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(click on the linked letters above to skip down to the section that starts with that letter)

A-10 form:  Application form to place land in current use.  Filed with the town Assessing Department before April 15th.

Acreage requirements-  Open space land shall consist of:  a tract of farm land, forest land or unproductive land totaling 10 or more acres. A tract of any combination of farm land, forest land or unproductive land, which totals 10 or more acres. A tract of undeveloped land of any size, actively devoted to the growing of agricultural or horticultural crops with an annual gross income from the sale of crops producing $2,500. A certified tree farm of any size or a tract of unimproved wetland of any size. (pg 14 cub)

Ad valorem value:  The highest and best use of the land.

Appurtenance-  Furnishings or apparatus on land. (defined in Webster: a legal right or privilege attached to a property and inherited with it; )

Assessing Official:  Means the assessing authority of any town, city or place.

Assessment Ranges:  Ranges set by the Current Use Board to assess farm, forest and unproductive land held in current use.

Betterment- Means the installation or construction of improvements which influence the value of the land such as:  roads; water lines; sewage lines; utility lines, or other physical improvements.

Buffer:  Protector against impact: something which reduces the shock or impact; or protects against other harm (Encarta)

Buildings:   A structure with walls and a roof.  (Note: Buildings shall not be assessed at current use. (see- Structures)

Building lot- A building lot shall consist of the curtilage of the building or buildings. The dimensions of the building lot (for current use assessment) shall not be governed by:  local municipal ordinances; planning board requirements, or local zoning ordinances.  Note:  Sections of land divided by a building lot shall be considered contiguous, if, when combined, they meet the acreage requirement.

Certified tree farm- Means a tree farm that has received a tree farm approval letter from the NH Tree Farm Committee which states that the tree farm meets the requirements of the nation tree farm program of the American Forest Foundation o; a current renewal letter.

Clear cuttingLand with all trees removed: land from which all the trees and undergrowth have been cut and removed. (Forest land that has been subjected to clear cutting still qualifies as forestland.)

Cluster Development: A group of houses or other buildings (closely packed together) that are built as a single construction project.

Coefficient of Dispersion, “COD”:  refers to the average percentage deviation from the median ratio. (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 5- page 6).

Condominium Developments: Land physically changed to accommodate the construction of a building(s), curtilage and infrastructure shall be removed from current use along with the amount of open space land needed to support that building(s) until such time there is no longer 10 qualifying acres. The amount of open space land needed to support these building(s) shall be the percentage interest that the building(s) represents in the entire project.  (Check with your individual town officials to see how they have classified your development- see cluster development; sub-division terminology).

Conservation Restriction: (as defined by RSA 79-B:2) A permanent restriction of open space land by deed granted in perpetuity to a federal, state, county, or local government, or to a charitable, educational, or other nonprofit corporation established for the purposes of natural resource conservation, the purpose of which is s to retain or maintain the land consistent with the protection of the environmental quality. (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 6- page 2)

Conservation Restriction Land:  Land which must provide a demonstrated public benefit based upon the conservation uses to which the land is perpetually limited; also intended to assist in the preservation of open spaces. (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 6- page 1)

Contiguous parcels-   Means more than one parcel of land which is connected, disregarding whether it is divided by highway, rail bed, river or water body or the boundary of a political subdivision.

Cost Approach Appraisal:  “Cost approach is based on the principal of substitution, that a rational, informed purchaser would pay no more for a property than the cost of building an acceptable substitute with like utility.” (Draft ASBA Reference Manual— Chapter 5- page 2).

Cost of Community Services (COCS)- A fiscal study approach used to determine an individual community’s public service costs versus revenues based on current land use. (Does not study secondary economic impact.)

Current use value: Means the assessed valuation per acre of open space land based upon the income-producing capability of the land in its current use solely from growing forest or agricultural crops, and not its real estate market value.

Curtilage- Land upon which a structure stands and the land immediately surrounding the structure including:  A yard contiguous to the structure; land groomed and maintained around the structure, and land necessary to support and service the structure.

