont to plan its orderly growth in the face of increasing development pressures in the interests of the public health, safety and welfare. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), 1.

 

 

 

3752. Definitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the purposes of this subchapter: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) "Agricultural land" means any land, exclusive of any housesite, in active use to grow hay or cultivated crops, pasture livestock or to cultivate trees bearing edible fruit or produce an annual maple product, and which is 25 acres or more in size except as provided below.  There shall be a presumption that the land is used for agricultural purposes if: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(A) it is owned by a farmer and is part of the overall farm unit; or 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(B) it is used by a farmer as part of his or her farming operation under written lease for at least three years; or 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(C) it has produced an annual gross income from the sale of farm crops in one of two, or three of the five, calendar years preceding of at least: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i) $2,000.00 for parcels of up to 25 acres; and 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(ii) $75.00 per acre for each acre over 25, with the total income required not to exceed $5,000.00; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(iii) exceptions to these income requirements may be made in cases of orchard lands planted to fruit producing trees, bushes or vines which are not yet of bearing age. For the purposes of this section, the term "farm crops" also includes animal fiber, cider, wine and cheese produced on the enrolled land or on a housesite adjoining the enrolled land from agricultural products grown on the enrolled land. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) "Assessing officials" means the listers or other assessing authority of the municipality or the state of Vermont. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) "Board" means the current use advisory board established in section 3753 of this chapter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of taxes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5) "Development" means, for the purposes of determining whether a land use change tax is to be assessed under section 3757 of this chapter, the construction of any building, road or other structure, or any mining, excavation or landfill activity.  "Development" also means the subdivision of a parcel of land into two or more parcels, regardless of whether a change in use actually occurs, where one or more of the resulting parcels contains less than 25 acres each; but if subdivision is solely the result of a transfer to one or more of a spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or sibling of the transferor, or to the surviving spouse of any of the foregoing, then "development" shall not apply to any portion of the newly-created parcel or parcels which qualifies for enrollment and for which, within 30 days following the transfer, each transferee applies for reenrollment in the use value appraisal program. "Development" also means the cutting of timber on property appraised under this chapter at use value in a manner contrary to a forest or conservation management plan as provided for in subsection 3755(b) of this title, or contrary to the minimum acceptable standards for forest management; or a change in the parcel or use of the parcel in violation of the conservation management standards established by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation. The term "development" shall not include the construction, reconstruction, structural alteration, relocation or enlargement of any building, road or other structure for farming, logging, forestry or conservation purposes, but shall include the subsequent commencement of a use of that building, road or structure for other than farming, logging or forestry purposes. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6) "Director" means the director of the division of property valuation and review created by section 2289 of Title 3. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(7) "Farmer" means a person: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(A) who earns at least one-half of the farmer's annual gross income from the business of farming as that term is defined in Regulation 1.175-3 issued under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(B) (i) who produces farm crops that are processed in a farm facility situated on land enrolled by the farmer in a use value appraisal program or on a housesite adjoining the enrolled land; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(ii) whose gross income from the sale of the processed farm products pursuant to subdivision (i) of this subdivision (B), when added to other gross income from the business of farming as used in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (7), equals at least one-half of the farmer's annual gross income; and 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(iii) who produces on the farm a minimum of 75 percent of the farm crops processed in the farm facility; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(C) The agency of agriculture, food and markets shall assist the director in making determinations of eligibility pursuant to subdivision (B) of this subdivision (7). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(8) "Housesite" means the two acres of land surrounding any house, mobile home or dwelling. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(9) "Managed forest land" means: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(A) any land, exclusive of any house site, which is at least 25 acres in size and which is under active long-term forest management for the purpose of growing and harvesting repeated forest crops in accordance with minimum acceptable standards for forest management; or 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(B) any land, exclusive of any house site, which is: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i) certified under subsection 6306(b) of Title 10; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(ii) is owned by an organization that was certified by the commissioner of taxes as a qualified organization as defined in 10 V.S.A. 6301a and for at least five years preceding its certification was determined by the internal revenue service to qualify as a Section 501(c)(3) organization which is not a private foundation as defined in Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code; and 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(iii) is under active conservation management in accord with standards established by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(10) "Owner" means the person who is the owner of record of any land. When enrolled land is mortgaged, the mortgagor shall be deemed the owner of the land for the purposes of this subchapter, until the mortgagee takes possession, either by voluntary act of the mortgagor or foreclosure, after which the mortgagee shall be deemed the owner. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(11) "Person" means any individual, firm, corporation, partnership or other form of organization or group of individuals. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(12) "Use value appraisal" means, with respect to land, the price per acre which the land would command if it were required to remain henceforth in agriculture or forest use, as determined in accordance with the terms and provisions of this subchapter. With respect to farm buildings, "use value appraisal" means zero percent of fair market value. The director shall annually provide the assessing officials with a list of farm sales, including the town in which the farm is located, the acreage, sales price, and date of sale. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(13) "Minimum acceptable standards for forest management" refer to certain standards established by the commissioner of the department of forests, parks and recreation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(14) "Farm buildings" means all farm buildings and other farm improvements which are actively used by a farmer as part of a farming operation, are owned by a farmer or leased to a farmer under a written lease for a term of three years or more, and are situated on land that is enrolled in a use value appraisal program or on a housesite adjoining enrolled land. "Farm buildings" shall include up to $100,000.00 of the value of a farm facility processing farm crops, a minimum of 75 percent of which are produced on the farm and shall not include any dwelling other than a dwelling in use during the preceding tax year exclusively to house one or more farm employees, as defined in section 4469 of Title 9, and their families, as a nonmonetary benefit of the farm employment. This subdivision shall not affect the application of the definition of "farming" in subdivision 6001(22) of Title 10 or the definition of "farm structure" in subdivision 4413(d)(1) of Title 24. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(15) "Active use" of agricultural land includes that portion of otherwise eligible land that is enrolled in a conservation reserve enhancement program for agricultural lands through a contract with the state or federal government. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), 1; 1981, No. 14, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; amended 1981, No. 14, eff. Jan. 1, 1981; 1983, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), 1, 2; 1987, No. 57, 1, eff. May 16, 1987; 1987, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), 1; 1995, No. 29, 39, eff. April 14, 1995; 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 286; 1997, No. 60, 60, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; No. 60, 68d; 1999, No. 49, 86, eff. June 2, 1999; 2001, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), 31, 41, eff. June 21, 2002; 2003, No. 66, 286, 286a; 2003, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), 11, eff. June 3, 2004; 2005, No. 76, 1-3; 2007, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), 9, eff. June 10, 2008.

