Vermont Property Taxes
Overview of Vermont Property Taxes
If you own property in Vermont, you are required to pay property taxes every year. However, unlike other states where property taxes are entirely levied and administered at the local level, the state of Vermont administers education tax that provides funding for state schools. This tax is similar to the one levied by school districts in most other states. In addition to the state education tax, Vermont property taxes are also levied at the municipal/city level to fund local services like municipal infrastructure and other expenses.
The state and its local governments collect $7 billion in total revenue every year. Of that, $1.7 billion or 23.40% of total revenue comes from property taxes. Generally, Vermont is a high tax state in part due to the statewide education tax. Homeowners pay $16.68 for every $1,000 of home value in property taxes. The average Vermont property tax adds up to $4,111, which is higher than in most states in the country. However, the ultimate bill depends on the location of your property. For instance, homeowners in Orleans County pay an average of $2,860 while those in Chittenden County pay $4,958.
How do Vermont property taxes work? As mentioned, the state has two types of property taxes: the state education tax and local property taxes. Municipalities set the local Vermont property tax rates which apply to your property's assessed value. Each county has local assessors, called listers in Vermont, who are tasked with assessing properties for purposes of taxation. Properties are assessed at their fair market value or the amount a willing buyer would pay for the property. Should the assessed values in a certain jurisdiction fall below 80% of market value, counties and cities must conduct a reappraisal as per state laws. However, the state does not issue strict guidelines on when properties should be appraised and the reappraisal dates vary between municipalities.
The amount of Vermont property taxes you pay as state education tax depends on multiple factors including the classification of your property and the common level of appraisal (CLA) as determined by the state. CLA is the general level of appraised values in comparison to the actual market values. A high CLA in a particular taxing district means the properties in that area are over-appraised and residents should pay lower tax rates. This ensures an equitable distribution of the state education tax for homeowners.
Understandably, Vermont property tax rates are considerably lower for residential, owner-occupied properties compared to general properties. More information regarding the tax rates and CLA can be obtained from the Vermont Department of Taxes website.
If you are planning to buy a home in Vermont and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our Vermont Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
Vermont Property Tax Due Dates
As aforementioned, the state of Vermont does not have specific dates when properties should be assessed. Also, tax bills are mailed to homeowners on different dates depending on the town in which their property is located. When are property taxes due in Vermont? Again, the Vermont property tax due dates vary with location. For instance, in the City of Burlington, tax bills are mailed in July each year. Property taxes are due by June 12 and payable to the Clerk Treasurer's Office. The taxes become delinquent on June 22. However, the city allows you to pay your Vermont property taxes in four installments due on the 12th of August, November, March, and June each year.
In the town of Lincoln, Vermont property taxes are payable in two installments due on Oct. 14 and March 11. The taxes are payable to the Town Treasurer. The town allows you to pay your taxes in a single installment, but the taxes must be paid by Oct. 14 to avoid interests and penalties. Taxes not paid by March 11 result in a one-time 8% penalty plus 0.5% interest per month. Again, penalties and interest charged on delinquent taxes vary with location. For specific due dates in your town, consult your Town Treasurer.
Vermont Property Tax Exemptions
Besides the option to appeal property taxes if you believe your property was over-appraised, the state of Vermont offers several exemptions to reduce the Vermont property tax burden for eligible homeowners. They include the homestead and senior exemptions. Homeowners are still required to comply with the Vermont property tax due dates as set in the different municipalities regardless of their eligibility.
Vermont Homestead Exemption
In Vermont, a Homestead Declaration ensures that you are correctly assessed the homestead tax rate on your property. The tax rates for homestead properties are lower than the rate for non-homestead properties. The declaration should be filed by the April filing deadline. Apart from that, the state's homestead exemption protects up to $125,000 of your property's assessed value from creditors in case of bankruptcy. You must be using the property as your principal residence to qualify. However, this exemption has no bearing on the accrual of Vermont property taxes.
Vermont Senior Citizens Exemption
Vermont's senior exemption is known as the Elderly or Permanently Disabled Tax Credit. Under this provision, elderly or permanently disabled persons qualify for a certain amount of credit depending on how they fulfill the income requirements. The tax credit equals 24% of the federal credit for the elderly or disabled. Eligible seniors must be at least 65 years of age. Contact the Department of Taxes-Agency of Administration for more details on qualifications.
Other Vermont property tax exemptions include the Disabled Veterans exemption. This exemption exempts a minimum of $10,000 of the assessed value of a disabled veteran's principal residence from property taxes. The exemption can increase to up to $40,000 depending on the town/city. The surviving, unmarried spouse of a qualified veteran also qualifies for this exemption.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Vermont
You can appeal property taxes in Vermont if you disagree with the valuation of your property. A successful appeal can lower your Vermont property tax bill. Appeals are filed with the Department Of Revenue within 60 days of receiving your Notice of Assessment. You must request an appeal in writing which must be signed by you or your representative. Once you file your appeal request, the Department assigns you an internal contact person with whom you can hold an informal meeting to discuss the issues of your appeal. It is possible to resolve the issues in this meeting. If you fail to reach an agreement with the Department, a date is scheduled for your appeal hearing. The Department attorney assigned to your case will contact you to try and reach an agreement with you. If the meeting with the attorney is unsuccessful, a written notice is sent to you with details of the time and date for your appeal hearing. You can appeal the Department's findings to the Superior Court within 30 days of receiving the Department's decision.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across Vermont though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Chittenden County
To help you understand how to appeal your property taxes in Vermont, here is a breakdown of the process in Chittenden County, the most populous county in Vermont.
Obtain your assessment
Details of your assessment can be obtained from your Notice of Assessment or your tax bill.
Determine if you are over-assessed
The best way to determine if your property has been over-appraised is by checking the sales prices of similar units within your locality. TaxProper's search tool can help you with the search. Compare the prices with your property's valuation to determine if it's a fair reflection of its market value.
Complete forms needed to appeal
The forms you need to appeal property taxes in Chittenden County will be provided to you by the Department of Taxes.
File property tax appeal
Property tax appeals in Chittenden County are filed with the Vermont Department of Taxes either by mail or the address provided on the Department's website. You or your representative must sign the appeal request.
Prepare for hearing
The burden of proof is on you as the taxpayer. It is therefore your responsibility to present evidence showing the Department overvalued your property. Evidence can include but is not limited to comparable sales, photographs showing the undesirable aspects of your property, or a recent appraisal report.
The Department of Taxes requires you to attend a property tax appeal hearing so you can present your information and views regarding the appeal. You do not need an attorney for a Department appeal. However, a Vermont attorney or a Vermont certified public accountant can represent you at the hearing.
Appeal the decision
The Department of Taxes decisions can be appealed to the Vermont Superior Court within 30 days of the Department rendering its decisions.
Property Tax Information for Vermont Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each Vermont county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific Vermont county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|
|Grand Isle County||$309,639||$4,572||$14.80|