Tax valuations for woodlands enrolled in Chapter 61 or 61A in Massachusetts will drop an average of 8.7% for the tax year that begins on July 1st.
The Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission voted new valuations in March for the fiscal year 2024 which begins July 1st.
The average valuation for woodlands west of the Connecticut River will drop from $108/acre to $100/acre, a reduction of 7.4%, while the average value for woodlands east of the river will drop 10% from $120/acre to $108/acre..
Timber prices since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 have risen and fallen sharply each year reflecting fluctuating consumer demand. The decline in tax values reflects lower average stumpage prices.
West of the river, below average woodlands would be valued at $80/acre while above average woodlands would be valued at $120/acre.
East of the river, below average woodlands would be valued at $87/acre, while above average woodlands would be valued at $130/acre.
Under the formula, a 50 acre average woodland west of the river would be valued at $5,000 for tax purposes, and in a community with a $15/$1,000 valuation tax rate, would be assessed $75 in annual taxes under Chapter 61, a cut of $6 from the current year..
A 50 acre average woodland east of the river would be valued at $5,400 for tax purposes, and at a $15 tax rate, would be assessed $81 in annual taxes, a cut of $9 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.