This website is operated by Vermont Real Estate Publishing, LLC, publisher of the e-mail newsletter Vermont Current Use Report and the print newsletter Vermont Property Owners Report.
For State of Vermont information about the current use program, see the bottom of this page.
History of Current Use Program
“Current use” is the unofficial name of Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal law. The program permits anyone who owns 25 acres or more of forest or farmland (less farmland in some cases) to enroll their property and pay property taxes based on a substantially reduced assessment. This can reduce a Vermont property tax bill by 90% or more. A lien is placed on property enrolled in current use, and if it is ever developed, the owner at that time must pay a land use change tax.
The current use law was originally enacted in the late 1970s, at a time when the state was under considerable development pressure. As stated in the law, the purpose of current use includes preserving productive agricultural and forestland, preventing accelerated development, and preserving Vermont’s scenic resources. The program has grown to include over 2.1 million acres.
Current Use Reforms
Changes to the current use program have been under discussion in the Legislature for several years. Initially, some of the drive for reform was sparked by serious budget shortfalls, with some proposals focused on raising money from current use participants.
In the spring of 2009, after considering and rejecting cuts to current use, the Legislature passed a bill stating it was open to suggestions on how to make cuts of $1.6 million in the current use program during the 2010 session. In that session, a bill (H.485) was passed that would have boosted the so-called “development penalty,” and would have assessed each enrolled landowner $128, but it was vetoed by Governor Jim Douglas.
In 2011, the House passed a bill, H.237, that would make several reforms to the current use program, including altering the development penalty and changing the way the penalty is calculated when a portion of an enrolled land parcel is withdrawn and developed. A variety of other changes are included in the bill, but it did not include any assessment on enrolled property owners. H.237 died in the Senate in 2012.
A similar bill, H.329, passed the House in 2013. In the fall of 2013, a special Senate current use commission conducted public hearings on current use. The commission plans to draft its own somewhat different legislation for introduction in the Senate in 2014. It appears likely that a bill will pass the Senate and then need to be reconciled with House-passed H.329.
Keep Up to Date
In order to help enrolled landowners and others keep track of the current use debate in the Legislature and the implementation of any changes to the program, Vermont Property Publishing, Inc. is once again publishing an e-mail newsletter called Vermont Current Use Report.
The Report is being published on an as-needed basis. Publication could be as often as twice a week, twice a month, or whenever news arises. The e-mail newsletter is most active during the legislative session in the winter and spring, but when there is relevant news about current use over the balance of the year, we’ll send out an e-mail newsletter then, too. Since 2011 the number of e-mail editions sent over the course of a year has ranged from 15 to 20.
The Vermont Current Use Report includes stories and analysis about the latest legislative proposals; interviews with legislators, foresters, state officials, and others involved in the current use debate; notice of public hearings; and contact information for legislators and committees working on current use. We also cover other topics of interest to enrolled landowners, like land prices and the threat from invasive insects.
It is written and published by the staff at Vermont Property Owners Report (VPOR), a print newsletter, for owners and buyers of land, vacation homes and primary homes, that’s been in business since 1986. For more information about VPOR, go to: www.VermontRealEstateToday.com
Additional information and documents about possible current use changes will be posted on this website in a section accessible only to subscribers of the Vermont Current Use Report.
To see PDF samples of VCUR e-mail issues sent in 2013 and 2014, click the issue number and date below:
The full-year price to subscribe to this current use e-mail service is $24. Our subscriptions run on a calendar-year basis.
Those without e-mail who want the publication printed out and mailed to them may subscribe for a full-year price of $38 ($40.28 including 6% sales tax if mailed to a Vermont address).
To sign up, please either:
• call our office in Montpelier at 802-552-1157, or
• mail or fax our subscription form with a check or credit card payment information.
Tax Department: http://www.state.vt.us/tax/pvrcurrentuse.shtml
Division of Forestry: http://www.vtfpr.org/resource/for_forres_useapp.cfm
Agency of Agriculture: http://www.vermontagriculture.com/agdev/currentuse.htm
Copyright 2014 by Vermont Real Estate Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.