Tewksbury Property Owners Face Feb. 2 Deadline for Filing Tax Abatement Application
Jan 22, 2015 06:14AM
By Bill Gilman
Sec. of State William Galvin issued a statement earlier this week, reminding residents they have until Feb. 2 to file applications for property tax abatements.
“First-quarter property tax bills are due then, and it is also the last day a property owner can seek an abatement on the tax assessed,” Galvin said. “Home prices are rising, as are assessments, but valuations do not rise equally. If you believe your assessment is too high, then you might want to explore the abatement process.”
Property owners may challenge a tax bill on grounds that the assessed value is too high in relation to similar properties in the neighborhood; that the classification is improper; or that the property is exempt by law.
Two-thirds of the Massachusetts cities and towns, including Tewksbury, collect property tax payments quarterly, and in those communities, Feb. 2 is the deadline for seeking an abatement as well. Tips for those seeking an abatement are contained in a brochure available from the Citizen Information Service, a division of the Secretary’s Office.
Abatement application forms are Tewksbury Assessor's Office at the Town Hall annex. Also available are applications for property tax exemptions. Exemptions are available for certain elderly homeowners, the blind, disabled veterans, minor children of a deceased parent, or minor children of police or firefighters killed in the line of duty.
A negative ruling by a local assessor on an abatement or exemption application can be appealed to the State Appellate Tax Board. For information: 800-392-6090; sec.state.ma.us/cis.
Galvin offers the following tips when it comes to property tax abatements.
- * Payment of property tax bills are required to be in the collectors office by the due date to insure your option of appeal to the state appellate tax board. This stipulation applies only to tax bills over $3,000.
- ** Mailing postmark date option applies to abatement application only, not to payment of property tax bill.
- Abatement applications are available at all city and town assessors office, or for your convenience, click on an abatement application here:
- An approved Department of Revenue tax abatement form is required by law for filing. Some towns have customized abatement forms. Check with your local assessors' office as to which form they require.
- Applications for abatements are normally required to be filed by the due date of the first actual bill for the year. In communities that have quarterly tax bills the application is due with the communities 3rd quarter bill which normally will be due February 1st.
- To determine if a bill is an actual tax bill or an estimated bill the taxpayer should look for an assessed value on their property and a designated tax-rate on their bill.
- The application is required to be filed and signed by the assessed owner, current owner or agent only. Under certain circumstances other parties with an interest in the property may file, contact your assessors office for any special rules that may apply.
- Applications must be in the assessors possession by the close of business on the due date if not mailed.
- The mailing of applications must be postmarked by the US Postal Service no later than the due date.
- The mailing of applications must be addressed directly to the city or town assessors office in order to comply with the “assessors possession” criterion.
- Contacting your city or town assessors office first is the most important step a taxpayer can make because “ special circumstances may apply” to any and all tax bills that are mailed to you from any one of the 351 cities or towns.
- To possibly view your current city or town property tax assessment and compare your property with other similar properties check with your community's municipal website.