An abatement is a reduction of the assessed value. A taxpayer may apply for an abatement each year between the mailing of the third quarter tax bill and the due date, usually February 1st. Abatement applications cannot be accepted at any other time or for any previous years. For this reason, all taxpayers should review their assessed value each year during the months of December and January.
Common Reasons for Abatements
- Overvaluation: The assessed value is greater than fair market value.
- Disproportionate Assessment: The assessed value of a class of property is assessed at a different percentage than the entire town or a single property is assessed differently than like properties.
Disproportionate assessments are extremely rare since all assessments are based on computer models.
- Improper Classification Example: A residential building site is assessed as commercial.
- Exemption: The property meets the requirements to be exempt based on use.
Procedures for Abatement
Abatement applications must be received at the Assessor's Office no later than 3:00 pm on February 1st. Applications that are mailed must contain a US Post Office postmark on or before February 1st. Massachusetts statutes prevent assessors from granting an abatement unless the application is filed timely.
The board may ask for additional information from the taxpayer, or may ask to inspect the property.
This information will allow the board to determine the fair market value of the property. You must
provide all the information requested and allow the inspection within 30 days. Failure to provide the
information or allow the inspection could cause your application to be denied and will bar any appeal.
The assessors have three months to act on your application. If the board fails to act, or chooses not to act, your application is deemed denied by law. The assessors will send a notice after acting on your application. The notice will be either a denial notice or an abatement certificate. If an abatement is granted, your account is credited. Please refer to the abatement certificate for specific amounts and credits. If your abatement is denied, you will receive a denial notice.
Procedures for Personal Exemptions
Applications for personal exemptions must be filed annually with the Assessor's Office between February 1st of the fiscal year and no later than 90 days after the mailing of the actual bill in December. In order to qualify for the personal exemptions, the taxpayer must have owned and occupied the property before July 1st of the fiscal year. If the taxpayer is applying for a personal disability exemption, the disability must exist as of July 1st of the given fiscal year applying for the exemption.