Listers are public officials, elected for three-year terms, who are responsible for the valuation of real property (real estate) in the town.
Contact the Listers:
- Mail: 567 Governor Hunt Rd., Vernon, VT 05354
- Phone: (802) 257-0292 ext. 18
- Fax: 802-258-4685
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Click here for the current Board of Listers.
Responsibilities of the Lister Board
The Listers are responsible for the preparation and overall maintenance of the Grand List, a comprehensive list of every property in Vernon, ensuring that it is as accurate and equitable as possible.
The Listing (valuation) year runs from April 1st to March 31st of the following year. Thus for any given year, the owner and condition of the property is effective as of April 1st. The Listers are responsible for appraising all real property in Vernon in compliance with applicable Vermont State statutes. The duties also include updating changes resulting from address changes, work with tax maps, and maintaining the State’s Current Use program. The Listers periodically inspect properties in order to keep data current. Typically, the Listers perform exterior inspections of new and existing structures. Whenever possible an interior inspection is done. Without an interior inspection, errors in reporting can occur, which may not be in favor the taxpayer. Please note any changes made as a result of an inspection represent data corrections only, not market adjustments.
It is important to understand that one or two low or high sales are not enough to justify changes to an entire property class or neighborhood. Assessments typically are based on “median” values for any group of properties, or that value which falls in the middle, over a three year period. This lessens the influence of extreme high and low sale prices. There must be a clear trend In order to make adjustments up or down.
Education Property Tax
In 1997 Vermont’s Supreme Court ruled that education is the state’s responsibility. It said the state has a responsibility under the Constitution to provide “substantially equal access” to a quality basic education to all Vermont students, regardless of where in Vermont they may live. This led to the passage of Vermont’s Equal Education Opportunity Act providing for a statewide education property tax. This act now includes a property tax adjustment provision relating to primary residents.
Common Level of Appraisal/Equalized Education Property Value
The Common Level of Appraisal has become a very important component since the passage of education funding Acts 60/68 in calculating and equalizing education taxes statewide. The purpose: to ensure that properties of equal value pay equal taxes. There are over 250 taxing jurisdictions in the state, so there is some divergence in the assessment levels of the various jurisdictions. Property Valuation and Review (PV&R), a division of the Vermont Department of Taxes, performs equalization studies to eliminate the divergence prior to determining education tax rates.
PV&R takes the following steps to estimate a town’s equalized value:
- Collects sales data for a three year period – for example 2015 will be based on sales 4/1/2011 to 3/31/2014
- Eliminates sales that do not represent market value
- Stratifies the remaining sales by Grand List categories
- Calculates listed-value-to-sales price ratios for all market sales
- Determines equalization ratios that represent reliable estimates of the divergence from 100% of fair market value, applies the resulting ratios to the Grand List value for appropriate categories and sums the resulting values
The total, with adjustments for local agreements and current use appraisal, is the equalized education property value for the town. The Common Level of Appraisal for 2015 is 111.07% for the town of Vernon. When our Common Level of Appraisal drops to below 80% we are ordered by the State to reappraise. More information about PV&R can be found at the state Department of Taxes website here. Vernon’s Homestead Tax Rate calculation can be downloaded (PDF) here.
Appeals and Grievances
Vernon property owners have the right to appeal or “grieve” their property assessments. Property tax assessments are appealed in the form of grievance hearings held with the Board of Listers. If a property owner disputes the appraised value, they may grieve. A taxpayer participating in the grievance process should gather information on comparable properties as well as check their property card for any inaccurate information.
Property owners are responsible for contacting the Listers Office. A letter of notification of a grievance must be submitted by a certain date in order to be considered. A grievance form is available by clicking here:
FORM TO BE POSTED SOON
All persons who have sent in a letter or the grievance form will be notified of the dates of the hearing. (Generally hearings are held mid-June). Two weeks following the conclusion of hearings, a Result of Grievance notice will be mailed. This notice will contain information regarding the outcome of your appeal, and the procedure for appealing the Lister’s decision to the Board of Civil Authority. Appeals beyond the local level go to either the Vermont Supreme Court or the Director of Property Valuation and Review to request a hearing with a State Appraiser.
Property Card (Listers’) Information
Information on each property is available from the Listers’ office or on the public computer in the Town Clerk’s office.
A reminder to taxpayers:
Every taxpayer who resides in Vermont and claims a homestead is required to file their Homestead Declaration every year, on or before April 15.
- To file online go to: www.state.vt.us/tax/ . Click on E-Services and you can bring up the two forms: HI 144 Household Income and HS 122 Homestead Declaration
- To print the forms go to: www.state.vt.us/tax/ Click on Forms, click on Vt Property tax forms, click on HI 144 Household Income Click on HS 122 Homestead Declaration
The Lister position is unique to the state of Vermont, and it was established before Vermont became a state. The name originated in Vermont’s early days because tax assessors were charged with the duty of “listing” all real and personal property owned by each landowner. In 1778 “An Act Directing Listers in their Office and Duty” called for citizens to give in writing “a true account of all their listable polls and their ratable estate”. This list was to be thoroughly examined and validated by the Listers. Since items were assigned listed values by category and not by market value, Listers were appropriately named.
In 1819 reappraisals were required every three years.
A separate assessment of a dwelling and two acres began in the early 1800s—the forerunner of our “housesite.”
The grand list was very complex in the early 1800s with each category carrying a different percentage until 1841 when all categories were listed at 1%.
Since a person’s wealth was determined by what he owned, all property owned outside a township was also included in the listing of the township.
If a town didn’t submit a grand list to the state at the appropriate time, the state could “doom” the town and then assess it for any amount they chose.
In 1801 all persons were commanded to tell the Listers the total number of sheep shorn each year.
Because the state didn’t know how to tax intangible assets, the Listers had unlimited power to assess at what they believed to be the actual value. The state gave this power to the Listers to correct deficiencies in the listing laws.
After 1825, appraisals were every five years.
In 1872, appraisals were required every four years.
Stock held in banks by taxpayers was reported to the Listers by the bank cashiers. If not reported, the cashier was fined.
For over two hundred years, there have been many patches and band aids applied to listing laws due to general dissatisfaction. Some things never change.