Introduced by Representatives Winters of Swanton, Allard of St. Albans Town, Bartlett of Dover, Branagan of Georgia, Howrigan of Fairfield, McAllister of Highgate, Otterman of Topsham, Parent of St. Albans City and Winters of Williamstown
Subject: Taxation; property tax; taxation of conservation land
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to repeal the property tax exemption for property acquired by a land conservation organization.
AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY TAXATION OF CONSERVATION LAND
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 6306 is amended to read:
§ 6306. Exemption from taxation
(a) The rights and interests in real property acquired by a municipality or state agency under the authority of this chapter shall be considered as municipal or state-owned land, as the case may be, with respect to taxation and state reimbursement in lieu of taxes.
commissioner of the department of taxes may certify that real property acquired
by a qualified organization under this chapter is being held and maintained for
the purposes expressed in section 6301 of this title. As a condition of that
certification, the commissioner may require that the qualified organization provide
adequate assurances that the property is being so held and maintained,
including but not limited to written agreements with the department of taxes,
deeds, covenants or other conveyances.
Property which is so certified: (1) if
in the nature of an interest in fee simple, shall be assessed on the basis of
its actual use, or may be enrolled by the qualifying organization in a current
use program under chapter 124 of Title 32; or (2)
shall be exempt from assessment and taxation, if in the nature of an interest
other than fee simple. For
purposes of this section, where a qualified organization holds a lease in the
property for a term greater than ten years, including renewal terms, or holds
such other interests as the commissioner shall determine to be substantially
equivalent to an interest in fee simple, the organization shall be deemed to
hold an interest in fee simple.
(c) After acquisition by a municipality, state agency, or qualified organization of a right or interest in real property under the authority of this chapter, the owner of any remaining right or interest therein not so acquired shall be taxed, under the applicable provisions of chapter 123 of Title 32, only upon the value of those remaining rights or interests to which he retains title. The state agency or qualified organization, and the department of taxes, shall cooperate with that owner, and with the town assessing such tax, in the determination of the fair market value of any such remaining right or interest.
Property held by a qualified organization and taxed or exempted under
subsection (b) of this section shall be subject to a conversion tax if the
commissioner determines that it is no longer being held and maintained for the
purposes expressed in section 6301 of this title. The amount of the conversion
tax shall be five times the amount of the taxes avoided by reason of the
exemption in the most recent year. The conversion tax shall be paid to the
municipality in which the property is located.
Sec. 2. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall apply to taxation for property tax years 2005 and after.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street