2009 Use Value Appraisal Program
Vermont’s current use program (32 VSA Chapter 124) began in tax year 1980 with the enrollment of less than 120,000 acres. The primary objectives of the program are to keep Vermont's agricultural and forest land in production, help slow the development of these lands, and achieve greater equity in property taxation on undeveloped land.
Owners may apply to have eligible land and buildings enrolled. In return for agreeing to keep the property in agricultural and forest production the property is taxed based on use value rather than fair market value. Enrolled farm buildings are exempt from taxes. Enrolled land has a perpetual lien in favor of the State of Vermont. The lien remains until such time as the land use change tax is paid. The land use change tax must be paid at the time of the development of the property.
Use Values The Current Use Advisory Board (CUAB) is charged with adopting rules, providing administrative oversight and establishing use values. The CUAB meets annually to review data presented by the Agency of Agriculture and by the Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation. This data is used to establish use values. The net annual stumpage value per acre is determined for forest land and the five-year average production return per acre is determined for agricultural land. The use values for the past few years were:
Program Costs The reimbursement to towns for the loss in revenue in 1980 was just over $400,000. Enrollment and cost have steadily climbed. With the 2008 tax year, an estimated 58.9% of the potentially eligible agricultural land and an estimated 40.4% of the potentially eligible forest land was enrolled. The combined enrolled land represents 34.5% of the total land area of the state.