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Act 68

Certification timeline
January VHFA mails a reminder to project owners and managers
February 28 Applications for new certifications due back to VHFA
March VHFA mails new certifications to applicants
April 1 All certification copies must be presented to town and city offices

Becoming "certified"

Owners of expired certification forms or newly eligible properties must apply to VHFA by February 28th. The application is available during open-certification, which is during the first quarter of each calendar year. VHFA works with the Vermont Department of Taxes and certifies all qualified subsidized housing properties, ensuring that they are eligible under 32 V.S.A. § 5404a(a)(6).

Owners or managers must bring a copy of the certification form to the town clerk's office annually by April 1st so the property's tax bill can be re-calculated. These forms must be submitted to the town where the property is located.

Important reminder for applicants: The certification form for existing properties has an expiration date. VHFA provides certifications to owners and managers only when the certification has expired. Therefore, owners and managers of properties certified for several years must retain the original certificate they received from VHFA and submit a copy to the town clerk's office annually.

Background

On June 18, 2003, the Vermont State Legislature approved Act 68 (formerly Act 60), which divided all Vermont properties into homestead (residential) and non-homestead (non-residential) properties. This division allows the state to tax non-homestead properties at a higher rate per $100 of assessed value, while it taxes homestead properties at a lower rate. These statutes apply to fiscal year 2005 and later.

Subsidized housing properties are categorized as non-homestead, and therefore may be charged the higher tax rate. Because affordable housing is important to Vermont, the law allows certain subsidized housing properties with rental restrictions to reduce their property tax assessment. The effective tax burden is then closer to those of properties with the homestead rate. A reduction of up to 10 percent of a parcel's grand list value may be possible depending on the ratio of subsidized units to total units on the land parcel.   

Eligible properties

Eligible properties must have active covenants from federal or state housing programs that restrict rents, subject to limited exclusions. These programs may include:

  • Community Development Block Grant
  • Federal Home Loan Bank's Affordable Housing Program
  • HOME Investment Partnership
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  • HUD's Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly
  • HUD's Section 811 Supportive Housing for the Disabled
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
  • McKinney/Vento Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation for Single Room Occupancy
  • McKinney/Vento Shelter Plus Care
  • McKinney/Vento Supportive Housing Program (if funding is for leasing, acquisition, rehabilitation, or new construction)
  • Public Housing
  • Rural Development's Section 515 loan guarantee (combined with rental assistance or Housing Credits)
  • Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation (combined with rental assistance or Housing Credits)
  • Section 8 New Construction/Substantial Rehabilitation
  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board loan
  • Vermont Housing Finance Agency bond-financed tax credits