Current Use

NH RSA 79-Awas enacted on July 1, 1973.  The purpose of this law as to implement a tax strategy to enable landowners to keep their open space lands undeveloped.  Under Current Use, the land is assessed at its present use rather than its highest potential use.  In addition, the Current Use Board (CUB) Administrative Rules further define the law under RSA 79-A.  

Current Use Qualifications:
Any parcel that meets one or more of the following can be placed into Current Use:

  1. 10 acres or more undeveloped, contiguous farm, forest or unproductive land, or any combination of these three types; 
  2. Wetlands of any size.  The land must meet the definition of wetlands as established by the Current Use Board;
  3. A certified tree farm;
  4. Farm land of any size that produces $2500 or more annual agricultural product.  An annual accounting of products is required under this category.
  5. If more than one parcel/lot is being used to meet the 10 acre requirement, ownership of all parcels must be identical.

Applying for Current Use:
Applications must be submitted by April 15th for the year which you are applying.
In order to apply for Current Use, you must provide the following documents/information:

  1. Form A-10 (Application for Current Use) 
  2. The recording fee, in accordance with CUB 302.02.  The fee will be refunded if the application is withdrawn or denied.  This fee covers the recording of the application with the Grafton County Registry of Deeds.  Contact the Selectmen’s Office for the current recording fee.
  3. A map of each parcel going into Current Use.   Town Tax Map copies  may be used for this requirement.  The map must shows the areas/types of land to be placed into Current Use and the correct boundaries and acreage that will not be included in current use.  CLICK HERE  for an example of what is required for the map.
  4. Current Use Assessment Matrix Form
  5. If applicable, CU-12 Summary of Forestry Stewardship Plan for Current Use Assessment. This form is NOT required if either of the following is provided to the Selectmen:  a) a letter from the NH Tree Farm Committee confirming Certified Tree Farm status; OR b) a Forest Stewardship plan signed by a licensed forester.

The Town will notify the landowner by July 1st if the application has been approved or denied.  The landowner can withdraw the application within the same tax year if the application has not yet been recorded in the registry of deeds.  Approved applications will be submitted to the Grafton County Registry of Deeds by August 1st.  

Removing Land from Current Use
Once land has been approved for Current Use and the application is recorded, the property cannot be removed from Current Use until a specific event occurs to disqualify the property.  
Examples of reasons why land may no longer qualify for Current Use:

  • Placing a building on Current Use land.  In this case, the area being disturbed would be removed from Current Use, and if enough undeveloped land remains to meet the requirements, that land will remain in the Current Use Program.
  • No longer having 10 or more contiguous acres under the same ownership.

If a parcel of land no longer qualified for Current Use, the Land Use Change Tax is determined by the Assessor.  In accordance with RSA 79-A, this tax is 10% of the fair market value of the land at its highest and best use and is issued within 18 months of the disqualifying event, with certain exceptions as per CUB 307.   The Land Use Change Tax is a tax on the change of the land and not a tax on the land itself (RSA 79-A:7,I).

Additional Information:
Overview of Current Use Assessment 79-A (UNH Cooperative Extension)
Current Use Board Administrative Rules
Forest Stewardship and Current Use: A Primer (UNH Cooperative Extension)
NH Department of Revenue Administration: Current Use Information