It is the responsibility of an applicant to ensure that an application for the Current Use (Use Value Appraisal) Program is completed with all required information. The valid signature of all landowners or trustees is part of that responsibility. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that the we hope will assist taxpayers in filing current use applications.
LLCs, Partnerships & Similar Business Entities
On a current use application, who is the property owner?
The owner is the individual or entity holding title to a property. If an LLC or partnership holds title, the entity is considered the owner for purposes of a current use application. Duly authorized members and partners must sign on behalf of the entity.
Who is required to sign a current use application when the property is owned by an LLC or partnership?
The application, Form CU-301, must be signed by at least one member or partner with full authority to enroll the property in the Current Use Program.
If the Articles of Organization, the Operating Agreement, or Partnership Agreement do not address who has authority to manage real estate in this way, the Department of Taxes suggests that all members or partners sign the application. If there are more than three members or partners, use Form CU-302, the Additional Owners Form for Use Value Appraisal Application.
Will the Department of Taxes review my organizational documents to determine who has the authority to sign a current use application?
No. The Department of Taxes cannot interpret your organizational documents for you. The Department of Taxes also lacks the authority to officially interpret Vermont laws relating to the formation of business entities. You should consult with a Vermont licensed attorney or have all members or partners sign if you have any doubt as to who has authority to sign.
What should be done when an LLC or partnership has a change in name, leadership, or the number of members or partners, but the title is never transferred?
If an LLC or partnership continues to hold title after a change of leadership, membership, or partnership, the entity will remain the owner for purposes of the Current Use Program and nothing is required to be done. New members or partners may file an updated application with new signatures, but it is not mandatory as long as there was no legal change in ownership of the property. The same is true for a change in the name of the LLC or partnership or the use of a trade name—a new application is not necessary as long as there was no transfer of title.
What happens when an LLC or partnership transfers title to another entity or an individual?
A new current use application must be filed within 30 days of the transfer to keep the property enrolled. This is required for any transfer of title no matter the reason.
When property is initially enrolled in the Current Use Program, a lien is recorded to secure payment of land use change tax. Land use change tax becomes due when development occurs on the land. An owner may also voluntarily pay land use change tax to have the lien released even though development has not occurred.
The current use lien “runs with the land,” which means that a new owner takes ownership subject to the lien and subject to the requirements of the Current Use Program. The new owner is required to file a new current use application within 30 days of recording the deed associated with the transfer. If a new application is not filed in time, the property will be withdrawn from the Current Use Program but the lien will remain on the property. As mentioned above, the lien will be released upon the payment of land use change tax.
Can a current use application be signed by an authorized agent?
Yes. A current use application may be signed by an authorized partner agent or other duly authorized agent. By signing the current use application, the agent is attesting to full authority to enroll the property in the Current Use Program.
Is there any situation where the Department will deny an LLC or partnership’s application for lack of necessary signatures?
Yes. If the Department is notified that an individual without full authority to enroll a property has possibly claimed that authority by signing a current use application, we may deny the application, or ask for further evidence from the applicant entity, or both.
Trusts & Trustees
On a current use application, is the property owner the trust or the trustee(s)?
A trust generally does not hold title to property in Vermont. The trustee(s) should be listed as the owner.
On Form CU-301, the line for the owner’s name should be filled out as “last name, first name, trustee.” Each trustee must be listed as a separate entry. Please do not include information for more than one trustee in a single column. The address line should include the name of the trust.
If there are more than three trustees, use Form CU-302, the Additional Owners Form for Use Value Appraisal Application.
What if the trust is listed as the owner on the title or some other document?
Vermont law recognizes the trustee(s) of a trust as the owner(s) when property is transferred to a trust. 27 V.S.A. § 351. Therefore, when a trust is listed as the owner of the property on an application, title, or other document, the Department will treat the property as if the trustee(s) is listed as the owner. In any case, the trustee(s) must sign the application.
The title to a property is held by me and a few others as trustees. Are all of the trustees required to sign a current use application or may I sign it by myself?
The Department requires all trustees to sign a current use application for the application to be valid. However, there are a few exceptions.
What if there are multiple trustees but the Trust Agreement authorizes one trustee to sign for all of the trustees?
In that case, the names and addresses of all trustees must be included on the application, but only the trustee authorized to sign for all trustees needs to sign the application. You should attach to your application the section of a valid Trust Agreement that grants authority to a single trustee to sign for all the trustees.
The Department suggests that a trustee with authority to sign for all trustees be listed as the primary contact on the application.
Does the Department require a new application when real property is transferred from one or more individuals to the trustees of a trust? What if the individuals and trustees are the same people?
A new application is necessary for any transfer of property, even a conveyance to yourself as a trustee. The Department needs the application to reflect ownership on the deed in order to effectively administer the Current Use Program.
Does the Department require a Trust Agreement to be filed with the application?
No. The Department only requires a trustee to file with the application the sections of a Trust Agreement that are relied upon in the application. For example, when one trustee is authorized to sign for all trustees, the relevant portion of the trust agreement should be attached to the application. When all trustees are required to sign an application, there is no need for the trustees to provide evidence of their authority to sign.
The Department asks that applicants do not attach documents that are unnecessary or irrelevant to the application.
Does the Department require a new application when a new trustee is added?
Yes. A valid current use application must have the signatures of all trustees. Even when one trustee has authority to sign for other trustees, a new application is necessary so that all of the owners of the property are recorded on the application.
Does the Department require a new application when a trustee ceases to be a trustee but no new trustees are added?
Generally, no. The Department does not require a new application in that circumstance unless something else also occurred that would require a new application. For example, if a trustee signed an application based on the authority to sign for all trustees but that person ceases to be a trustee, then a new application with new signatures is required. Similarly, if a person ceases to be a trustee because of some fundamental change to the trust, the change may require a new application. Please see below for other types of changes.
Does the Department require a new application when a new trust is created and a deed transfers the property from the old trust to the new trust?
Yes. A transfer of property requires a new application, even if the trustees remain the same.
What if two trusts merge?
This will require a new application. A new application is necessary when a trustee is added or when a property is transferred from one owner to another.
Does the Department require a new application when a trust changes its name?
No. If the only change is a name change, a new application is unnecessary. As stated above, the trustees should be listed as the owner of the property and not the trust. However, the trustees should notify the Division of Property Valuation and Review of a name change and provide some proof that the name was changed. This is to avoid complications by ensuring that the Department’s database matches municipal land records.