Certification & Abatement Process

Revaluation & Establishment of Assessment
The actual bills for fiscal 2016 will be mailed at the end of December 2015. The assessment date is January 1, 2015. State law requires that the assessed valuation established for a property should represent the fair market value as of that date. Fair market valuation for fiscal 2016 is based on sales that occurred in calendar year 2014. The Department of Revenue (DOR) requires communities to value all property each year.  Increases or decreases could be due to changes to neighborhoods, to land values, to cost data, or for changes to individual parcels (permits, etc).

Abatement Applications
Applications must be filed between January 1, 2016 and February 1, 2016. Applications will be available at the assessor's office at normal business hours. They can also be obtained online by viewing and printing the Real Estate Abatement Form (PDF). Applications can be hand delivered to the Assessor's office no later than 4:30 p.m. February 1, 2016 or they can be mailed, but it must be post marked by February 1, 2016.

Completed Applications
The Board of Assessors recommends that you provide supporting data why you should receive an abatement. In some cases it may be something as simple as an error on the property record card (for example, a shed that should have been removed, too many baths, fireplaces, etc). If you believe that your assessment is higher than the market value was as of January 1, 2015, please provide support for your opinion. You can provide sales data to support this. You can also provide an appraisal, market analysis, etc. We will have sales data for 2014 available on the counter at the assessor's office. Reminder; The values are based on an analysis of calendar year 2014 sales. The board requires an original signed copy of the application, therefore we do not accept emailed or faxed applications.

Processing Applications
Once we receive your completed application, you will be contacted by the Assessor's office to make an appointment for an inspection of the property. The board requires a full inspection. Failure to allow an inspection will result in a denial by the board. At the inspection, the assessors will verify the property record card information, etc. The Assessor will bring the application and the findings to the Board of Assessors for their review and decision. Discussion of abatement applications are not
open to the public.

Board's Decision
The board will make a decision based on the information on the application, the inspection results, etc. The board can grant or deny the abatement application. You will be notified of the results in writing within 10 days of the Board's decision. The board has 3 months from the application date to make a decision.

Taxpayer Options
If you are granted an abatement and you are happy with the amount, you don't have to do anything. If you are granted an abatement, but are unhappy with the amount, you will still receive that abatement, but you have the right to appeal to the Appellate Tax Bureau (ATB) for an additional amount. If your application has been denied you also have the right to appeal the decision to the Appellate Tax Board. You will be provided the phone number of the ATB with your decision letter, but following is some general information.

Appellate Tax Board
The Appellate Tax Board (ATB) is a quasi-judicial state agency designed to conduct hearings and render decisions on appeals of all state and local taxes, including property tax. In order for the ATB to have the authority to hear an appeal, certain requirements must have been met including payment of taxes, filing of the abatement application on time and filing to the ATB on time. Failure to comply with any of these jurisdictional requirements will result in the dismissal of a taxpayers appeal. The appeal to the ATB must be made within 3 months from the date of action taken by the Board of Assessors. Hearings are held in Boston at 100 Cambridge Street, starting at 9:30 a.m. This is just short explanation of the ATB process. The Board of Assessors recommends that applicants review the "Real Estate Tax Appeal, A helpful Guide for Taxpayers and Assessors" on the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board website. We also have a copy of the guide at the Assessor's office.