The Role of Assessors in Municipal Finance
In Massachusetts, assessors are either appointed or elected to three-year terms. The assessors’ primary responsibility is to value all real estate and personal property that are subject to taxation. Assessed valuations are based on “full and fair cash value” as of the January 1st preceding each fiscal year.
In order to maintain assessments at or near market value, the assessors regularly compare property valuations with the selling prices of properties that have sold. Assessment-to-sale ratio statistics are analyzed to determine the medial assessment level, as well as, assessment uniformity.
No valuation methodology can accurately predict what a property will sell for. A secondary, and perhaps more important role of the Board of Assessors is to generate equitable assessments. To that end, we continually strive to maintain an accurate property database and refine valuation tables and formulas that yield both equitable and explainable assessments.
All taxpayers have the right to file for an abatement of their taxes if they believe that their property has not been fairly valued. Information regarding applications and deadlines to file for abatements is printed on tax bills, or can be obtained by calling the Assessors’ Office. Applicants should present compelling evidence to support a claim of overvaluation.
Applications for abatements must be filed with Assessor’s Office no later than the due date of the 3rd Quarter (first actual) tax payment for the fiscal year.
An exemption releases an individual from the requirement to pay all or a part of their property tax obligation. Exemptions are available to those that meet the various requirements in the following categories:
- Minor children of police/firefighters killed in the line of duty.
- Disabled Veteran
- Widows or Widowers
- Orphaned Minor Children.
The qualifications for exemptions or deferral of property tax can be found on our Exemptions & Deferral page or by calling the Assessors’ Office.
Applications for personal exemptions are due on December 15th, or within thirty days of the mailing date of the 3rd quarter bill.
If you are not satisfied with the action taken by the Board of Assessors’ Office regarding your request for abatement and/or exemption, you have the right to appeal to the State Appellate Tax Board, 100 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02204.