State Tax Form CL-1(61A)
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Revised 6/2015
Name of City or Town
Property Owner’s Acknowledgement of Rights and Obligations
under Classified Agricultural or Horticultural Land Program
This form must be submitted as part of your application for classification
QUALIFICATIONS. I understand that property must consist of at least 5 contiguous acres of land under the same
ownership and be “actively devoted” to agricultural or horticultural use in order to qualify for and retain classification as
agricultural or horticultural land under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 61A. Agricultural or horticultural use
includes land used primarily and directly to raise animals or products derived from animals or to grow food for human
or animal consumption, tobacco, plants, shrubs or forest products to sell in the regular course of business. For the land to
be consideredactively devoted to a farm use, it must have been farmed for the two fiscal years prior to the year of
classification and must have produced a certain amount of sales, or have been used in a manner intended to produce that
minimum amount of sales within a certain period of time. An equal amount of contiguous non-productive land may also
qualify for classification. I understand that buildings and other structures located on the property, as well as the land on
which a residence is located or regularly used for residential purposes, do not qualify for classification and will continue
to be assessed a regular local property tax.
APPLICATIONS. I understand that for property to be classified as agricultural or horticultural land under Chapter 61A, I
must submit a written application to the board of assessors of the city or town in which the land is located by October 1 of
the year before the start of the fiscal year for which taxation as classified land is sought, unless the city or town is
undergoing a revaluation for that fiscal year. (The fiscal year of cities and towns begins July 1 and ends the following June 30.)
In that case, the application deadline is extended until 30 days after the date the actual tax bills for that year are mailed.
The assessors must approve or disapprove my application for classification within 3 months of the date I filed it and, if
they do not act within that time, the application will be considered approved. The assessors must notify me by certified
mail whether my application has been approved or disapproved within 10 days of their decision. I understand that
classification and taxation of the land as agricultural or horticultural land under Chapter 61A will begin the following
July 1, which is the start of the next
fiscal year.
I also understand that I will have to file a separate application by October 1 (or the extended deadline if applicable) each
year for classification of the land to continue into the next fiscal year. I further understand that the land cannot be
classified as agricultural or horticultural land for a fiscal year if I do not comply with all application deadlines and
LIEN. I understand that once my application for classification has been approved, the board of assessors will record a
statement at the Registry of Deeds indicating that the land has been classified as agricultural or horticultural land under
Chapter 61A. That statement will constitute a lien on the land for all taxes due under Chapter 61A. I understand that I
must pay all fees charged by the Registry for recording or releasing the lien.
ANNUAL TAXATION. I understand that I must pay an annual property tax to the city or town in which the classified
land is located. The tax will be assessed on the use value of the land for agricultural or horticultural purposes, rather
than fair market value based on the land’s highest and best use as would be the case if the land were not classified. In
determining the valuation of my land, the board of assessors will consider the range of agricultural land use values
established by the Farmland Valuation Advisory Commission together with their knowledge, judgment and experience
regarding farm land values. The commercial property tax rate for the fiscal year will be applied to that value, unless the
city or town has accepted a local option to apply the open space property tax rate. The tax will be due in the same
number of installments and at the same time as other local property tax payments are due in the city or town. Interest
will be charged on any overdue taxes at the same rate applicable to overdue local property taxes.
MUNICIPAL OPTION TO PURCHASE. I understand that the city or town has an option to purchase any classified land
whenever I plan to sell it for, or convert it to, a residential, commercial or industrial use
during a fiscal year it is classified, or
within 1 full fiscal year after it is removed from classification. I must notify by certified mail or hand delivery, the mayor
and city council or the selectmen, assessors, planning board and conservation commission of the city or town of my
intention to sell or convert the land to those uses and provide certain information regarding the intended sale or
conversion. If I plan to sell the land, the city or town has the right to match a bona fide offer to purchase it. If I plan to
convert it, the city or town has the right to purchase it at its fair market value, which is to be determined by an impartial
appraisal. The city or town may also assign its option to a non-profit, conservation organization, the Commonwealth or
any of its political subdivisions. I understand that I may not sell or convert the land until at least 120 days after I provide
a notice that fully complies with the requirements of Chapter 61A or until I have been notified in writing that the option
will not be exercised and the notice is recorded at the Registry of Deeds, whichever is earlier.
This option is not available to the city or town and the notice requirement does not apply if the agricultural or
horticultural use is simply discontinued, or I plan to build a residence for my use, or the use of my spouse or my parents,
grandparents, child, grandchild, brother or sister, the surviving spouse of any of those relatives, or an employee working
full time in the agricultural or horticultural use of the land.
PENALTY TAX. I understand that I must pay one of two alternative penalty taxes whenever any of the land is no longer
used for, or maintained in, a use or condition that would qualify the land for classification as agricultural or horticultural
land under Chapter 61A, forest land under Chapter 61 or recreational land under Chapter 61B. Payment of a penalty tax
applies in that case whether or not the land is subject to the purchase option and notice requirement. I must pay a roll-
back tax for a 5 year period if the use of the land changes to a non-qualifying use or condition. If the change in use or
condition occurs when the land is classified, the tax will be imposed for the current fiscal year and the 4 prior years. If
the land is not classified at that time, the tax will be imposed for the 5 prior years. In either case, the tax will be the
difference between the amount I would have paid in annual property taxes on the land if it had been taxed at its fair
market value and the amount of the taxes I paid on the land under Chapter 61A during the same time. The roll-back tax
also includes interest at the rate of 5% per year on each years tax savings. A roll-back tax on any of my land in
classification on July 1, 2006 (fiscal year 2007) will not include interest so long as the land continues to be owned by me,
my spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister or surviving spouse of any of those deceased relatives.
However, I must pay the alternative conveyance tax instead if the land is sold for or converted to a non-qualifying use
within 10 years of the date I acquired it, or the earliest date of its uninterrupted agricultural or horticultural use by me,
whichever is earlier, and the conveyance tax is greater than the roll-back tax that would be due. The conveyance tax will
be equal to the conveyance tax rate applied to the sales price of the land, or if converted, to the fair market value of the
land as determined by the assessors. The conveyance tax rate will be 10% if the land is sold or converted within the first
year of ownership, 9% if sold or converted within the second year, and so on with the rate declining each year by one
percentage point until it is 1% in the 10th year of ownership. After this 10 year period has expired, I will not be liable for
any conveyance taxes, but will remain liable for roll-back taxes if there is a change to a non-qualifying use or condition of
the land.
APPEALS AND ABATEMENTS. I understand that I may contest decisions made by the board of assessors to disapprove
all or part of my application for classification by applying for a modification of the decision. I may also contest my
annual property tax or any penalty tax assessed under Chapter 61A by applying for an abatement. Applications to
modify a decision or abate a tax must be made in writing and must be filed with the assessors within 30 days of the date I
am notified of the decision or tax. If I disagree with the assessors’ decision, or the assessors do not act on my application,
I may appeal to the Appellate Tax Board within 30 days of the date I am notified of the assessors’ decision, or 3 months
from the date my abatement application was filed, whichever is later. If the appeal concerns my annual property tax, I
must have paid it to maintain the appeal. I further understand that the assessors cannot modify any decision or grant any
abatement if I do not comply with all application deadlines and procedures.
I certify that I have examined this general statement of the requirements and obligations of Chapter 61A and
acknowledge that it is my responsibility as an applicant for classification to fully understand and satisfy all requirements
of Chapter 61A. I also certify that I will notify the board of assessors immediately in writing of any circumstances
developing after this date that may cause a change in the use of the property from that described in my application for
Owner(s) Date
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