Abatement Procedure

Application forms are available at the Board of Assessors' office. The statutory abatement procedure is in force only after the Fiscal Year Third Quarter tax bill has been issued. Applications must be filed on or before February 1st.

An abatement is a reduction of property tax based upon a reduction in the assessed value of taxable property. A taxpayer must apply for an abatement for each specific year in which there is a dispute. An application cannot be filed on taxes from previous years.

Reasons for an Abatement

  1. Overvaluation
  2. Disproportionate Assessment (pertains to entire property classes, not individual unit or development)
  3. Improper Classification

Who may apply?

As a general rule, an application must be filed by the person to whom the tax has been assessed.

Payment of Tax

Pay the amount of tax indicated on the bill on or before February 1st. Interest will be due if the payment is received late. Failure to pay the tax in a timely manner jeopardizes your right to appeal.

If the total tax on real estate is over $3,000, the tax must be paid before interest accrues, in order to maintain the right to appeal a decision (of the Board of Assessors) to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board (ATB). The ATB is an independent administrative board, under the direction of the state government. Failure to pay the tax in a timely manner jeopardizes you right to appeal.

There are procedures available through the Appellate Tax Board, which may allow a taxpayer to extend the time for payment of the balance of the tax due. There is also an alternative, the three-year average method of payment. A taxpayer should seek professional advice before utilizing these alternatives. The use of these alternatives does not halt the tax collection process. Any unpaid balance will accrue interest and fees.

Additional Information Request

The Board of Assessors is authorized by law to request information that is necessary if they are to properly determine the fair cash value of the property. To preserve your right to appeal an abatement decision, you must provide all information requested by the Board of Assessors. Failure to respond to an information request, within thirty (30) days of the date of the 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 attempts to process all abatement applications within three (3) months of filing. You will be informed of the status of the application through the following notices:

Notice of Approval - The Board of Assessors will abate the amount specified in the notice. If the tax has been paid, the taxpayer will be reimbursed through the Tax Collectors Office.

Notice of Denial - No abatement will be granted. A denial will be issued in cases where the Board of Assessors has made a decision based on the merits of the abatement application; or for reasons of inaction, in cases where the department has not made a decision on an abatement application within three (3) months of its filing date.

Appeal to the Appellate Tax Board

If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Board of Assessors, you may file an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board. It is located at 100 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108. The telephone number is (617) 727-3100.

You may elect to file an appeal to the appellate tax board if:

  • You are dissatisfied with the amount of the abatement granted.
  • You disagree with the decision of the Board of Assessors to deny the abatement application, including denial for reason of inaction by the Board of Assessors.

The proper forms for an appeal can be obtained at the Appellate Tax Board.

An appeal to the Appellate Tax Board must be filed within three (3) months of the date on which the Board of Assessors made its decision to grant or deny abatement for any reason including inaction.