Mr. Farnham, I am hearing from my taxpayers that they have filed homestead declarations but the tax department has not processed them yet. This is not fair to towns. Late-processed homestead declarations mean more work for us, because after the abstract grand list is filed, we have to document every change to it, including printing new pages for the permanent record and tracking all of the changes whenever a property is moved from the non-residential to the homestead grand list. If the taxpayer filed their homestead on time, and the tax department hasn’t gotten around to processing it, this “creates significant and unnecessary work for the Department (which is funded by all of our tax dollars).” Except it isn’t the department, it’s the Town. Your email below talks about the time that we are costing taxpayers by making the tax department do extra work. I would ask for the same consideration flowing in the other direction – this costs taxpayers at the local level, and if the homestead was filed timely but delayed by the tax department, the other taxpayers have to bear the cost of the extra time, paper, envelopes and postage to send new bills. If they are due an adjustment, we might be sending new bills twice, once when the declaration is processed and once again when the income sensitivity is processed.
I understand that the listers are encouraged to notify the tax department about people who have not filed, so it’s taking their time as well. Should they do that now, or later when more returns may have been processed? How will they know when the department is caught up? We have approximately 95 residents who should have filed a homestead but we haven’t received notice that they have filed. That’s over 10% of the parcels on our grand list. If it’s true that the tax department might not catch up until late summer or fall, I might be sending revised bills after our due date. The homestead rate is higher than the non-residential rate in Marshfield, so people might be delinquent without ever having received the correct bill, due to the delays and not due to any action on their part. How do you suggest I handle that? Do we have to hold abatement hearings to remove delinquent interest and penalties if a higher bill goes out after the due date? There is no provision that I know of in NEMRC to allow me to adjust due dates on some bills but not others. Are you going to issue guidance to towns about how to handle the issues that the late processing is going to create?
Good Afternoon Vermont Town Clerks and Assistant Clerks,
I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for continuing to work with my staff on the recording and transmission of property transfer tax returns and touch on a couple of points which can make all of our lives easier. Linked below are some instructions which are intended to help differentiate between different versions of the property transfer tax return and help you know when to record a document and when to mail it to the Department.
I hope you all find the document helpful and would like to reinforce that, if the document has “Draft do not record” in the upper right please do not record the document as it is not considered a final return, creates a confusing entry in your land records, and creates significant and unnecessary work for the Department (which is funded by all of our tax dollars). Returns which were prepared in ePTTR before the system was decommissioned and not presented for recording will need to be resubmitted through myVTax. The Department has provided 14 trainings around the state for real estate professionals to help them use the myVTax filing system correctly.
Thank you all and please reach out to me with any questions, comments, or concerns. Please feel free to redistribute this message as you see fit.
Douglas R. Farnham | Director
Property Valuation & Review | Vermont Department of Taxes
802-828-6829 | www.tax.vermont.gov
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