Agricultural Tax Deferral Programs
Once an application has been approved, the Board of Assessors will record a statement at the Registry of Deeds indicating that the parcel has been classified under a chapter program. That statement will constitute a lien on the parcel for all taxes due under Chapter 61.
Municipal Option to Purchase
The town has the option to purchase any of the classified lands whenever it is sold or converted to residential, commercial, or industrial use. It is the obligation of the property owner to notify by certified mail the selectmen, assessors, planning board, and conservation commission of his intention to sell or convert land for those purposes. If the owner plans to sell the land, the town has the right to match a bona fide offer to purchase it. The town has the right to purchase it at its fair market value, which is to be determined by an impartial appraisal. The town may also assign its option to a non-profit, conservation organization. The classified land may not be sold or converted until at least one hundred twenty days have passed since the mailing of the required notices or until the owner has been notified in writing that the option will not be exercised, whichever is earlier. This option is not available to the town and the notice requirement does not apply if the classified use is simply discontinued. The option does not apply if the owner plans to build a residence for his use, or the use of this parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister, the surviving spouse of any of those relatives, or an employee working full-time in the classified use of the parcel.
Whenever any of the lands is withdrawn or removed from classification, whether or not it is subject to the purchase option and notice requirement, a withdrawal penalty tax must be paid. The owner must pay a rollback tax for a five or ten-year period depending on which program the land is classified in. The rollback tax is the difference between the amount the owner would have paid in property taxes if the land had been taxed at its fair market value and the amount of taxes he has paid under chapter classification. Interest charges are applicable on rollback in some instances. In 61A and 61B programs, an alternative conveyance tax is due when the land is sold or converted to a non-qualifying use within ten years on the beginning of the fiscal year it was first classified and the conveyance tax is greater than the rollback tax that would have been due.
General Program Information
Please review Chapter 61: Information For Residents (PDF) for more information.