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If a clerk refuses to record a transfer after the mortgage has already been
disbursed, and a lien is filed between the date that the clerk refuses the
first attempt at recording and the date that the proper form is filed and
the documents are accepted, I don’t think a $50 fee will be the worst of our
worries.

 

From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Wilmington Town Clerk
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 1:21 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

Dear Mr. Farnham – again, thank you for your response.  I do understand you
have probably been inundated with inquiries.  You now allude to a possible
fee being levied for truly intransigent non-compliance.  I still have not
seen  the regulation that insists that Town Clerks have the authority to
reject based on an “out-dated” form, nor have I seen a regulation that
imbues the Tax Dept with authority to levy a penalty fee for non-compliance.
I would very sincerely like to see those statutes or regulations.

 

Respectfully – Susie Haughwout

 

From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Farnham, Douglas
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 12:48 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 
Subject: Re: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

Tim,

 

The misinformation about the need to continue printing the property transfer
returns was unfortunate and has been addressed with the parties involved and
on the bar association listserv. Due to a high volume of inquiries I had
requested help addressing some of the myVTax related questions and that one
slipped through my review. 

 

In response to Susie below – as I stated I would exhaust every opportunity
to work with the Towns and not place an undue burden on the clerks before
considering the levy of any fee. A fee would only be used in a situation
where there is a clear refusal to work together in a reasonable manner over
a long period of time. I believe that a court would apply a similar standard
before levying a fee – attempt to solicit compliance until there is a clear
pattern of refusal. I have a great deal of respect for municipal officials
and want to do everything I can to make life easier for Vermonters, Town
Officials, and my own staff.

 

I understand that communication around the myVTax launch has not been as
clear and timely as it could have been but the Department has sent out
emails to all town contact addresses over the last month – it is possible
that some of our email addresses may be bad or that those emails were pushed
into spam or junk folders. We are working on compiling all of the changes we
are making to the process based on feedback we’ve received from attorneys,
listers, and clerks and will share that when it is ready. I would also like
to point out that we had a focus group which was comprised of clerks,
listers, assessors, and real estate professionals and we incorporated
feedback all through the development process.

 

At this point I can update you on the following:

 

*         We are actively developing a shorter property transfer tax return
to print out for land recording purposes – this new version will address
both confidentiality and redaction concerns as well as vault space issues
without losing information relevant to the deeds. After that is completed, I
am going to re-evaluate the paper version and see if anything can be done
with that form.

*         Prior to that new version being released the phone number and
email information will not print on the town version and the fields are
being removed from the paper version; this change is scheduled be in place
by the end of the week.

*         There are other pieces of development in progress which will be
able to share more detail on once our development teams have evaluated them
and given us a timeline

*         Listers have access to all recorded property transfer tax returns,
not just for their town but for all of Vermont, through their myVTax logins
(if they don’t have a login yet they will need to contact the Department at
828-0428 to get one set up) and, although this doesn’t affect the existing
statutory requirements, the Department would hope that once everyone is
comfortable with using myVTax for that purpose it would be appropriate for a
conversation to happen about updating the statute.

*         As a reminder – the Department did not turn off ePTTR as we are
aware it might take some time for deeds to come in for returns submitted in
November and early December. If you receive a return with a deed that was
printed from ePTTR you can still go into that system to complete the
recording and send the electronic return to the Department. 

 

myVTax guide designed for town clerks:
http://tax.vermont.gov/sites/tax/files/documents/myVTaxGuidePropertyTransfer
Tax.Return.pdf

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Douglas R. Farnham | Director

Property Valuation & Review | Vermont Department of Taxes

802-828-6829 |  <http://www.tax.vermont.gov/> www.tax.vermont.gov 

 

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From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Wilmington Town Clerk
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 11:24 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 
Subject: Re: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

If this is how it will really be into the future, the statute that Clerks
must “deliver” PTTRs to Listers needs to be changed.  In this electronic
world, Listers should be able to get their own portal with password and go
view the Clerk-completed returns at will.  No more need for Clerks to
“deliver” hard copies.

