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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 two 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 two 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. For the 2012-2013 tax bills, this difference was approximately $ .11 per hundred dollars of assessed value.
For the past several years, residents did not have to file a Homestead Declaration form annually in order to have the Homestead tax rate applied to their assessment, unless the property transferred or there was a change in the resident status or rental/business portion of the property. However, starting next year (2013-2014 tax year), you will have to start filing annually again. You may file on-line after January 1st or with your Income Tax Return in April.
For the current 2012 tax year, the deadline for filing to receive the Homestead tax rate has passed (September4). However, if you anticipate filing for an Income Sensitivity Adjustment in 2013 (State Tax Credit), you should still file for this year. Otherwise, you will not be eligible for an Income Sensitivity Adjustment in 2013 (State Tax Credit). Further specific information regarding Homestead filing can be found at the Tax Department website: http://tax.vermont.gov or by calling 1-866-828-2865 (toll free in VT) or 1-802-828-2865 (local & out-of-state) and choosing Option 1.