Assessment Disagreement & Abatement Process
What If I Disagree With the Assessment of My Property?
If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessment value, by all means come to the Assessors Office and discuss the matter. The staff will be glad to answer your questions about the assessment procedures. When questioning the assessment value, ask yourself 3 questions:
- Is my property description data correct?
- Is my assessed value in line with others on the street?
- Is my assessed value in line with recent sale prices in my neighborhood?
Keep in mind what's important: recent sale prices, quality of construction, condition, your property's neighborhood designation, and the building area and lot area. These are the most critical factors in the valuation process. There is a variety of information available to help you determine whether your assessment is fair and equitable. The staff will be happy to assist you, and no appointment is necessary.
If, after discussing the matter with the staff and researching the assessments of comparable properties within your area, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal your assessment to the Board of Assessors by filing an Abatement Application (PDF).
Abatement Application Period
January 1st through February 1st, 2024
The abatement application period is the same as the third quarter tax payment period. The period during which you must pay your third quarter actual tax bill extends from the date the tax bills are issued until they are due. This is usually February 1st. Likewise, the period for filing an abatement application extends from when the third quarter tax bills are issued until the date they are due by the close of business. If the application is mailed, the post mark must be on or before the due date. Abatement applications filed after this date and time cannot, by law, be acted upon by the Board of Assessors.
Abatement forms are available on line or in the Assessor’s Office. Applications cannot be submitted until after the tax bills are mailed. When filing for an abatement, remember that you are appealing your assessment and not your taxes.
Note: You must pay your taxes pending your appeal.
The application form is easy to fill out and the information you provide can be brief. But It is important to make a case to support your claim. That is, you need to provide reasons why you feel your assessment is out of line. For example, this can be done by pointing out errors in your property description; and/or by citing recent sales or other assessments which indicate your assessment is too high.
Have you refinanced or purchased the property within the last year? It may help speed the abatement process to submit a copy of the appraisal report, usually done through a bank or Mortgage Company.
Processing Abatement Applications
Once we receive your completed application, you will be contacted by the assessor's office to make an appointment to inspect the property. The Board of Assessors requires a full inspection. Failure to allow an inspection will result in a denial by the Board. At the inspection, the Assessor will verify the property record card information, etc. The Board will review this information and make a decision. The Board can grant or deny the abatement request. You will be notified of the results in writing within ten days of the Board’s decision. The Board has three months from the application date to make a decision. 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 or if you are denied, you have the right to appeal to the Appellate Tax Bureau (ATB). You will be provided the phone number and contact information for the ATB with your decision letter.
- You will receive a notice indicating your application was denied.
- You may appeal to the State Appellate Tax Board (ATB) within 90 days of the Assessor's decision.
- Filing information is available at:
Appellate Tax Board
100 Cambridge Street
2nd Floor, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
There is a fee required to file the appeal at this level.
- You will receive a letter indicating the amount of the abatement.
- Your abatement will normally be credited toward your Spring tax bill. If your abatement is granted after your Spring bill is paid, you will automatically receive a refund check.
Attention: New Homeowners
Keep in mind that it is the owner of the property as of the January 1st assessment date each year who receives the tax bill. Yet, it is the new property owner who has the responsibility to pay bills, which are issued after the purchase date. Therefore, up to the first 18 months of ownership, new property owners are advised to contact the previous owner if the tax bill has not been forwarded to them.