What is Current Use?
The intent of the Current Use Program is to encourage the preservation of open space, which helps maintain the character of the state’s landscape and conserves land, water, forest, agricultural and wildlife resources. Current use is a taxing strategy aimed at making it easier for landowners to keep their open space undeveloped. Open space land imposes little, if any cost, on local government and is therefore an economic benefit to its taxpayers. Instead of being taxed at its real estate market value, current use land is taxed on its income-producing capability, which is a lower valuation. If current use land is made available to the public for outdoor recreation including hiking, fishing, hunting, snowshoeing, and skiing, a further 20% recreation adjustment may be applied (posted land would not qualify for the adjustment).
What land is eligible to be placed in Current Use?
Undeveloped land that is ten (10) acres or more may be eligible for current use status (note: there are a few exceptions to the acreage requirement). Farmland, forest land, wetlands or other land unsuitable for agriculture or forest products may qualify. Buildings and other improvements, such as driveways and septic systems, are excluded from current use.
How do I apply to put my land into Current Use?
Property owners must apply to the Town using Form A-10 (available at the bottom of this page, or upon request from the Assessor's Office). The Assessor's Agent will assess the land using the criteria established by the State of New Hampshire's Current Use Board to determine if it is eligible.
Regarding Form A-10:
- The form must be completed in black ink and signed by all owners of record.
- The form (Notice of Contingent Lien) will be recorded at the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds. The notice of contingent lien serves as a notice to all interested parties that a lien on the land will be created if and when the land is changed to a non-qualifying use.
- Applicant must attach a map or drawing with interior boundaries, acreage & type of land in each category, also any portions of land not in current use program.
- If filing with a soil potential index percentage for farmland, attach SPI information.
- If filing for a stewardship adjustment for forestland, attach forestry plan for the following 5 years or more.
Does Current Use status ever expire, or end if the property is sold?
No - the current use status remains even if the property is transferred to another owner, and only ends if the land is disturbed/physically changed by construction/development/etc. or if an owner otherwise changes its use to one that does not qualify for current use. If this occurs, a Land Use Change Tax (LUCT), which is 10% of the current market value of the land (which is established by the Assessor), is charged to the owner.
I bought a piece of Current Use property - How do I remove it from Current Use?
- Under state law, there is no 'buy-out' for current use. Land in current use status can’t be removed from current use until it has been disturbed/improved on, or if the land size no longer conforms (i.e. is less than 10 acres, though subdivision alone does not remove land from current use as long as the subdivided parcels are contiguous and remain under the same ownership). This means there is technically no process for removing land from current use, even in preparation for construction/improvements or subdivision and sale. Those who intend to disturb or improve current use land are advised to submit to the Assessor's Office a map of the parcel indicating the areas they believe will be impacted by any construction/improvements (including driveways, septic systems, etc.), and include the estimated start date of the work. That way, the Town's assessing agents will have an awareness of the change and can confirm the disturbance once work begins, which will set things in motion for the issuance of the Land Use Change Tax. Only the portion of land that is disturbed is removed from current use - the remaining property remains in current use status.