Current use tax rates in New Hampshire remain attractive for timberland owners. The New Hampshire State Current Use Board determines current use rates, and the Board has initiated rulemaking proceedings for new rates.
Proposed new current use tax rates are:
Forestland with documented stewardship:
White Pine- $84.77/acre
Hardwood - $38.14/acre
Other - $26.96/acre
Forestland without documented stewardship:
White Pine - $141.28
Hardwood - $63.56
Other - $44.93
Because these rates reflect timber stumpage values and market activity averaged from the past five years, we see a two-to-seven percent increase. The NHTOA is not opposing the proposed rates. Our expectation is that once the soft 2016/2017 pulp and biomass stumpage values are calculated into this five-year average, next year we will begin to see these rates reflect the current downward market trend for low-grade timber (pulpwood and biomass chips).
Public forums on the proposed new rates and other rule changes are scheduled for the first and second week of November. These forums provide the public an opportunity to give feedback and comments on the proposed tax assessment rates, and this year the public will be asked to provide comments on a number of proposed rule changes, including:
1. How should the rules define "structures". In recent years there has been confusion over what qualifies as a structure and would make a property ineligible for current use assessment (e.g. portable paddock shelter for livestock, water lines for watering troughs, fences, etc.), and
2. Should the rule's consideration of parcels less than 10 acres in size, where the annual agricultural revenue is greater than $2,500, consider more value-added products (e.g. livestock products)?
At the forums, officials from the Department of Revenue Administration will also provide an overview of the Current Use assessment law, an explanation of how the agricultural soil potential index (used to calculate Current Use assessment rates on some agricultural lands) works, and how local assessing officials can consider the impacts of the 2016 drought when calculating the Current Use assessment rates for agricultural lands.
Here is the forum schedule, with locations:
Nov. 3, 6:00 p.m., North Country Resource Center, Lancaster, N.H. (this is the Department of Resources and Economic Development and UNH Cooperative Extension office north of Lancaster village and fairgrounds).
Nov. 7, 6:00 p.m., Town Hall, Wakefield, N.H.
Nov. 10, 10:00 a.m., the N.H. Department of Revenue Administration office, Concord, N.H.
The NHTOA urges it members to attend a forum to show support for the Current Use assessment program and provide input into the process.