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.