Maritime Heritage Land Classification Program Description

Section 12-120f of the Connecticut General Statutes allows for the classification of certain waterfront land as maritime heritage land. When a town’s assessor approves the classification, the value of the land, for property tax purposes, is an assessment based on its use value, rather than its fair market value.

"Maritime heritage land" means “that portion of waterfront real property owned by a licensed shellstock shipper, aquaculture operator or commercial lobster fisherman licensed pursuant to title 26, when such portion of such property is used by such shellstock shipper, aquaculture operator or fisherman for shellfishing, aquaculture or commercial lobstering purposes”.

In the calendar year prior to submitting an application for maritime heritage land classification, an applicant must derive at least 50% of their federal adjusted gross income from maritime uses.   

The Office of Policy and Management prescribes the application that an eligible taxpayer must file with the assessor of the town where the land is located.   The filing period is between September 1 and October 31, except in an assessment year in which a revaluation of all real property is effective in a town, in which case the end of the filing period is December 30.  A person who fails to file this application in the proper manner and form during the filing period waives the right to claim maritime heritage land classification as of the October 1 assessment date in that year.

At the time of submitting an application for maritime heritage land classification to an assessor, an applicant must provide the assessor with the following: (1) a copy of the license that the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection issued that allows the applicant to engage in maritime uses, (2) a copy of the applicant’s federal income tax return for the prior calendar year, (3) proof of income, and (4) a map of the land on which the area used for maritime uses is shown.

Assessors determine what constitutes satisfactory proof of income and taxpayers should contact the assessor of the town in which the waterfront property is located to ascertain the type of proof they require.                 

Each assessor is responsible for determining the eligibility of land for maritime heritage land classification and its use value. Land beneath a building, structure, or other real property improvement that an eligible taxpayer uses solely for maritime uses is eligible for classification.  Land beneath any other building, structure or improvement is ineligible.  If the taxpayer owns or uses only a portion of waterfront land, classification is available only for that portion that is eligible for this land classification.

A taxpayer aggrieved by an assessor’s determination regarding an application for maritime heritage land classification has the right to request a hearing before the town’s Board of Assessment Appeals.

Under Connecticut state law, the payment of a tax in addition to the real estate conveyance tax may be applicable if there is a sale or transfer of title to classified maritime heritage land within ten years from the date the assessor approves the classification.  It is noted that certain property transfers do not trigger an additional conveyance tax – see the application form for more information on these exceptions. This additional tax is also applicable if the use of the land changes to other than maritime heritage land, within ten years of the date of a taxpayer’s acquisition of title to property for which an assessor approves the classification.

Maritime land classification ceases at the time of a property sale, transfer of property title or change in property use, even if the additional tax is not applicable.  A taxpayer must file a revised classification application if any of these situations occur. 

Maritime Heritage Land Application 

Contact:   860.418.6342