Tax valuations for woodlands under Chapter 61 or 61A will rise sharply in the tax year that begins July 1st,, reflecting the strong markets for timber in the past few years.
The average woodland tax valuation will rise from $99/acre to $121/acre for woodlands west of the Connecticut River, a 22.2 % increase, and from $78/acre to $98/acre for woodlands east of the river, a 25.6% increase. Highly productive woodlands west of the river would be valued at $146/acre, with below average woodlands at $97/acre. Highly productive woodlands east of the river would be valued at $118/acre, with low productivity woodlands at $78/acre.
The valuation increases mean that total taxes under Chapter 61 or 61A for 50 acres of average woodlands west of the river in a town with a $15 tax rate will rise from $74.25 in fiscal 2019 to $90.75 in fiscal 2020, while taxes on an average 50-acre woodland east of the river with a $15 tax rate would rise from $58.50 in fiscal 2019 to $73.50 in fiscal 2020.
The Chapter 61 and 61A valuations are set by the Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission under a formula that calculates the average stumpage values from timber sales in the past five years weighted by the relative abundance of the species, with a 30 percent discount to reflect that not all trees can be harvested. The rising valuations reflect the strong rise in stumpage prices in recent years compared with the depressed stumpage prices during the recession from 2008 to 2011.