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Forest Tax Program Chapter 61

Current use programs - Chapters 61 for forestlands, 61A for agriculture land and 61B for recreational land - give preferential tax treatment to landowners who maintain their property as open space for timber production, agriculture or recreation

Chapter 61 – The forestland program

If you have 10 or more contiguous acres of forest land and a commitment to improving the quality and quantity of timber on your land, you may qualify for Chapter 61 Tax Program. Wildlife, aesthetics, and recreation can also be incorporated into your property management goals with DCR’s Forest Stewardship Program . An approved forest management plan that describes your property resources, maps the area and makes recommendations on long term forest management will be required to participate.  Using your forest management objectives, the plan can be renewed every ten years to reflect changes to land conditions or to your overall goals for the property.  Here is a sample Chapter 61 Stewardship Plan.

Although forestland may be enrolled in any of the current use programs, Chapter 61 was created specifically for forestland.

What You Need to Know

Forestland may be enrolled in either the Chapter 61 or Chapter 61A programs.  Both programs are taxed at the same rate which are determined based on the current use of the property (i.e., the productive potential of your land for growing trees), not fair market or development value of the land.

Recommended current use values for forest land are set on an annual basis by the Farm Land Advisory Committee on or before February 1 of a given calendar year

Estimating the Value

For current Ch61/61A tax values see Forest Land Valuation for Landowners and Foresters  or  DOR per acre valuation below. 

Forestland may also be classified under Chapter 61B in a managed forest condition. Taxes for Chapter 61B are calculated using 25% of the current assessed value.

Use a: Chapter 61B Calculator or Chapter 61/61A Calculator to calculate an estimate tax bill.

Which Program is Right for You?

The Chapter 61, and related 61A and 61B, programs are designed to help you with the cost to maintain farms, natural areas, and working forests. If you and your family have a long-term approach to the management of your land, please contact Your Service Forester or download the Chapter 61 Programs booklet to determine which program is right for you.

Withdrawing from the Program

Chapter 61 was developed to support long term forestland management.  If you choose to withdraw from the program for a change to residential, industrial or commercial use, there will a penalty of payment for the difference between taxes paid and taxes deferred plus interest. The penalty is computed for the previous five years under certification. If you withdraw from a Chapter 61 and the use stays the same, no penalty applies.

The  notice of intent to sell or convert shall be mailed to the State Forester:  The Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, 251 Causeway Street, Boston, MA 02114.

Additional Resources for What You Need to Know

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