On April 14, the Senate Government Operations Committee took one major step forward in helping municipalities relieve certain negative property tax implications at the local level. That said, the measure has a long way to go and it will need to be reviewed by the both the Senate Finance Committee and approved by the Senate as whole before it is considered in the House.
The proposal – not yet in bill form – would be a temporary measure in response to the COVID-19 crisis and would authorize the legislative body of a municipality to:
- extend the deadline for payment of local property taxes;
- reduce or waive penalties, interested, and fees for the late payment of property taxes; and
- adjust the municipal tax rate for the calendar year 2020.
The committee’s intent is for this measure to be available for property tax payments that are due in this calendar year. Therefore, it would apply to those communities that have a final payment due for this fiscal year, and also be available for payments that may be scheduled for the remainder of 2020. Legislative bodies would also be authorized to set a tax rate lower than normally required under 17 V.S.A. § 2664.
Nothing in this proposal adjusts the deadlines and the requirement that municipalities pay to the state for the statewide education property tax. VLCT is engaged in ongoing discussions with other legislative committees that address those matters.