Supreme Court Tests Whether Conservation Land Can be Taxed
Sara Brown
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.
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Conservation for Its Own Sake
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.
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Edgartown Selectmen Approve Tax Increase, Shellfish Licenses
Sara Brown
Edgartown’s tax rate will increase slightly in 2014, with the town selectmen this week approving a tax rate of $3.70 for every $1,000 worth of property.
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Tax Changes Boost Tisbury Revenues
Ivy Ashe

As the summer season comes to a close, revenue from two new taxes in Tisbury is helping to boost town finances.

Town administrator John (Jay) Grande presented summer totals from an occupancy tax increase and a new meals tax during the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday.

The occupancy tax increased from four to six per cent, leading to revenues of $95,309 for July and August. Last year during the same time period, revenues were $64,611.

The meals tax netted Tisbury $24,796, town treasurer Timothy McLean said in a phone conversation Wednesday.

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West Tisbury Assessors Lose Tax Challenge
Alexis Tonti

West Tisbury Assessors Lose Tax Challenge

By ALEXIS TONTI

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.

The ruling was issued Wednesday.

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Assessors in Edgartown Flooded with Requests for Property Tax Relief
Ian Fein

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.

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Property Tax Case Reveals IRS Probe
Ian Fein

Property Tax Case Reveals IRS Probe

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.

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Town Defends Tax Challenge
Ian Fein

Town Defends Tax Challenge

West Tisbury Assessors Dip Heavily Into Legal Spending Coffers; Methods to Determine Values Come Under Close Scrutiny

By IAN FEIN

A pending property tax appeal in West Tisbury has triggered mounting legal bills to defend the assessors' position in a complex case that challenges their methods for determining property values.

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Conservation Tax Law Has Few Takers on the Vineyard
Mike Seccombe

About 130 acres of land on the Vineyard was permanently protected from development under new conservation restrictions in 2007, according to state government figures.

The relatively disappointing result was in spite of generous tax incentives — which expired at year’s end — and in sharp contrast to figures for the state as a whole.

Statewide, 266 new conservation restrictions, covering a total area of 11,200 acres were signed off by the secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Ian Bowles.

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Pondfront Owners Shocked at Tax Bills
Jack Shea

A dozen stunned West Tisbury property owners crowded the normally quiet town assessors meeting this week to question their assessments and tax bills, which have more than doubled this year.

The residents were looking for both tax relief and an explanation of a property valuation system they said they neither understand nor trust.

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