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The amount of taxes you pay is determined by the appropriations in the annual Town budget. The Town adopts a budget that reflects what services will be provided and the cost to provide those services. After the Town adopts a budget, the amount of taxes to be raised is calculated in accordance with Proposition 2-1/2 and divided by the total taxable valuation of the Town to determine the projected single tax rate. The Board of Assessors and the Board of Selectmen hold a public hearing called a Tax Classification Hearing to determine whether or not the Town wants to shift some of the residential tax burden onto commercial properties, commonly referred to as a split tax rate resulting in commercial properties paying a higher tax rate than residential properties. The decision to have a single tax rate or a split tax rate is made by the Board of Selectmen. All budget information is forwarded to the Department of Revenue for its review and approval. The tax rate is then finalized to raise the needed dollars to pay for Town services. The Fiscal Year 2021 tax rate is $11.32. The Town has never adopted a split tax rate.
The assessed value (or assessment) is the value of property to be used for local taxation as determined by the Assessors according to Massachusetts General Laws and by Regulations set by the Commissioner of Revenue
Assessors must value all real and personal property within their communities annually to achieve full and fair cash value assessments in accordance with the requirements of Massachusetts General Laws.
No, the purpose of a revaluation is to make all parcels in a community fair and equitable in relation to each other, based on current market trends. Whether taxes as a whole go up or down is based more on the Town's budget than on its assessments.
Since assessments must be set at market value, rising real estate values in the Town resulted in higher assessments. As property values change in the marketplace (sales), those changes must be reflected in the assessments. All properties, however, do not change in value to exactly the same degree. Many factors influence values. Among the numerous factors to be considered are location, condition, size, quality, number of baths, finished basement, garages, additions, and traffic.
If you believe that your property is over-assessed, not assessed fairly in comparison to other comparable properties, or that it is not classified correctly, you have the right to file for an abatement of taxes. Applications for abatement are available and must be filed with the Assessors' Office. In filing an abatement application you will want to be specific about why you disagree with your assessment. Is there some misinformation on your property record card? Did you find values of comparable properties lower than your property? Please provide us with all the necessary information to support your position on valuation.
Applications must be filed with the Board of Assessors not later than the due date of the first actual tax payment for the fiscal year. The first actual tax payment is the third quarter tax payment and is usually due on February 1st.
Filing an application does not stay the collection of your taxes. In some cases, you must pay the tax when due to appeal the assessors' disposition of your application. Failure to pay the tax assessed when due may also subject you to interest charges and to collection action. To avoid any loss of rights or additional charges, you should pay the tax as assessed. If an abatement is granted and you have already paid the entire year's tax as abated, you will receive a refund of any overpayment.
Upon applying for an abatement, you may be asked to provide the Assessors with written information about the property and to permit them to inspect it. Failure to provide the information or to permit an inspection within thirty (30) days of the request may result in the loss of your appeal rights. The Assessors have three (3) months from the date your application is filed to act on it unless you agree in writing before that period expires to extend it for a specific time. If the Assessors do not act on your application within the original (or extended) period, it is deemed denied. You will be notified in writing whether an abatement has been granted or denied.
Yes, your appeal may be made to the Appellate Tax Board in Boston. The appeal must be filed within three months of the date your application was denied by vote of the Assessors or within three months of the date your application was deemed denied, whichever is applicable. With certain exceptions, you must also pay at least one-half the tax on personal property and, if the real property tax for the fiscal year is more than $3,000, all of the tax on real property without incurring interest on any installment payment in order for the Appellate Tax Board to hear the appeal. The Assessors may grant an abatement in the final settlement of your application during the period for filing an appeal. However, if a settlement is not reached and an abatement is not granted during that period, you must file a timely appeal for the Assessors to be able to take any further action on your application. The Appellate Tax Court is operated like a court of law with a hearing officer and sworn testimony. Taxpayers (the appellants) must present a convincing case before the hearing officer with the support of their value conclusions. The mailing address and telephone number for the Appellate Tax Board is as follows:
Commonwealth of Massachusetts