current use

NHPR

Current use is a land taxation program that aims to encourage open space through lower tax rates for forests, and farms.  However, it’s been scrutinized in a state with a heavy reliance on property taxes.  We look at how current use has shaped our landscape, and the role it plays in conservation, economic development, recreation, and land use.

Original air date: Monday, November 18th. 

Ken Lund; Flickr

The long-standing current use program gives favorable tax treatment to landowners who preserve open space, typically farmland or forest. But current use has always had detractors, who say it sets up an unfair tax system, and reduces revenue available to towns. 

A bill to study the impact of lower tax rates for undeveloped land will be considered in the legislative session beginning next month.

The tax structure is known as “current use.” It started decades ago as a part of a pro-environment push.

Basically, landowners who keep their property undeveloped — keep it forested, for example — pay a significantly lower tax rate, in theory encouraging them to preserve their land.