 

 

 

3753. Current use advisory board; members; chair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)  There is hereby established a current use advisory board. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b)  The membership of the board shall consist of: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) The following persons or their designees: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(A) Commissioner of the department of taxes; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(B) Director of the division of property valuation and review; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(C) Secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(D) Commissioner of the department of forests, parks and recreation; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(E) Dean of the college of natural resources, agriculture and life sciences of the University of Vermont. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(F) [Repealed.] 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Eight additional members to be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. Two of these members shall represent the private agricultural sector; two shall represent the private forestry sector; one shall be experienced in agricultural and forestry property appraisal and valuation techniques; one shall be a representative of local government; one shall be a selectboard member; and one shall be a lister. Fifty-one percent or more of the board membership shall be persons who do not own enrolled land, and have no spouse, child or parent who owns enrolled land. These members shall be appointed for three-year terms, beginning February first of the year in which the appointment is made, except that the initial appointment of three of the members shall be for a two-year term. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the unexpired portion of the term vacated. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c)  A chair shall be designated biennially by the governor from among the members of the board and any vacancy in the office of chair shall be filled by designation of the governor. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d)  Members of the board who are not state employees shall be paid $50.00 a day, each, for each day that they are actually engaged in the work of the board. All members shall be paid their actual expenses incurred as a result of that work. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(e)  The board shall be attached for administrative purposes to the division of property valuation and review of the department of taxes of the agency of administration. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), 1; amended 1985, No. 74, 297; 1987, No. 57, 2, eff. May 16, 1987; 1987, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), 2; 1989, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), 10(a), eff. Jan. 1, 1991; 1997, No. 60, 67, eff. June 26, 1997; 2003, No. 42, 2, eff. May 27, 2003.

