- To encourage landowners to keep their land in forests and fields providing critical public benefit, the Commonwealth passed Chapters 61, 61A and 61B in 1973. The programs provide a means to assess land at a portion of its fair market value in an effort to ease the ever growing tax pressure on landowners.
For a number of years, efforts have been undertaken to improve these programs. On December 22nd, Governor Romney signed the Chapter 61 amendment bill into law. This new law helps increase the protection of open space and the support of sustainable forestry and farming by simplifying and making the three Chapter 61 programs more consistent. It is hoped that these changes will encourage additional forest and farm land to be enrolled in these programs.
Although the legislation becomes effective on March 22nd, 2007, some of the changes to the programs will likely take longer to implement. There have been many questions as to how these changes will be implemented and what it will mean for landowners, assessors, communities and land trusts.
In an effort to provide information to these many questions, MassWoods has created a CH. 61 Frequently Asked Questions section. We will work with partners to find answers to your questions and then post the answers. It should be noted that not all questions will have definitive answers since it is unclear as to how some of the changes will be implemented.