Tax valuations for woodlands enrolled in Chapter 61 or 61A will decline slightly for woodlands west of the Connecticut River, and rise sharply for woodlands east of the river for the tax year that begins on July 1st.
The Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission voted new valuations in March for the fiscal year 2021 which begins July 1st.
The average valuation for woodlands west of the Connecticut River will drop from $121/acre to $116/acre, a reduction of 4.1%, while the average value for woodlands east of the river will climb sharply from $98/acre to $119/acre.
For years, average values for woodlands west of the river has been higher than east of the river – this year’s valuations show eastern values have climbed above those to the west, the result of higher stumpage prices paid on timber in central and eastern Massachusetts.
West of the river, below average woodlands would be valued at $93/acre while above average woodlands would be valued at $139/acre.
East of the river, below average woodlands would be valued at $95/acre, while above average woodlands would be valued at $143/acre.
Valuations for land in Christmas tree plantations will rise from $108/acre to $116/acre, while non productive land such as wetlands or rocky land would be valued at $49/acre.
Under the formula, a 50 acre average woodland west of the river would be valued at $5,800 for tax purposes, and in a community with a $15/$1,000 valuation tax rate, would be assessed $87 in annual taxes under Chapter 61, a cut of $3.75 from the current year..
A 50 acre average woodland east of the river would be valued at $5,950 for tax purposes, and at a $15 tax rate, would be assessed $89.25 in annual taxes, a rise of $15.75 from the current year..
Values for Chapter 61 & 61A forest land are set using a formula MFA developed with assessors, the Department of Conservation & Recreation and Massachusetts Farm Bureau. The formula is based on average stumpage price values, discounted to reflect that not all woodland growth can be harvested due to site and environmental considerations.
To download a list of the FY22 values, go to https://www.mass.gov/doc/fy-2022-fvac-chapterland-values/download