 

3754. Powers and duties of board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)  The board shall meet at least annually, prior to February 1, to review all past current use land values for agricultural land and managed forest land recommended by past boards, to review the criteria for said lands previously established and to establish new criteria and values as legislation and land management practices may indicate, to establish a schedule of criteria and values to be recommended for the current tax year, and to recommend such changes and improvement in the administration of this subchapter as experience and public reaction may recommend.  The board's criteria and recommended values may reflect the class, type, grade and location of the land, together with its productive capacity and income producing capability of agricultural and forest land. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b)  Annually in August the board shall hold a public hearing and such other hearings as they deem necessary to receive public testimony on the criteria and values for use value appraisals in the coming tax year and on the administration of this subchapter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c)  Prior to February 15 each year, the board shall submit to the director its recommended schedule of criteria and values for use value appraisals for the current tax year.  The director shall then distribute the valuations to all municipalities, towns and gores, and the assessing officials shall appraise qualifying agricultural and managed forest land at these use values. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d)  The board may adopt rules under the authority granted to agencies by sections 801 through 808 of Title 3 to interpret and carry out the provisions of this subchapter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(e)  A member of the board shall not vote on any issue on which he or she, or when applicable his or her agency, has a conflict of interest. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), 1; amended 1983, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), 3, 14; 1987, No. 57, 3, eff. May 16, 1987.

 

3755. Eligibility for use value appraisals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)  Except as modified by subsection (b) of this section, any agricultural land, managed forest land and farm buildings which meet the criteria contained in this subchapter and in the regulations adopted by the board shall be eligible for use value appraisal. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b)  Managed forest land shall be eligible for use value appraisal under this subchapter only if: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) the land is subject to a forest management plan, or subject to a conservation management plan in the case of lands certified under 10 V.S.A. 6306(b), signed by the owner of a tract which complies with subdivision 3752(9) of this title, filed with and approved by the department of forests, parks and recreation by October 1, which provides for continued conservation management or forest crop production on the tract for at least ten years. During a period of use value appraisal under this subchapter, a conservation or forest management plan for at least ten years, including the 12-month period beginning April 1 of the year for which use value appraisal is sought, signed by the owner, shall be on file with the department in such a manner and in such form as is prescribed by the department. Upon the expiration of a ten year plan, the owner shall file a new plan for at least the next succeeding ten years to remain in the program. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(A) The department may approve a forest management plan which provides for the maintenance and enhancement of the tract's wildlife habitat where clearly consistent with timber production and with minimum acceptable standards for forest management as established by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(B) The department, upon giving due consideration to resource inventories submitted by applicants, may approve a conservation management plan, consistent with conservation management standards, so as to include appropriate provisions designed to preserve: areas with special ecological values; fragile areas; rare or endangered species; significant habitat for wildlife; significant wetlands; outstanding resource waters; rare and irreplaceable natural areas; areas with significant historical value; public water supply protection areas; areas that provide public access to public waters; open or natural areas located near population centers, or historically frequented by the public. In approving a plan, the department shall give due consideration to: the need for restricted public access where required to protect the fragile nature of the resource; public accessibility where restricted access is not required; facilitation of appropriate, traditional public usage; opportunities for traditional or expanded use for educational purposes and for research. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) a management report of whatever activity has occurred, signed by the owner, has been filed with the department of forests, parks and recreation by February 1 of the year following the year when the management activity occurred. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) there has not been filed with the director an adverse inspection report by the department stating that the management of the tract is contrary to the forest or conservation management plan, or contrary to the minimum acceptable standards for forest or conservation management. The management activity report shall be on a form prescribed by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation in consultation with the commissioner of taxes and shall include a detachable section signed by all the owners that shall contain the federal tax identification numbers of all the owners. The section containing federal tax identification numbers shall not be made available to the general public, but shall be forwarded to the commissioner of taxes within 30 days after receipt and used for tax administration purposes. If any owner shall satisfy the department that he or she was prevented by accident, mistake or misfortune from filing a management plan which is required to be filed on or before October 1 or a management activity report which is required to be filed on or before February 1 of the year following the year when the management activity occurred, the department may receive that management plan or management activity report at a later date; provided, however, no management plan shall be received later than December 31 and no management activity report shall be received later than March 1. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c)  The department of forests, parks and recreation shall periodically review the management plans and each year review the management activity reports that have been filed. At intervals not to exceed ten years, that department shall inspect each parcel of managed forest land qualified for use value appraisal to verify that the terms of the management plan have been carried out in a timely fashion. If that department finds that the management of the tract is contrary to the conservation or forest management plan, or contrary to the minimum acceptable standards for conservation or forest management, it shall file with the owner, the assessing officials and the director an adverse inspection report within 30 days of the inspection. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d)  After a parcel of managed forest land has been removed from use value appraisal due to an adverse inspection report, a new application for use value appraisal will not be considered for a period of five years, and then shall be approved by the department of forests, parks and recreation only if a compliance report has been filed with the new application certifying that appropriate measures have been taken to bring the parcel into compliance with minimum acceptable standards for forest or conservation management. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(e)  Any applicant for appraisal under this subchapter bears the burden of proof as to his or her qualification. Any documents submitted by an applicant as evidence of income shall be held in confidence by any person accepting or reviewing them pursuant to provisions of this subchapter, and shall not be made available for public examination, whether or not such person is subject to the provisions of subdivision 317(a)(6) of Title 1. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), 1; amended 1983, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), 4, 5; 1987, No. 57, 4, eff. July 1, 1988; No. 76, 18; 1993, No. 49, 26; 1995, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), 3, eff. May 15, 1996; No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 287; 1997, No. 60, 68e; 2001, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), 32, eff. June 21, 2002; 2007, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), 5, eff. June 10, 2008.