CU-12 form: Application form to apply for a forest stewardship (managed land).

Development planmeans any subdivision plat, site plan, or building permit application supporting documents or similar documents required by state law or municipal ordinance and filed with appropriate officials; or a document prepared by landowner describing his/her intent to build a road, construct buildings, create subdivisions, excavate gravel or otherwise develop land which is classified under current use.

Discretionary easement:(as defined by RSA 79-C:2):  “A restriction of open space land granted to a city or town for a term of 10 years or more.  Any owner of land that does not meet the criteria for open space land for current use assessment, but meets the tests of demonstrated public benefit as pot forth in RSA 79-C:3, II, can apply to the municipality’s governing body to convey a discretionary easement. ((Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 6- 2)
Discretionary Preservation easements (as defined by RSA 79-D-2,I): “A preservation easement of an historic agricultural structure, including the land necessary for the function of the building, granted to a city or town for a term of 10 years or more as long as the  structure meets the test of public benefits as outlined in RSA 79-D:3, II. (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 6- 3)

Earth:  Means sand, gravel, rock, soil or construction aggregate produced by quarrying, crushing or any other mining activity or such other naturally-occurring unconsolidated materials that normally mask the bedrock. (RSA 155-E:1- Definitions)

Equalized assessed valuation:  The estimated true and market value of all taxable property in a municipality.

Equalization of current use land:  An equalization ratio established by The Department of Revenue Administration based on the number of sales within a city, town or district. If the equalization ratio is above 100%, current use land assessments will be higher; if equalization ratio is under 100%, current use land assessments will be lower, but need to be brought up to 100%.

Excavation-   Means a land area which is used, or has been used, for the commercial taking of earth, including all slopes (see Earth definition)Lands used in operations involving removal for sale of soil, gravel, stone and other surface materials shall not qualify for current use assessment except as allowed by RSA 79-A:7, IV (b). Excavation area: “Means the surface area within an excavation site where excavation has occurred or is eligible to occur under the provisions of this chapter.”

Excavation site: “means any area off contiguous land in common ownership upon which excavation takes place.” (RSA 155-E:1- definitions). Note: Every tax year prior to excavating, any owner who intends to excavate earth must file a Notice of Intent to Excavate (Form PA-38) and pay an administration fee with the assessing officials for each parcel that is to be excavated. (refer to RSA 72-B:1, 1 for more details) “Incidental” excavation: result of a construction project if more than 1,000 cubic yards of earth will leave the property during the tax year.  Earth that is bartered or traded away is not exempt from taxation.

Farm land-  Farm land shall be a tract or tracts of undeveloped land, devoted to, or capable of, the production of agricultural or horticultural crops including:  forage; grains; fruit; vegetables; herbs; Plantation Christmas trees; nursery stock; sod; floral products; pasturage; fiber; oilseeds or short rotation tree fiber farming.  Cleared land devoted to and capable of agricultural or horticultural use as determined and classified by criteria developed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets and Food and adopted by the board. (RSA 21:34) Note:  Land containing roads constructed for the purpose of harvesting crops shall be assessed as farm land.

Forest Land-  Based on Class- means land enrolled in current use as forest land; “grade” means land having a physical geography affecting timber harvesting crops by presence or absence of the following;  steep slopes, presence of boulders or rock outcrops; ravines; wetland or bodies of water, or any other physical qualifications; “location” means characteristics affecting accessibility to the land by presence or absence of : legal restrictions to access; abutting a maintained public highway, or: any other characteristics affecting accessibility; “Site quality” means the capacity of a parcel of land to produce wood, including factors that affect management:  the quality of soil; the climate and elevation; physical geography or any other factors “Type” means the mix of tree species.

Forest ManagementThe management of forests for profitable ends such as timber production. Commercial forestland, forest land, especially planted and commercially managed, rather than grown naturally.

Forestry:  Planting and growing of trees: the science or skill of planting and growing trees or managing forests.

