New current use assessments OKd by board


Assessment updates to New Hampshire’s current use law are on track to be approved by the state despite what many who oppose the changes are calling out of line with trends seen by the industry.At a Feb. 2 hearing, the Current Use Board approved changes to timberland assessments – as much as a 12 percent increase in some cases.The changes have been sent to the state for administrative review, and assuming there are no issues, they will go into effect April 1.Under New Hampshire’s current use law, owners of qualifying land receive property tax reductions if they agree to maintain their land in an undeveloped condition. The increased assessments are designed to correct older standards that are outdated.The NHTOA, however, argues that white pine in particular is being “overvalued” by the assessments and do not reflect market conditions. The assessments range for white pine has been increased from levels of $86 to $130 per acre for documented stewardship land and $128 to $192 for forestland, to the new $97 to $146 assessment for stewardship acreage and $138 to $207 for forestland.“I’ve had several [NHTOA] members e-mail me asking why the board is doing this if they know the model is flawed?” said Stock in a phone interview with NHBR.Despite the controversial increases in white pine, other species timber under stewardship will actually see assessments decrease by as much as $10 per acre.There is some good news for those who will see their property taxes increase as a result of the new assessment.According to the NHTOA, “the Current Use Board [is] committed to working on this issue over the summer so next year's tax assessment would more accurately reflect the true value of our timberlands.”Phone calls to the Current Use Board seeking comment were not returned by press time. – CINDY KIBBE/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEWFor more information:Timber owners fume over current use changes
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