 

3756. Qualification for use value appraisal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)  The owner of eligible agricultural land, farm buildings or managed forest land shall be entitled to have eligible property appraised at its use value provided the owner shall have applied to the director on or before September 1 of the previous tax year, on a form approved by the board and provided by the director. A farmer, whose application has been accepted on or before December 31 by the director of the division of property valuation and review of the department of taxes for enrollment for the use value program for the current tax year, shall be entitled to have eligible property appraised at its use value, if he or she was prevented from applying on or before September 1 of the previous year due to the severe illness of the farmer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b)  [Deleted.] 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c)  The director shall notify the applicant no later than April 15 of his or her decision to classify or refusal to classify his or her property as eligible for use value appraisal by delivery of such notification to him or her in person or by mailing such notification to his or her last and usual place of abode. In the case of a refusal, the director shall state the reasons therefor in the notification. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d)  The assessing officials shall appraise qualifying agricultural and managed forest land and farm buildings at use value appraisal as defined in subdivision 3752(12) of this title. If the land to be appraised is a portion of a parcel, the assessing officials shall: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) determine the contributory value of each portion such that the fair market value of the total parcel is comparable with other similar parcels in the municipality; and 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) notify the landowner according to the procedures for notification of change of appraisal. The portion of the parcel that is not to be appraised at use value shall be appraised at its fair market value. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(e)  Once a use value appraisal has been applied for and granted under this section, such appraisal shall remain in effect for subsequent tax years pursuant to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, and until the property concerned is transferred to another owner or is no longer eligible under provisions of section 3752 or 3755 of this chapter, or due to a change of use or as otherwise provided in section 3757 of this chapter. If enrolled property is transferred to another owner, the new owner shall be entitled to continue to have the eligible property appraised at its use value, provided the property remains eligible and provided the new owner shall elect the continuation of use value appraisal on the property transfer tax return at the time of transfer and, within 30 days after the property transfer tax return has been received by the municipality for recording, has applied to the director and paid the fees described in this subsection. The grant of use value appraisals of agricultural forest land and farm buildings shall be recorded in the land records of the municipality by the clerk of the municipality. Applications shall include the fees specified in subdivision 1671(a)(6) or subsection 1671(c) of this title, and a fee of $30.00 for deposit in a special fund established and managed pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of this title. The fund shall be available as payment for the fees of the clerk of the municipality and for the improvement of the management of the program. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(f)  Each year the director shall determine whether previously classified property is still eligible for use value appraisal and whether the amount of the previous appraisal is still valid. If the director determines that previously classified property is no longer eligible, or that the property has undergone a change in use such that the use change tax may be levied, in accordance with section 3757 of this chapter, or that the use value appraisal should be fixed at a different amount than the previous year, he or she shall thereafter notify the property owner of that determination by delivery of the notification to him or her in person or by mailing such notification to his or her last and usual place of abode. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(g)  The director shall execute such other forms and the board shall adopt such other procedures and regulations, as are needed to assure a fair opportunity for owners to qualify under this subchapter and to assure compliance with the provisions of this chapter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(h)  By March 15, the director shall mail to each municipality a list of property in the municipality which is to be taxed based on its use value appraisal. The list shall include the owners' names, a grand list number or description of each parcel of land to be appraised at use value, the acreage to be taxed on the basis of use value, the use values to be used for land, and the number and type of farm buildings to be appraised by the assessing officials at use value. The assessing officials shall determine the listed value of the land to be taxed at use value and its estimated fair market value, and fill in these values and the difference between them on the form. This form shall be used by the treasurer or the collector of current taxes to make up tax bills such that the owner is billed only for taxes due on his or her property not enrolled in the program, plus taxes due on the use value of property enrolled in the program. The assessing officials shall submit the completed form to the director by July 5. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i)  The director shall remove from use value appraisal an entire parcel of managed forest land and notify the owner in accordance with the procedure in subsection (b) of this section when the department of forests, parks and recreation has not received a management activity report or has received an adverse inspection report, unless the lack of conformance consists solely of the failure to make prescribed planned cutting. In that case, the director may delay removal from use value appraisal for a period of one year at a time to allow time to bring the parcel into conformance with the plan. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(j)  The commissioner may exempt a farmer-owner of agricultural land and farm buildings located within the municipality and otherwise eligible under this subchapter for use value appraisal from the terms of the definition of a "farmer" contained in subdivision 3752(7) of this chapter, for a year at a time, because of personal hardship created by personal or family disability or death, by economic disaster such as loss of farm buildings, equipment, or livestock due to fire or disease, or natural disaster such as flood or drought. The agricultural land and farm buildings concerned shall continue in this instance to be taxed on the basis of use value appraisal. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), 1; amended 1983, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), 6-10; 1985, No. 35, 1; 1987, No. 57, 5, eff. July 1, 1988; 1987, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), 60; 1995, No. 29, 4, eff. April 14, 1995; 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 288; 1997, No. 59, 11, eff. June 30, 1997; 2001, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), 33, eff. June 21, 2002; 2007, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), 2, eff. June 6, 2008; No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), 2, 6, eff. June 10, 2008.

 

3757. Land use change tax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)  Land which has been classified as agricultural land or managed forest land pursuant to this chapter shall be subject to a land use change tax upon the development of that land, as defined in section 3752 of this chapter. Said tax shall be at the rate of 20 percent of the full fair market value of the changed land determined without regard to the use value appraisal; or the tax shall be at the rate of 10 percent if the owner demonstrates to the satisfaction of the director that the parcel has been enrolled continuously more than 10 years. If changed land is a portion of a parcel, the fair market value of the changed land shall be the fair market value of the changed land prorated on the basis of acreage, divided by the common level of appraisal. Such fair market value shall be determined as of the date the land is no longer eligible for use value appraisal. This tax shall be in addition to the annual property tax imposed upon such property. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require payment of an additional land use change tax upon the subsequent development of the same land, nor shall it be construed to require payment of a land use change tax merely because previously eligible land becomes ineligible, provided no development of the land has occurred. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b)  Any owner of eligible land who wishes to withdraw land from use value appraisal shall petition for a determination of the fair market value of the land at the time of the withdrawal. Thereafter land which has been withdrawn shall be appraised and listed at its full fair market value in accordance with the provisions of chapter 121 of this title. Said determination of the fair market value shall be used in calculating the amount of the land use change tax that shall be due when and if the development of the land occurs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c)  The determination of the fair market value of the land as of the date the land is no longer eligible for a use value appraisal, or as of the time of the withdrawal of the land from use value appraisal, shall be made by the director. The determination shall be made within 30 days after the date that the owner or assessing officials petition for the determination and shall be effective on the date of dispatch to the owner. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d)  The land use change tax shall be due and payable by the owner 30 days after the tax notice is mailed to the taxpayer. The tax shall be paid to the commissioner for deposit into the general fund. The commissioner shall issue a form to the assessing officials which shall provide for a description of the land developed, the amount of tax payable, and the fair market value of the land at the time of development or withdrawal from use value appraisal. The owner shall fill out the form and shall sign it under the penalty of perjury. After receipt of payment, the commissioner shall furnish the owner with one copy, shall retain one copy and shall forward one copy to the local assessing officials and one to the register of deeds of the municipality in which the land is located. Thereafter, the land which has been developed shall be appraised and listed at its full fair market value in accordance with the provisions of chapter 121 of this title. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(e)  The owner of any classified land receiving use value appraisal under this subchapter shall immediately notify the director of: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) the development of the land, as defined in section 3752 of this chapter; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) of any change or discontinuance of use of the classified land so that it is no longer eligible for use value appraisal or is eligible for a different use value appraisal under this subchapter; and 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) of any transfer of ownership. A transfer of ownership, alone, will not affect eligibility of the parcel, and no new maps will be required solely because of a transfer, but failure to provide maps, a new application, or transfer information to the division of property valuation and review within 30 days of a request being sent by certified mail by the director will result in removal of the parcel from the program. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(f)  The application for use value appraisal of agricultural and forest land, once approved by the state, shall be recorded in the land records of the municipality and shall constitute a lien to secure payment of the land use change tax to the state upon development. The landowner shall bear the recording cost. The land use change tax and any obligation to repay benefits paid in error shall not constitute a personal debt of the person liable to pay the same, but shall constitute a lien which shall run with the land. All of the administrative provisions of chapter 151 of this title, including those relating to collection and enforcement, shall apply to the land use change tax. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(g)  Upon application, the commissioner may abate a use change tax levy concerning agricultural land found eligible for use value appraisal under subdivision 3752(1)(A) of this title, in the following cases: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) if a disposition of such property resulting in a change of use of it takes place within five years of the initial assessment at use value because of the permanent physical incapacity or death of the individual farmer-owner or farmer-operator of the property. