The town of Exeter, N.H., is preparing to tax travel trailers.

Town Assessor John DeVittori told the Board of Selectmen at its Nov. 19 meeting that the tax will go into effect April 1, 2013, and assessors will be doing a full inventory of the town’s two campgrounds this spring, seacoastonline.com reported.

The Exeter Elms Campground and Green Gate Campground are both located off Court Street. It was previously estimated that each site has 12 to 20 permanent trailers.

A state Supreme Court ruling from several years ago calls for the valuing and taxing of such trailers if they are determined to be permanent structures. While taxing such structures is law, not all communities do it. However, the state Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) is prepared to start enforcing the law, according to DeVittori.

“It’s important that all assessors get on the bandwagon,” he said. “Some communities are taxing and some are not, but now, through the DRA and their new director, we’ve being asked to really do a comprehensive tax on these travel trailers.”

Under the Supreme Court ruling, there are four factors that make a travel trailer taxable:

  • Whether the trailer is intended to be more or less permanent.
  • Whether the trailer is more or less completely enclosed.
  • Whether the trailer is used as a dwelling, storehouse or shelter.
  • Whether the trailer is intended to remain stationary.

DeVittori said he will be asking campground owners to provide the town with a comprehensive list of site occupancy as of April 1, 2013, and each travel trailer will be assessed by size, age and condition.

The taxing of these travel trailers is not expected to be a significant revenue source for the town. For example, DeVittori said, based on a standard 2010 model of a travel trailer, 8 feet wide by 23 feet long, the average value of a camper would be around $9,000. Using that calculated value and the local tax rate, it would equate to $235 in taxes per camper, he said.

All the tax bills would have to be sent to the campground owners, because some campers are unregistered and it’s unknown where the owners reside, according to DeVittori.