In Massachusetts, land used by a charitable organization qualifies for a tax exemption under state law. But a recent case in the town of Hawley, now going before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, could have wide implications.
It would seem self-evident that a key goal of conservation is to protect land from the effects of too much human interference. Certainly that was Teddy Roosevelt’s vision a century ago when one the country’s best-known hunters became its most ardent conservationist.
The Massachusetts Court of Appeals this week overturned a decision
by the state Appellate Tax Board and ruled that the Martha's
Vineyard Land Bank is exempt from all taxation, upholding the power
vested in the conservation agency by its enabling legislation.
The case is an appeal of a decision first made by the West Tisbury
board of assessors that ordered the land bank to pay about $700 in taxes
on property bought in fiscal year 2002.
Assessors in Edgartown Flooded with Requests for Property Tax Relief
By IAN FEIN
A property tax revolt is quietly brewing on Chappaquiddick, where a
large group of landowners have banded together and hired an attorney to
challenge their latest property assessments.
Prior to the deadline last Friday, the attorney delivered more than
100 abatement applications to the Edgartown assessors' office.
Many other Chappaquiddick property owners, who did not join the group,
also filed individual abatement requests.
Expert Appraiser for Town Discloses Internal Revenue Service
Investigation of Herring Creek Farm Transaction
By IAN FEIN
BOSTON - The expert appraiser hired by West Tisbury assessors
revealed during cross-examination this week that the federal Internal
Revenue Service is investigating the 2001 Herring Creek Farm real estate
transaction in Edgartown and an ensuing charitable tax deduction that
was based largely on his appraisal of the property.
The town of West Tisbury, a breeding ground for property tax rancor in recent years, had a record high $289,000 in tax abatements in 2008 based on approximately $68 million in total adjusted property values.
While town officials say the high number of abatements can be tracked directly to the current triennial real estate revaluation and a spike in waterfront property values, some residents insist that they signal a continued level of discontent with the current assessment system and the company hired to help conduct the revaluations.