Education Property Tax
The overall tax rate is comprised of the Municipal Tax Rate (approximately 1/3 of the tax bill) and the Education Tax Rate (approximately 2/3 of the tax bill). Prior to 2004, both tax rates were set at the local level, and based on budgets and the value of taxable property in town. With the passage of Act 68 in 2003, the calculation of the school tax rate shifted to the state, resulting in 2 tax rates. One is the homestead property rate, applied to property owned and occupied by a Vermont resident; the other is a non-resident rate, applied to all other property, including commercial, land and those properties not occupied by the owner as a primary residence. Thus, while 2 properties may have the same assessment, the tax bills may differ. In the Town of Hartford, the homestead tax rate has historically been less than the non-resident rate. In 2015, the homestead rate was higher due to the education budget passed in March at the school budget meeting, this held for 2016 as well. The overall difference from last year to this year was an increase of $0.0123 for homestead and $0.0148 for non-residential per $100 of assessed value.
Homestead Tax Rate
In order to have your property classified as Homestead you must file the HS 122 with your state income tax returns. If your property transferred or there was a change in the resident status you may not need to. However, this is statutorily mandated reporting for anyone who owns property in Vermont as the primary residence, you must file a homestead declaration on your primary residence. If you do not, there may be penalties imposed at the time of your towns property tax billing cycle.
The final deadline for filing your return and receive the homestead classification is October 15. If you anticipate filing for an Income Sensitivity Adjustment (state tax credit), it is important that you file this year, even if late. Your property must be classified as Homestead to qualify. Otherwise, you will not be eligible for an Income Sensitivity Adjustment. Further specific information regarding Homestead filing can be found at the Tax Department website or by calling 1-866-828-2865 (toll free in Vermont) or 1-802-828-2865 (local and out-of-state) and choosing Option 1.