Legislation that clarifies property taxation of recreatiional vehicles awaits Hassan's signature

CONCORD — Legislation that clarifies the taxation of recreational vehicles kept on campgrounds throughout the year is on its way to the Governor Maggie Hassan's desk after the Senate and House reached agreement last week.

Senate Bill 333, sponsored by Senator Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith), which originally would have exempted all recreational vehicles sited on campgrounds from property taxation, carried the Senate 24 to 0. However, officials from Laconia were quick to inform lawmakers that the city would lose about $10 million in assessed property valuation and more than $200,000 in property tax revenue.

The bill was amended by the House Municipal and County Government Committee to safeguard the city's tax base. As amended by the committee and passed by the House the bill exempts only those recreational vehicles with a maximum width of eight-feet, six-inches, registered as motor vehicles, bearing a current number plate and located at a campground from property taxation. In other words, so-called "park models," wider than eight-feet, six-inches that cannot be transported without a special permit, and unregistered recreational vehicles less than eight-feet, six inches in width, would be taxed as real estate.

Before April 1 each year campground owners would be required to provide municipal assessors with the name and address of the owners of recreational vehicles at their campgrounds and to identify those exempt from property taxation. Campground owners would not be responsible for the payment of any taxes imposed on recreational vehicles at their facilities.

City Manager Scott Myers said that the amendment mirrors the practice the city has followed since 1999 when the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that trailers meeting certain criteria should be taxed as real estate. He said that the amendment addresses the major issues of concern to both the city and campground owners.

Forrester recommended that the Senate concur with the House version of the bill, which it did.