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The list of all properties in Town and their assessments is referred to as the Grand List. The primary duty of the Listers' Office is to maintain this list as accurately and equitably as possible. The valuation [listing] year runs from April 1 to the following March 31. Thus, for any given year, the owner and condition of a property should be as of April 1.
If your property is destroyed or seriously damaged at any point during the course of the tax year, please let us know. You may request an abatement of your taxes for the remainder of the tax year. Details of this process are available through the Town Clerk's Office.
Most activities and dates are mandated by State Statute as follows:
April 1 - All taxable real property in town is assessed [listed] at fair market value, adjusted by the equalization ratio, as determined by the state
April 15 - Last day to file the HS-122 Homestead Declaration form, which entitles you to be taxed at the Homestead School Tax Rate, without a late penalty. This form can be completed on-line at www.state.vt.us/tax
May 1 - Notices of eligibility for Disabled Veteran exemptions are due in this Office. Veterans who are residents and 50% or more disabled qualify for a $40,000 reduction on the assessed value of their property. This benefit extends to widows of qualified Veterans.
May-June - The values for the tax year are finalized by the Listers and Assessor and the Abstract of the Grand List is lodged. At this time notices are mailed to all taxpayers who have had changes in their assessed values. Within 14 days, any taxpayer who wants to grieve (appeal) an assessment must contact the Lister's Office to set up an appointment. Grievances are not limited to only those taxpayers with assessment changes. Any taxpayer may grieve in any year. If you wish to be notified of the grievance time period, you may call our office and request notification.
June/July - Grievance appeals begin 14 days after change notices are mailed.
July - Tax bills are mailed to property owners as of April 1. The first installment is due in August, the second in February. Only one bill is mailed, with two stubs, one for each payment.
In addition to the above activities, since the 1999 townwide reappraisal, the Listers' Office has been re-inspecting a fifth of the town each year. All properties within an area are, at the minimum, re-measured on the outside. Letters are mailed to all properties owners within the selected neighborhood requesting interior inspections. By doing this, our physical data is kept current. This can also save money should the State require us to complete another townwide reappraisal, as it did in 2007, when the reappraisal company that assisted us did not have to re-inspect all the properties in Town. Should a taxpayer refuse an interior inspection, we will rely on old records and the exterior inspection to estimate the interior. This can lead to errors, not always in favor of the taxpayer. If you have questions about this process, please call or e-mail our office. Note that changes made through this process represent data corrections only, not market adjustments.
In 2007, we completed a town-wide revaluation, which utilized sales data from 2005-2007, a period when the market was strong. Since that time, values have declined throughout the Town.
If this decline in values had been uniform over the entire Town, all assessments could be reduced by the same amount and equity would be maintained. However, this has not been the case. While the residential first home market has shown a decrease of approximately 10% since the revaluation, the second home market has dropped more dramatically. This is not unusual and has been experienced in other communities such as Ludlow, Warren, Stowe and Killington.
For the 2012 Grand List we have reviewed the values in all the condominium complexes in the Town and have made adjustments when there was sufficient sales data. It should be stressed that these adjustments were made to bring the values to the same level of assessment as the remainder of the Town. Our goal was to bring more equity across all properties in Town.
It is important to understand that one or two high or low sales are not enough to justify changes to an entire property class or neighborhood. Assessments typically are based on "median" values for any groups of properties, or that value which falls in the middle. This lessens the influence of extreme high and low sale prices. We also must see a clear trend in order to make adjustments and we have considered properties currently on the market only as support data.