State Tax Form CL-1(61)
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Revised 6/2015
Name of City or Town
Property Owner’s Acknowledgement of Rights and Obligations
under Classified Forest Land Program
This form must be submitted as part of your application for classification
QUALIFICATIONS. I understand that property must consist of at least 10 contiguous acres of land under the same
ownership, be devoted to the growth of forest products and be managed under a 10 year management plan approved
and certified by the State Forester in order to qualify for and retain classification as forest land under Massachusetts
General Laws Chapter 61. 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 forest land under Chapter 61, I must submit a written
application to the State Forester before July 1 of the year before
the start of the fiscal year for which taxation as classified
land is sought. (The fiscal year of cities and towns begins July 1 and ends the following June 30.) The application must be made
in accordance with all rules and regulations established by the State Forester. The State Forester will certify whether the
property qualifies as forest land and is being managed under an approved 10 year forest management plan. I must then
submit by October 1 of the same year
a written application for classification to the board of assessors of the city or
town in which the property is located. The application must include the State Forester’s certification and a copy of the
approved forest management plan. I understand that classification of the land as forest land will be effective as of
January 1, and taxation of the property under Chapter 61 will begin the following
July 1, which is the start of the next
fiscal year. The parcel will remain classified as forest land provided I file with the assessors a new certification by the
State Forester and an approved forest management plan every 10 years, and the land otherwise continues to qualify
under Chapter 61. I further understand that the property cannot be classified as forest land if I do not comply with all
application deadlines and procedures.
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 forest land under Chapter 61. That
statement will constitute a lien on the land for all taxes due under Chapter 61. I understand that I must pay all fees
charged by the Registry for recording or releasing the lien.
APPEALS. I understand that if the board of assessors concludes that any land included in my application for
classification, or any land already classified under Chapter 61, is not being managed under the approved management
plan, is being used in a manner incompatible with forest production, or does not otherwise qualify for classification, it
may file an appeal with the State Forester by December 1. Appeals must be made in writing and sent by certified mail to
the State Forester, with a copy to me sent by certified mail. The State Forester must notify the assessors and me of his
decision by March 1 of the following year. The assessors and I may appeal that decision by notifying the State Forester by
April 15. The appeal will be heard by a three person regional panel convened by the State Forester by May 15. The
assessors and I will be notified of the decision within 10 days after the conclusion of the hearing. The panel’s decision
may be appealed to the Superior Court or the Appellate Tax Board. This appeal must be filed within 45 days of receiving
notice of the panel’s decision. In addition, the State Forester may remove the land from classification if he believes it is
not being managed according to the approved management plan or does not otherwise qualify for classification.
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 forestry 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 forest land use values established by the Farmland Valuation
Advisory Commission together with their knowledge, judgment and experience regarding forest 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, and the
State Forester 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 61 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 forest land certification 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
forest 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 forest land under Chapter
61, agricultural or horticultural land under Chapter 61A, 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 61 during the same time. The roll-back tax
also includes interest at the rate of 5% per year on each year’s tax savings.
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 forest 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. In addition, for any land in classification before the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2008, I will pay a roll-back tax,
not a conveyance tax, upon any change in use.
ABATEMENTS. I understand that I may contest my annual property tax or any penalty tax assessed under Chapter 61
by applying for an abatement. Applications for abatement must be made in writing and must be filed with the assessors
thin 30 days of the date I am notified of the 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 grant
any abatement if I do not comply with all application deadlines and procedures.
I certify t
hat I have examined this general statement of the requirements and obligations of Chapter 61 and acknowledge
that it is my responsibility as an applicant for classification to fully understand and satisfy all requirements of Chapter 61.
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 classification.
Owner(s) Date