Abatement & Appeal

When & How To Apply
If you feel that your property has been overvalued, disproportionately assessed, incorrectly classified, or is exempt from taxation, you may apply to the Assessors for an abatement.

Abatement applications, which must be filed for each and every tax year being contested, must be filed and received in the Assessors Office after the third quarter tax bills have been mailed and no later than February 1. The Assessors cannot act on any abatement applications received after February 1. Forms are available in the Assessors office. The full tax due must be paid by February 1 to avoid interest charges.

Assessors Review
Upon receipt of an abatement application, the Assessors will mail out to applicants, an information request under (Form 61A) which will assist them in determining the fair cash value of the property. To avoid an automatic denial of your application and to retain your right to appeal the Assessors' decision, you must provide all the information requested within 30 days of the date you filed your abatement application. The Assessors have 3 months to act on your abatement application. Failure to act within this time period is deemed a denial.

Appeal of The Assessors' Decision

If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Assessors - or if you have not received a notice of the Assessors decision within 3 months from the date you filed your abatement application, you may appeal to the Appellate Tax Board, (ATB), a state agency that hears appeals from taxpayers who have been denied at the local level. This board hears appeals on the disputed value of real estate, and personal property. It also hears appeals on the denial of abatements for excise tax, and personal and charitable exemptions. It also hears cases involving the Department of Revenue and state tax.

Appeals to the ATB must be filed within 3 months from the date of the Assessors' decision. If you received no notice of the Assessors' decision, then an appeal may be filed after 3 months from the date you filed your abatement application. If the tax is over $3,000 it must be paid timely without incurring interest in order to file an appeal with this board.

Appeal forms may be obtained at the ATB; there is a filing fee.


Real & Personal Property
There is a physical distinction to be made to determine whether property is real or personal. Real estate is the physical land and appurtenances including structures affixed thereto in addition to the interests, benefits, and rights inherent in the ownership of physical real property known as the bundle of rights.

Personal Property is generally those items not permanently affixed to real estate. Personal property is movable and can be removed without serious damage either to the real estate or to the item being removed. The 3 categories of taxable personal properties are:
  1. Business and professional furnishings.
  2. Personal property of public utilities.
Assessors in every city and town are responsible for developing a revaluation program to completely analyze and revalue all property within its borders every 3 years. In the 2 interim years between reevaluations the Assessor will adjust values in response to significant changes in the real estate market. Revaluation's are required under Massachusetts law and are regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue's Bureau of Local Assessment. The rationale for revaluation and interim year adjustments is to always maintain property at fair market or fair cash value to ensure equity for all classes of property.