An abatement is a lowering of the assessed value on real or personal property. The lower assessment results in a lower tax bill. Abatements may be issued for reasons of:
- Overvaluation - the assessed value is too high compared to the actual real estate market.
- Disproportionate Assessment - property is assessed in excess of assessments of comparable properties.
- Improper Classification - for instance, a property is classified as commercial land when it is actually residential land.
- Statutory Exemption - the property is exempt from taxation based on use.
Who May Apply
As a rule, an application may be filed by the person to whom the tax has been assessed, or by the person acquiring title after January 1. The abatement procedure is in force only after the Fiscal Year third quarter "actual" tax bill has been issued.
Application forms are available in the Assessing Department.
The application for abatement must be filed (received by the Assessor) after the actual tax bill is issued and no later than thirty (30) days after the date on which the Third Quarter tax bill was mailed, or by February 1 whichever is the later.
These Deadlines cannot be extended or waived by the Assessors for any reason. If your application is not timely filed, you lose all rights to an abatement and the Assessors cannot by law grant you one. To be timely filed, your application must be (1) received by the Assessors on or before the filing deadline or (2) mailed by United States Mail, first class postage prepaid, to the proper address of the Assessors on or before the filing deadline as shown by a postmark made by the United States Postal Service.
- Real and Personal Property Tax (Form 128)
- Blind Persons - Application for Statutory Exemption (Form 96-3)
- Seniors - Application for Statutory Exemption (Form 96-1)
- Surviving Spouse or Minor - Application for Statutory Exemption (Form 96-2)
- Veteran - Application for Statutory Exemption (Form 96-4)
- Low Income Persons - Low or Moderate Income Seniors - Application for Community Preservation Exemption (Form CP-4)
Payment of Tax
To avoid interest charges, the full tax due must be paid by the due date. Interest will be due if the payment is received late. If the total tax on real estate is over $3,000, the tax must be paid by the date due in order to maintain the right to appeal an abatement decision of the Assessing Department. Appeals are made to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board, an independent administrative board under the direction of the Commonwealth. Failure to pay in a timely manner jeopardizes your right to appeal.
Additional Information Request
The Assessing Department is authorized by law to request information that is necessary if we are to properly determine the fair cash value of the property. To preserve your right to appeal an abatement decision, you must provide all information requested by the Assessing Department. Failure to respond to an information request within thirty (30) days of the date of the request, will result in a denial of the application and may bar an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board.
Action by the Assessing Department
The Assessing Department has three months from the date of filing to process all abatement applications. You will be informed of the status of the application through the following notices:
- NOTICE OF APPROVAL: The Assessing Department will abate the amount specified in the notice. If the tax has been paid, the taxpayer will be reimbursed by the city.
- NOTICE OF DENIAL: No abatement will be granted. A denial will be issued in cases where the Assessing Department has made a decision based on the merits of the abatement application.
- NOTICE OF DEEMED DENIAL: An application is deemed denied if the department has not made a decision on an abatement application within three (3) months of its filing date.
- Appeal to the Appellate Tax Board
If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Assessing Department, you may file an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board. It is located at 399 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108-5292. The telephone number is 617-727-3100.