Frontage- The front side of a building or piece of property (land) that is situated between itself, and a street or road.  Water frontage: the length of the front of a building or piece of property (land) next to a body of water.  (Note: Land which qualifies for current use assessment shall not be excluded because of road or water frontage.)

Gravel pits- The removal of topsoil is prohibited on land in current use; such activity would constitute a change in land use and would subject land to the land use change tax:  the only exceptions are:  removal of topsoil in the process of harvesting a sod farm crop; or removal of gravel and other material for construction and maintenance of roads and land for agricultural or forestry purposes within the qualifying property of the owner, along with approval of local authorities.

Highest and best use- Means that use which will most likely produce the highest market value, greatest financial return, or the most profit.

Identifiable boundaries:  Each tract of land for which an application is filed shall be marked with identifiable boundaries on the ground.

Income Approach Appraisal:  “The income approach uses capitalization to convert the anticipated benefits of the ownership of property into an estimate of value.” (Draft ASBA Reference Manual— Chapter 5- page 2).

Intent to cut-   Notification that landowners intends to cut trees from property. Per RSA 79:10 it requires that every owner intending to cut wood or timber to file with their assessing officials by April 1st and prior to actual start of cutting. (Form PA-7). Every owner who has filed an“intent to cut” must also file a Report of Wood and Timber Cut (Form PA) to the local assessing officials and the DRA, within 60 days of completion of the operation.

Land Use Change Tax (LUCT); Means a tax that shall be levied when the land use changes from open space to a non-qualifying use.

Lien:  “the right to take another’s property if an obligation is not discharged.”

Market value:  Means the value of a property that meets the following criteria: a.) is the most probable price, not the highest , lowest or average price; b.) is expressed in terms of money; c.) implies a reasonable time for exposure to the market; d.) implies that both the buyer and seller are informed of the uses to which the property may be put; e.) assumes an arm’s length transaction in the open market; f.) assumes a willing buyer and willing seller, with no advantage being taken by either buyer or seller, and: g.) recognizes both the present use and potential use of the property.

Mass Appraisals:  Appraisals which are conducted to complete a revaluation of all taxable property within a city or town in order to meet the legal requirement. It is the process of valuing all property by using standard methods and conducting various surveys. (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 7- 1)

Mean ratio: Means the average ratio — the sum of the ratios divided by the number of ratios.

Median ration: Means the middle ratio when a set of ratios is ranked in order of magnitude. The median is the generally preferred measure of central tendency for assessment equity, monitoring appraisal performance, and determining reappraisal priorities or evaluating the need for a reappraisal.

Open space land:  Means any or all farm land, forest land, or unproductive land.  “Open space land” shall not include any property held by a city, town or district in another city or town for the purpose of a water supply or flood control.

Owners at the time of change:  Means the person or persons who purchased the land and made a physical change of use.

Price-Related Differential “PRD”: is calculated be dividing the mean by the weighted mean.  (Ranges established by State of NH Assessing Standards Board— for PRD is no greater than 1.03, and no lower than 0.98.) First purchase of development rights, i.e purchase of agricultural conservation easements. (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 5- page 6).

Posting land:  Land assessed in current use may be posted. (Note: Receiving current use assessment does not require a landowner to open the property to public use.)

Prohibited activities (unless landowner approves):  The landowner may prohibit trespass upon his/her property for all other activities (not including the six recreational activities, but only if landowner receives a recreational discount). Prohibited activities include: use of mechanized and off-highway vehicles, snowmobiles, ATV, four-wheelers, camping, cutting down trees, etc. 

Ratio:  For a single sale, means the assessment divided by the sale price.

Reclassification:  Means when land such as unproductive land becomes accessible or practical to harvest.

Recreational Adjustment (20%): If a landowner decides not to post, and opens the property to public use without an entrance fee for 12 months a year, the land is entitled to a 20% reduction in current use assessment of the acres opened to public recreational use.