 

From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tim Arsenault
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 10:38 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 
Subject: Re: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

Now the deeds are coming without the PTTR[‘s attached, and the instruction
was to download from the myvtax site..lovely

 

Sincerely,

Tim Arsenault

Vernon Town Clerk

567 Governor Hunt Road

Vernon, VT  05354

[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 

802-257-0292

 

From: Vermont Municipal Government Discussion Network
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Wilmington Town Clerk
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 8:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 
Subject: FW: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

Fellow clerks – I wasn’t going to post this exchange with Mr. Farnham until
he responded to my second email.  He doesn’t seem inclined to answer at this
point, so I’ll post anyway.  Susie

 

From: Wilmington Town Clerk [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 3:41 PM
To: 'Farnham, Douglas'
Subject: RE: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

Dear Mr. Farnham – first, thanks for your response.  I believe this statute
has been in place prior to either the initiation of the E-PTTR system or the
new myVTax system.  In my mind it generally refers to a transfer tax return,
filled out with all the necessary information.  I’d like to see the updated
regulation that empowers clerks with the specific authority/responsibility
to reject a PTTR if it is turned in on, for lack of better term, a so-called
out-dated form.  You can probably guess that I sincerely question that
either a specific statute or regulation exists, but if it does I would very
much like to read it.

 

I don’t believe a judge would impose a fine on a clerk who accepted an
out-dated form.  Isn’t that the test?

 

Earnestly - Susie

 

From: Farnham, Douglas [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 3:30 PM
To: Wilmington Town Clerk
Subject: RE: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

Susie,

 

Below is the citation I was basing my statement on. My communication earlier
did not speak to the fines at all because I would exhaust every available
option working with a town clerk and try to come to an understanding about
the recording of property transfer returns before I resorted to fining a
town clerk (particularly during a transition period like this one). Growing
up in a small town in Vermont I understand how busy clerks can be and how
central their role is in the town office - I always strive for the
relationship between my Division and the Clerks to be a positive one. 

 

Please don’t hesitate if you have any further questions. 

 

http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/32/231/09608 

 

*         § 9608. Prohibition against certain recordings

(a) Except as to transfers which are exempt pursuant to subdivision 9603(17)
of this title, no town clerk shall record, or receive for recording, any
deed to which is not attached a properly executed transfer tax return,
complete and regular on its face, and a certificate in the form prescribed
by the Natural Resources Board and the Commissioner of Taxes that the
conveyance of the real property and any development thereon by the seller is
in compliance with or exempt from the provisions of 10 V.S.A. chapter 151.
The certificate shall indicate whether or not the conveyance creates the
partition or division of land. If the conveyance creates a partition or
division of land, there shall be appended the current "Act 250 Disclosure
Statement," required by 10 V.S.A. § 6007. A town clerk who violates this
section shall be fined $50.00 for the first such offense and $100.00 for
each subsequent offense. A person who purposely or knowingly falsifies any
statement contained in the certificate required is punishable by fine of not
more than $500.00 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.

(b) A person who makes a false certification under this section shall be
liable for damages caused by that false certification, in addition to any
existing liability created under the common law. (Added 1967, No. 146, § 1,
eff. Jan. 1, 1968; amended 1969, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 30, eff. April 4,
1970; 1969, No. 291 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. 60 days after April 9, 1970;
1971, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1981, No. 38, § 3, eff. April 21, 1981;
1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 23, 1987, No. 64, § 4; 1991, No. 111, § 9;
2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 118, eff. Jan. 31, 2005; 2009, No. 160 (Adj.
Sess.), § 19; 2013, No. 11, § 25; 2013, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 21, eff.
June 4, 2014.)

 

 

From: Wilmington Town Clerk [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2017 2:58 PM
To: Farnham, Douglas <[log in to unmask]
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> >
Subject: FW: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

Dear Mr. Farnham – I would very much appreciate the information I mentioned
below.  Thank you,  Susie Haughwout

 

From: Vermont Municipal Clerks Treasurers Association [
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Wilmington Town Clerk
Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 1:12 PM
To:  <mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]
Subject: PTTR clerk responsibility

 

I would like to see the citation for either a statute or specific regulation
that gives clerks this “responsibility”.  

 

*         Clerks are responsible for ensuring that the proper form was used
by comparing the closing date to the form version; the fact sheet containing
all of the effective dates is found here:
http://tax.vermont.gov/research-and-reports/publications/fact-sheets/propert
y-owners. We are updating the sheet to reflect the new form version, and
will send it out to muninet once updated. In the meantime, the Department
will deal with any issues that arise from an improper form submission. The
Department expects clerks to reject forms with incorrect closing dates
according to the updated fact sheet.

 

 

Susie Haughwout

Wilmington Town Clerk

P. O. Box 217

Wilmington, VT 05363

Ph: 802-464-5836

Email:  <mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask] 

 

Town Website:  <http://www.wilmingtonvermont.us/> www.wilmingtonvermont.us

 

Please note that this email message, along with any response or reply, is
considered public record, and thus, subject to disclosure under the Vermont
Public Records Law (1 V.S.A. § 315-320). Thank You.