Current Use

Current Use, or Use Value Appraisal in Vermont, is favorable property tax treatment of farm and forest land. Most states have some form of tax reduction for undeveloped land. With land normally taxed at its “fair market value”, and values based on the potential for development, farm and forest land would pay more than their fair share and be unsustainable as an investment. Farm and forest costs the town and state almost nothing. They put no kids in school. There is little in the way of police or fire protection, though you might see a game warden now-and-then. All we need is for the roads to be available for maintenance and selling our products. So the state provides some framework for maintaining your land as agriculture or forestry land (with string attached) and a commitment to refrain from “development”, in exchange for lower property tax rates. The land is taxed at its “Current Use” value instead of its potential use. Of course, farm and forest create the raw materials for value added businesses with taxable activity. In the big picture, the state lowers your taxes on land which costs them little, and benefits by billions of dollars of employment and businesses to tax.

To understand Vermont’s version of “current use” you can look at two sites, one from the Dept of Forests, Parks and Recreation which administers the forestry aspects, and one from the Dept of Taxes: