Real Estate Abatements
Reasons for an Abatement
- Overvaluation: The assessed value is too high compared to the actual real estate market. Valid sales for the calendar year 2014 are the basis for Fiscal Year 2016 taxes. If an appraisal is being submitted as part of your application keep in mind that the assessment date for this tax bill is January 1, 2015.
- Disproportionate Assessment: Property is assessed in excess of assessments of comparable properties.
- Improper Classification: A property is classified as commercial land when it is actually residential land.
An application may be filed by the person to whom the property was assessed or by the person acquiring title after January 1, 2015.
View the Real Estate Abatement Application (PDF).
Abatement applications are also available at the Municipal Center in the Assessors' Office.
The abatement application must be received in the Assessors's Office after the actual tax bill is issued and no later than 30 days after the date on which the FY14 third quarter tax bill is mailed or by February 1, 2016. The application can be mailed by the 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.
These deadlines can not be waived by the Board of Assessors for any reason. If your application is not filed on time, you lose all rights to an abatement and the Assessors cannot by law grant you one.
Payment of Taxes
An abatement application does not stay the collection of your taxes. To avoid loss of appeal rights or addition of interest and other collection charges, the tax should be paid as assessed.
The Board of Assessors is authorized by law to request information that is necessary to properly determine the fair cash value of the property. Failure to respond to an information request will result in a denial of the application and may bar an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board.
Action by the Board of Assessors
The Board of Assessors has three months from the date of filing to act on all abatement applications.
Information to Include with an Abatement Application
If an application is being filed because the taxpayer feels that their property is overvalued additional information should be included. The applicant’s opinion of value should be stated on the application. Create a list of sale prices of comparable properties. The list should provide details of your property and the comparable properties including price, date of sale, lot size, house size, house style, year built, condition factors, neighborhood factors etc. Sales reports can be found in the Assessors' Office.
Values for Fiscal Year 2016 are derived from calendar year 2014 sales. If an appraisal is being submitted as part of your abatement application be aware that the assessment date for FY14 is January 1, 2015.
Review your property record card. If there are errors contact the Assessors' office and an appointment will be set up for an interior inspection. It is very important that the information on the property record card is accurate.
Stating “my taxes are too high” is not a valid reason for granting an abatement. The overall budget for the Town is determined by Town Meeting. The Board of Assessors only determine the assessed valuations, which are the basis for apportioning the tax burden equitably.
Appeal of the Assessors' Decision
A taxpayer dissatisfied by the assessors' action or failure to act on an abatement application may appeal to the Appellate Tax Board (ATB). The ATB is a state administrative board that hears taxpayer appeals on local and state tax matters.
A taxpayer must file an appeal with the ATB within three months of the date the assessors granted or denied the abatement or the date the application was deemed denied if they did not act. The ATB cannot hear an appeal if it is not filed on time.