Guidance for Assessing Officials on How to Determine Fair Market Value
When land enrolled in the Current Use Program is developed or withdrawn from the program, it is subject to a penalty, the Land Use Change Tax (LUCT), under Vermont law at 32 V.S.A. § Section 3757(a). The LUCT is a percentage of the full fair market value of the changed land.
To help assessing officials estimate fair market values for LUCT purposes, we are providing examples and scenarios. This calculation is not the same, and should not be confused with, the process of land use allocation of values.
Fair Market Value Letter Template
The lister or assessor is responsible for notifying the landowner of the fair market value determination. You may include this letter of explanation as a cover letter. Please remember to print and include the fair market value determination from myVtax.
The following are basic guidelines for estimating value for LUCT purposes:
- Assessing officials will receive notice of a Land Use Change Tax (Current Use Withdrawal/Development) through an email message and notice in myVTax. This will include information about the amount of land subject to the LUCT and a request for your valuations of the parcel. When needed, maps will be provided as attachments or via postal mail.
Assessing officials must do the following:
- Log onto your myVTax account and select the Land Use Change Values tab.
- Follow the instructions below, or review our LV-314 Return Navigation guide to help you navigate the form while logged into myVTax.
- Please enter values on any required fields.
- For Acres Withdrawn and Developed (Column A), enter the Fair Market Value for the developed acreage as a standalone parcel.
- For Acres Withdrawn and Not Developed (Column B), enter the Fair Market Value for the withdrawn acreage as a standalone parcel.
- For Totals and Bulk Withdrawal (Column C), enter the Fair Market Value for the combined acreage (this may be lower than simply adding together the two other values, accounting for bulk discount of acreage).
3. Notify the property owner of the value and grievance rights by printing the LV-314 from myVTax, along with a letter of explanation.
- Due to the language written in 32 V.S.A. § Section 3757(a), land subject to LUCT must be assessed as a separate parcel.
This means you must do the following:
- Look at the parcels subject to LUCT without regard to any of other land owned by the property owner. This means you also must not consider other lands excluded, land previously removed from the program, or any other land listed to the property owner.
- Consider all existing attributes of land subject to LUCT as a separate parcel including but not limited to the following:
- Availability of utilities
- Restricted covenants/easements
- Water influence—positive or negative
- Value this land that is subject to penalty as a separate parcel according to your land schedule.
- Understand your land schedule, how it functions and what the coding in your appraisal system means in terms of value. If you do not understand these or the impact on value, you should consult your contractor or your district advisor before you assign a value for this purpose.
- Set up a test or sample parcel in your appraisal software to use your land schedule and value these parcels. This will allow you to add notes about the attributes you considered and how you valued the parcel according to the statute. If your town uses Microsolve, you can use the existing parcel and enter information using the current use calculator.
- Use the date of withdrawal as found on the value request form to make the value estimate for LUCT purposes. Value should consider the land to be removed from the Current Use Program as of this date with all existing attributes.
If land subject to LUCT is more than one piece of land, and the pieces are not contiguous to one another, these pieces of land should be considered as separate parcels. These parcels are independent of each other and independent of all other land owned by the property owner or previously excluded.
- Compare the value with parcels of similar size in your town. The fair market value of the withdrawn land should be a similar value to the other parcels of similar size and attributes.