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) if a disposition of the property was necessary in order to raise funds to continue the agriculture operation of the seller. In this case, the commissioner shall consider the financial gain realized by the sale of the land and whether, in respect to that gain, payment of the use change tax would significantly reduce the ability of the seller to continue using the remaining property, or any part thereof, as agricultural land. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(h)  Land condemned as a result of eminent domain or sold voluntarily to a condemning authority in anticipation of eminent domain proceedings is exempt from the levy of a land use change tax under this section. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(i)  Nothing in this section shall be construed as permitting an owner to engage in the development of land in violation of any conservation restriction in effect on said land. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(j)  Land transferred to the United States Forest Service is exempt from the levy of a use change tax under this section, provided all of the following apply: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) land transferred is eligible for use value appraisal at the time of the transfer; 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) the transfer is in consideration for the receipt from the United States Forest Service of land of approximately equal value, as determined by the commissioner; and 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) the landowner has submitted to the commissioner in writing a binding document that would substitute the land received for the land transferred to the Forest Service, for the purposes of this chapter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(k)  Conservation and preservation rights and interests held by an agency of the United States or by a qualified holder, as defined in chapter 34 of Title 10, shall be exempt from the levy of a use change tax. Upon request of the agency or qualified holder, the commissioner may petition the director to release the conservation and preservation rights and interests from any lien recorded pursuant to this chapter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), 1; amended 1983, No. 19; 1983, No. 241 (Adj. Sess.); 1987, No. 57, 6, eff. July 1, 1988; 1987, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), 3, eff. March 31, 1988; 1989, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), 43, eff. May 31, 1990; 1995, No. 29, 40, eff. April 14, 1995; 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 289; 1997, No. 60, 61, eff. June 26, 1997; 1999, No. 49, 85, eff. June 2, 1999; 2001, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), 29, eff. June 21, 2002; 2003, No. 68, 86, eff. June 18, 2003; 2005, No. 14, 5, eff. July 1, 2006; No. 14, 8, eff. May 3, 2005; 2007, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), 3, eff. June 6, 2008; No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), 3, eff. June 10, 2008.

 

3758. Appeals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)  Whenever the director denies in whole or in part any application for classification as agricultural land or managed forest land or farm buildings, or grants a different classification than that applied for, or the director or assessing officials fix a use value appraisal, or determine that previously classified property is no longer eligible or that the property has undergone a change in use, the aggrieved owner may appeal the decision of the director to the director within 30 days of the decision, and from there in the same manner and under the same procedures as an appeal from a decision of a board of civil authority, as set forth in subchapter 2 of chapter 131 of this title; and may appeal the decision of the assessing officials in the same manner as an appeal of a grand list valuation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b)  Any owner who is aggrieved by the determination of the fair market value of classified land for the purpose of computing the land use change tax may appeal in the same manner as an appeal of a grand list valuation. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c)  Whenever the commissioner denies a request for an exemption from the terms of the definition of a "farmer" as provided in subsection 3756(j) of this title, the aggrieved person may appeal the decision to the commissioner, and from there to the superior court in the same manner and under the same procedures as an appeal from a decision of the board of civil authority, as set forth in subchapter 2 of chapter 131 of this title. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(d)  Any owner who is aggrieved by a decision of the department of forests, parks and recreation concerning the filing of an adverse inspection report or denial of approval of a management plan may appeal to the commissioner of the department of forests, parks and recreation. An appeal of this decision of the commissioner may be taken to the superior court in the same manner and under the same procedures as an appeal from a decision of a board of civil authority, as set forth in subchapter 2 of chapter 131 of this title. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1977, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), 1; amended 1983, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), 11, 12; 1987, No. 57, 7, eff. July 1, 1988; 1987, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), 4; 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 290; 2007, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), 4, eff. June 6, 2008.

 

3759. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(1).

 

 

 

3760. Payment to municipalities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a) (1)  Annually the state shall pay to each municipality the amount necessary to limit its tax rate increase in the prior year due to the loss of municipal property tax revenue for that year based on use value of enrolled property as compared to municipal property tax revenue for that year based on fair market value of enrolled property, to zero. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) The director of property valuation and review shall determine the amount of the available funds under this section to be paid to each municipality, and a municipality may appeal the director's decision in the same manner and under the same procedures as an appeal from a decision of a board of civil authority, as set forth in subchapter 2 of chapter 131 of this title. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) On November 1 of each year, the director of property valuation and review shall pay to each municipality the amount calculated as described in this section. If the appropriation for the year is insufficient to pay the full amount due to every municipality under this subsection, payments in that year shall be made to such towns proportionately. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4) If the appropriation for the year is insufficient to pay the full amount due to any municipality for enrolled property owned by another municipality, the municipality in which the property is located may assess the other municipality and the other municipality shall pay the difference. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5) The director's calculation of payment amounts to municipalities shall be based on grand list values and total tax appropriations as submitted to the director for the prior year. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b)  Assessing officials shall appraise property enrolled in the program at fair market value consistent with other appraisals. On or before July 5, the assessing officials shall provide the director with the listed value of all enrolled property in the municipality. If the director certifies that the value set by the assessing officials is significantly above the fair market value or is not equitable with other assessments, the director's estimate of the fair market value shall be substituted for that of the assessing officials. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c)  A town aggrieved by the director's decision under this section may appeal that decision under the same procedures as an appeal from a decision of the board of civil authority. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 292a; amended 1997, No. 60, 63, eff. June 26, 1997; 2003, No. 66, 287; 2007, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), 10, eff. June 10, 2008.

 

3761. Notice to property taxpayers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each year prior to June 1, the director shall prepare a notice of the current use value appraisal program established by this subchapter describing its pertinent provisions, the manner in which taxpayers may apply to participate, and the dates and deadlines for application.  Such notice shall be printed by the director and supplied in sufficient number to each town in the state for inclusion in property tax bills. The town treasurer or collector of taxes shall include such notice in each tax bill, where applicable.  Towns which use envelopes or mailers not able to accommodate notices describing the current use value appraisal program may distribute such notices in an alternative manner. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1985, No. 212 (Adj. Sess.), eff. June 2, 1986; amended 1995, No. 29, 5, eff. April 14, 1995.

 

 

 

3762. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.) 291(3).

 

 

 

3763. Public records.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in 1 V.S.A. 317, section 3102 of this title or any other provision of law, the names and addresses of taxpayers, the description of eligible property, the current use valuation of such property participating in the current use value appraisal program under this chapter and the amount reimbursed by the state to the town with respect to the eligible property shall be public records subject to public inspection and copying under 1 V.S.A. chapter 5, subchapter 3. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1985, No. 242 (Adj. Sess.), 311; amended 1995, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), 4, eff. May 15, 1996.

 

 

 

 

3764 Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(4).

 

 

 

3765. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(5).

 

 

 

3766. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(6).

 

 

 

3767. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(7).

 

 

 

3768. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(8).

 

 

 

3769. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(9).

 

 

 

3770. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(10).

 

 

 

3771. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(11).

 

 

 

3772. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(12).

 

 

 

3773. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(13).

 

 

 

3774. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(14).

 

 

 

3775. Repealed. 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), 291(15).

 

 

 

3776. Fee hunting prohibition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(a)  As of September 1, 1997, no person may charge or receive a fee, consideration or other thing of value in exchange for the right to hunt or fish on land enrolled in a use value appraisal program under this chapter. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(b)  Upon a finding by the secretary that there has been a violation of the provisions of this section, the land in question shall be removed from the use value appraisal program. Upon development, the land shall be subject to the land use change tax. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Added 1997, No. 60, 68, eff. June 26, 1997.