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
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
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.
· § 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.)
Dear Mr. Farnham – I would very much appreciate the information I mentioned below. Thank you, Susie Haughwout
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/property-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.
Wilmington Town Clerk
P. O. Box 217
Wilmington, VT 05363
Town Website: 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.