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 AssessingCurrent Use      November 18, 2017  
Assessing Services: Current Use Minimize


Prior to 1968, New Hampshire's population was growing at a very rapid pace, and the state's rural land was giving way to poorly planned subdivisions, strip malls and roads. As a result, land values were rising to a level that was making it difficult for farmers and large wood-lot owners to keep their land due to the increase in property taxes. As a result, the citizen's of New Hampshire campaigned to amend the constitution allowing land to be taxed based upon its "current use value" and not its "highest and best use value" as the constitution then required.

As a result, the current use taxation law was approved by the voter's of New Hampshire in 1968 and enacted into law in 1973. This law was designed to protect undeveloped land from future development. To qualify for current use, a property owner must have a minimum of 10 acres of land, not including the building site and it's "curtilage" or maintained area around the building, including the well, septic system, driveway and all outbuildings. The only exceptions to the minimum acreage requirement are the tract of undeveloped land of any size actively devoted to the growing agricultural or horticultural crops with an annual gross income from the sale of crops normally produced thereon, totaling at least $2500, a certified tree farm of any size or a tract of unimproved wetland of any size. 

The benefit of the program is that the property owner receives a substantial property tax reduction of the land under the current use program.

Much like a conservation easement, land that has been approved for current use remains under the program in perpetuity. The only time land can be removed from current use is if there is a "change in use" of the land (i.e. residential development). Should the property owner decide to develop his land, only that portion of land that is being developed is removed from current use, as it no longer qualifies for the program. The owner is then subject to a "land use change tax" on that land, or 10% of its market value at the time it no longer qualifies for the program.

Avitar has a full staff of certified assessors qualified to discuss and educate you regarding all aspects of the current use program.