Average Property Taxes in New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s effective tax rate is 2.15%, which is third highest in the country. In general, property taxes are assessed based on the value of the property on April 1, and the tax bill is due in December. If you build property on May 1, it is not assessed until the following year.

In 2014, Cheshire, Strafford and Merrimack County had the highest property tax rates, including exemptions. Like surrounding states, New Hampshire does have certain statewide exemptions available for elderly, blind and disabled citizens. Qualifying veterans received a $50 basic credit and $700 for the surviving spouse. Towns are allowed to increase the amounts by $50 and $700, respectively. Hillsborough has the highest net tax commitment, with $12.9 million exemptions for the blind, $37.3 million exemptions for elderly and $82.3 million for other exemptions made at the local level. Gross property taxes for the state were $3.4 billion.

New Hampshire is known for its strong citizen legislature. In fact, New Hampshire has the second-largest legislature in the United States. It may, therefore, come as a surprise that New Hampshire boasts one of the highest effective property tax rates in the country. 

Administration: One Process, Many Rates

There are many ways that states can determine and calculate property taxes. Some states, including Wyoming, offer a standard rate across the state. Others, such as New Hampshire, provide a general calculation process and leave it to the county. In New Hampshire, each county determines its own property tax requirements and rate. The Municipal and Property Division maintains the fairness of each county assessment and collection process. The division is comprised of the Municipal Bureau and the Property Assessment Unit. The Municipal Bureau provides assistance on taxation to approximately 500 political subdivisions. The Property Assessment Unit oversees the assessment review process. The administration of the assessment occurs at the city and town level.

New Hampshire Property Taxes Compared to Surrounding States

In general, New England states have higher property tax rates than the rest of the country. In 2016, Maine was ranked 17th, with an effective tax rate of 1.28%. Vermont was ranked ninth, with an effective tax rate of 1.71%. Massachusetts was ranked 18th, with an effective tax rate of 1.21%. Due to the way New Hampshire calculates taxes, it is hard to determine if the high effective property tax rate is due to poor tax policies or a shortfall in revenue from the business sector.

The amount of money that needs to be raised by taxes determines the tax rate in New Hampshire. This amount is divided by the local assessed property value to arrive at the rate. In other words, the calculation process backs into the tax rate. For example, if the annual town meeting establishes that it needs $700,000, then this amount is divided by the value of the assessed property. If the assessed property value is $25 million, then the tax rate is $28. The rate is expressed per $1,000 of valuation. Each property tax bill shows the assessed value of property and the tax rate. In 2014, property taxes accounted for the largest percentage of tax revenue for the state at $363.6 million out of $1.9 billion; business taxes accounted for the second-largest percentage of tax revenue at $330 million.

The New Hampshire Premium

Most property taxes in New Hampshire are collected based on the value of the property at its highest market value, not current use, which may explain the premium in New Hampshire. Actual or current use assessments are available for farmland, forest land and unproductive land. However, the landowner typically needs to have at least 10 acres of land. Taxes on timberland are assessed at a rate of 10% of the value of the standing timber on the property. Property taxes on the value of gravel or other material extracted and mined are assessed at a rate of two cents per cubic yard of earth.

Rhode Island Property Tax Guide

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