Recreational Uses:  There are only six required activities that qualify land to receive the 20% recreational adjustment.  They include: hunting, fishing, hiking, nature observation, skiing and snowshoeing. No other activities fall under this requirement.

Revaluations: There are three general revaluation activities.  Full revaluation: is a complete measure listing and valuation of all taxable and nontaxable properties within a municipality with or without use of, or access of, existing or prior appraisal data. Partial revaluation:  uses a specified portion of a municipality or any individual properties using either a full data collection effort completed with or without use of, or access to, existing or prior appraisal data or less than complete data collection effort.  Cyclical revaluation:  Is a measure and list of all municipal properties within a three to five year time period. Property assessments will be updated during the last year of measuring and listing property data, including the verification of all municipal market sales, this is considered a full revaluation once the entire process is complete. (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 7-1).

Rock outcrops:  Part of a rock formation that is exposed on the surface of the ground.

Sales Comparsion Approach Appraisal:  “One of the three approaches to value that estimates a property’s value by comparing the subject property to other similar properties that have sold.” (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 5- page 3)

Soil Potential index-  or SPI, means a scientific number which indicates the soil’s capability of production as determined by the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation  Service (NRCS), and obtainable through the county conservation district offices.

Stewardship: Management of property on behalf of another or oneself.

Structures: Something built or erected: a building, bridge, framework or other objects that has been put together from many different parts.

Stumpage value- (as defined by RSA 79:2): “The amount determined by the assessing officials in the same manner as other property values for the purpose of taxation at the time of the timber cut.” Wood and timber is assessed, however, at a stumpage value determined at the time of cutting. Growing wood and timber is not subject to the property tax but the land on which the wood is growingf is subject to taxation.

Test pits- Test pits shall not disqualify land from current use assessment when the purpose of the test pit is to:  determine whether or not the land would be suitable for building; detect the presence of water sources; or identify the mineral content of the land.

TractMeans a parcel or contiguous parcels of land having identical ownership, and which qualifies for current use assessment in any category or combination of categories described under Cub 304.01.

Tree Classifications in current use:  Currently there are only three tree classifications under forest land for unmanaged and managed forest land.  1.) White pine;  2.) Hardwoods; and 3.) All other.  Forest land is assessed at the majority of classified trees within the property.

Undeveloped land-  Means any land which is not used for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, other than the growing farm and forest products.  

Unimproved land- Means any land, left in its natural state, which is devoid of structures or other improvements.

Unproductive land:  Land classified as unproductive land because it is inaccessible or impractical to harvest agricultural or forest products, as provided under RSA 799-A:2, XIII, if land is reclassified as forest land or farm land due to becoming accessible or practical to harvest then it is no longer considered unproductive land.   A tract of land which has no structures; by its nature is incapable of producing or is being left in its natural ecological state.

Utility lines-  Land supporting power lines, pipelines, sewer lines, water lines and other utilities that are not for the sole benefit of the landowner shall be eligible for current use assessment under the category in which the land would normally qualify or if the presence and maintenance of such utilities would render the land ineligible.

Weighted mean ratio (aggregrate):  Means the sum of the assessments divided by the sum of the sale prices for the total number of sales used in a ratio study.

Wetland-  Means those areas of farm, forest and unproductive land that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.  Assessing officials allow a buffer up to 100 feet in depth provided that the land within the buffer is: unimproved and is being left in its natural state without interference with the natural ecological processes. (Wetlands can be put in current use even if less than the standard 10 acre requirement.)

Yield Tax:  “Means a tax of 10% of the stumpage value on wood or timber that is cut.  Assessing officials must take into account: the location of the timber; the quality of the timber; the size of the sale; and any other factors necessary to harvest the wood or timber that affects its value.” (Draft ASBA Reference Manual — Chapter 6-5)

Zoning requirements:  For all classifications of current use land, the dimensions of a building lot shall not be governed by any local zoning or planning ordinances. (i.e. requiring 2 acre building lot- only actually building, curtilage needs to be removed from current use).


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