Requirements and Terms
Property must be managed according to the approved forest or conservation management plan and according to state standards. It will be inspected at least once every 10 years. The main objective in requiring a management plan is to assure that the land is managed carefully. It is not intended to force a landowner into a particular type of management. A private consulting forester may be asked to prepare, or help prepare, a management plan which meets the landowner's objectives as well as the state standards.
A management plan for forestland and conservation land also includes maps that meet the Current Use Program Mapping Standards. Agricultural land does not require a management plan, but does require maps that meet the map standards. These maps are typically prepared by a consulting forester. The Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI) has a number of shapefiles that are available for creating these maps.
A Forest Management Activity Report must be filed by Feb. 1 with the Vermont Department of Taxes to report any management activity which occurred in the previous year. The Department of Taxes will send the relevant FMAR data to the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. For further details on Use Value Appraisal of Forestland in Vermont review the online brochure or visit the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation website.
Development and Penalties
Once land is enrolled, it is subject to a lien. If this land is ever developed, the owner at the time of development must pay the Land Use Change Tax. The land use change tax is calculated as 10% of the fair market value of the developed parcel or portion of a parcel. When a portion of a parcel is withdrawn or developed, the fair market value of the portion is determined by valuing the portion as a stand-alone parcel.
In this program, development includes any of the following:
- Subdivision so that one or more of the resulting parcels is less than 25 acres
- Construction of buildings, roads, or structures not used for forestry purposes
- Commercial mining, excavation or landfill activity, or cutting timber contrary to the management plan or contrary to state standards
The obligation to pay this tax runs with the land in perpetuity. The tax is not due unless and until the land is developed; however, it may be prepaid if the landowner wishes to clear the title.