This guidance is updated frequently; however, you should always follow guidance issued by the Governor’s Executive Order via the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the Department of Health.
Our recommendation continues to be that no interior inspections occur for the 2021 grand list. This does not mean your grand list should not be adjusted due to new construction, permits, etc. Instead, what it does mean is that you should develop an alternative plan to gain information in order to be fair to all taxpayers. We recommend you send a mailer to explain changes to all property owners that have changes. It is our opinion that full disclosure is best, explaining the situation and asking for assistance. We recently shared on the listserv a sample letter and form developed by one of our towns. See Permit Letter Sample (Under Construction Letter). You may also choose to use video tours by the taxpayer when needed as an alternative.
April 1 is and continues to be the effective date for values and ownership in your grand list. This does not mean you need all your grand list work done by that date. The dates your grand list should be completed are currently June 4 and June 24 (depending on your town population). Towns may request an extension to these dates according to 32 V.S.A. § 4342).
All towns should receive a complete inventory for each public utility located within your town by the end of May. Please speak with your district advisor if you are missing one and to review values of all for equalization.
Please see the Vermont Department of Taxes Grievance Hearings procedures, as recommend by PVR. The recommendations include remote hearing options and in-person hearing management.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can towns charge a penalty for late-filed homestead declarations after April 15?
No, the filing deadline has been extended to May 17 so all penalties will be based on that date. Homestead declarations received after May 17 are considered late for 2021. All other deadlines remain the same.
Will the grand list filing dates be extended?
No. All dates for grand list filing return to those that existed prior to 2020 exceptions. As with any other year, grand list filing extensions may be requested to the PVR Director according to 32 V.S A. § 4342.
Will towns receive Property Tax Credit payment files each month?
Yes. The Department will still process Property Tax Credit claims and will send the files to towns monthly starting June 30 as usual.
How will we handle inspections of properties?
Our recommendation for this year is that no internal inspections occur. This does not mean your grand list should not be adjusted due to new construction, permits, etc. Instead, what it does mean is that you should develop an alternative plan to gain information in order to be fair to all taxpayers. We recommend you send a mailer to explain changes to all property owners that have changes. It is our opinion that full disclosure is best, explaining the situation and asking for assistance. See ‘Permit Letter Sample (Under Construction Letter).
How will we handle grievances?
Conducting a grievance hearing during the COVID-19 outbreak will be challenging. Social distancing is recommended to limit the spread of the virus. Because grievance hearings could potentially expose participants to the virus if held face to face, PVR recommends you follow the new protocols for grievance hearings held in 2021.
Will we be able to e-sign documents?
Yes. Given the circumstances this is a reasonable accommodation.
Can I work as one lister, rather than a board of three, considering COVID-19?
One lister can perform many of the daily duties required. Best practice would be to make changes and keep a record of changes so that a quorum of the lister board can agree. In today’s climate that might be accomplished by using an online meeting platform, or other electronic means to review all work completed and agree to approve as a board. Minutes should be taken to make sure that these decisions and discussions are documented.
When do towns need to make payments to local school districts and the education fund?
Payments to local districts are still due 20 days after the tax due date – this has not changed. Towns still must remit any delinquent payments to school districts within 120 days of the delinquency date and no later than the end of the school year. Payments to the education fund are still due on December 1st and June 1.
Your district advisor is available for questions, or you can call the main line at (802) 828-5860, ext. 3. See the list of district advisors.