Real Estate Tax Facts
The Fiscal Year (July 1, – June 30,) tax rates are determined in the Fall, prior to the bills being mailed. The Department of Revenue approves the tax rate after the classification hearing.
Tax bills are issued by the Town Treasurer they can be reached at 978-546-6648.
Massachusetts Law provides for a uniform assessment date – January 1st – for each tax year. The assessment date is January 1. The assessment date establishes the ownership, condition and occupancy of each parcel. If your property was purchased, sold, subdivided, renovated or suffered fire damage after January 1, these conditions will be reflected on the Fiscal Year tax bill.
New Owners and Tax Bills
Massachusetts Law requires local Collectors to issue the tax bill to the owner of record on January 1st preceding the tax year in question. If you acquired the property after January 1st, tax bills will be sent out in the former owner’s name for the remainder of the Fiscal Year. It takes a full billing cycle (1 year) for ownership name changes because the law stipulates the ownership/assessment date of January 1. As a rule, this issue should be discussed in detail at the closing and sale of property since errors could result in a lien against the property. Former owners who receive a tax bill after the sale of their property are requested to forward the bill to the new owner. However, this is voluntary. The new owner is ultimately responsible for procuring their property tax bill and paying the taxes once this sale is recorded with the Essex Registry of Deeds.
Please note: The Assessors department may mail tax bills “in care of” the new owner if timely receipt of the new property deed permits them to do so. “Amount due” information is always available by contacting the tax collector/treasurer.
Change of Tax Bill Mailing Address
If you are the deeded owner of a property and wish to have your tax bill mailed to an address other than the property’s location, please complete an address change form.
An abatement is a reduction of a property tax, based upon review and correction of a property’s assessed value. Massachusetts General Law provide for an abatement procedure that must be followed when taxpayer’s believe that their property is over-assessed, disproportionately assessed (this refers to an entire class of property, not to any individual unit or development), improperly classified or exempt from taxation. An abatement application may be filed by the person to whom the property is assessed, or the person who became the owner of the property after January 1.
Applications for abatement must be filed with the Assessor’s Office after the first tax bill is issued. No abatement can be granted unless the application is filed on time. The bill must be paid, even if an abatement application is pending.
Abatement Forms are available online or in the Assessor’s Office.
Property Tax Assistance
Personal Exemption reduces all or a portion of the taxes assessed on property. Personal exemptions are available to qualified homeowner’s who are elderly (at least 65 years of age), blind, surviving spouses, minor children of deceased parents or veterans with service-connected disabilities. Each exemption has eligibility requirements (e.g. age, income restrictions). You may not receive more than one personal exemption. However, if you qualify for two or more exemptions, you will receive the exemption that saves you the most money.
No income restrictions are attached to the Veterans or Blind exemption.
Please contact the Assessor’s Department at 978-546-2011, email firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at Town Hall, 34 Broadway for further assistance.