Property Taxes

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. 

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

School districts across New Hampshire are deciding on their annual budgets this month. Many are facing spending increases and tough decisions due in part to loss of funding from the state.

NHPR’s Sarah Gibson attended the annual school district meeting in Hopkinton this weekend to hear how people there are weighing big budget proposals against concerns over rising property taxes.

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In the 1990s, a string of New Hampshire Supreme Court cases established the state's responsibility to fund an "adequate" education. These days, however, an adequate education is funded primarily by local property taxes, and rates vary from town to town. John Tobin is part of the team leading a charge to pressure the state to pay more of that bill. He is former executive director of New Hampshire Legal Assistance and he represented the plaintiffs in the Claremont Supreme Court cases. Now he is leading education funding forums around the state. NHPR’s Peter Biello spoke with Tobin about his efforts.

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The Dunbarton school district had an extra million dollars in the budget, and that means some extra money for taxpayers.

A judge ruled last week the school district couldn't hold an emergency meeting about the excess funds. With that ruling, the excess funds will now go toward reducing the tax rate, but only for one year.

That means someone with a home assessed at $300,000 would see a decrease of about $1,000 in their taxes.

Clem Madden is the vice chairman of the school board.

"The accumulation of these funds took everyone by surprise," he said.

After a vote to break the tax cap, and then a reversal of that decision, the Franklin City Council Wednesday night finalized a school budget for the next year. But it still falls short of what the school board requested.

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The state Supreme Court has ruled for Eversource in the company's fight with the town of Bow over the value of a local power plant.

The decision comes as the utility finishes selling off Merrimack Station as part of its deregulation process.

The plant and some related assets have made up a big part of Bow's tax rolls for decades.

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New IRS advice on prepaying property taxes for 2018 suggests New Hampshire residents may not be able to deduct those prepayments from this year's tax bill – but lots of homeowners in towns that allow prepayments are trying anyway.

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With only a few days remaining in this tax year, New Hampshire taxpayers are searching for ways to maximize their refunds or minimize their tax bills under new 2018 tax rules.

Chris Sullivan is a tax attorney with Rath, Young and Pignatelli. He joined NHPR's All Considered to answer some pressing tax questions.