The assessment on your property is supposed to be an estimate of its “fair-market value”. In Vermont, municipalities conduct periodic reappraisals to estimate the fair market value of properties. The Internal Revenue Service defines fair market value as “… the price that property would sell for on the open market. It is the price that would be agreed on between a willing buyer and a willing seller, with neither being required to act, and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.” If the municipality has just completed a reappraisal, the assessment should be an estimate of the price a property would most probably sell for under current real estate market conditions. If the municipality reappraised in some prior year, the assessment should reflect the fair market value relative to the real estate market in that year.
The State of Vermont has produced 2 publications (both recently updated) that can help a taxpayer evaluate their assessment and better understand whether it is fair and equitable. Links to these 2 free publications appear below. Printed copies may also be ordered from the Vermont Secretary of State or picked up at the Colchester Town Offices.