In Massachusetts, real estate taxes are set annually during the city/town budget process and require state approval.  A variety of personal exemptions are available; some offer a “Residential Exemption*” which lowers the tax burden for homeowners occupying their primary residence.  Verifying tax details from a trusted source is vital to accurately determine the overall cost of ownership.  View FY19 Residential Tax Comparison by Tamela to compare FY19 residential tax rates (including residential exemption) for Arlington MA, Belmont MA, Boston MA, Brookline MA, Cambridge MA, Medford MA, Somerville MA, Waltham MA and Watertown MA.

What Does FY19 Mean?

“FY” is an abbreviation for Fiscal Year.  The fiscal year in Massachusetts begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following calendar year; therefore, “FY19” (Fiscal Year 2019) represents the time period of July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

When Are Tax Rates Set?

Residential (and Commercial) Tax Rates and Residential Exemption values are updated each fiscal year.  In Massachusetts, the real estate tax rates are set annually during the city/town budget process and require state approval.

When are Taxes Collected?

Tax collection periods vary by city/town; many are collected on a quarterly basis.  Verify tax collection periods with the city/town assessing department directly.

Home Buyer Tips:

Before making an Offer to Purchase, the best practice for home buyers is to verify the current tax information directly with the city/town assessing department.  Beware that tax details provided in MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Listings or any other third party listing services may or may not be accurate and may or may not reflect the current fiscal year (especially for listings on market longer than a fiscal year time frame).  MLS does not verify information provided in listings; it is up to the home buyer to complete due diligence to verify tax information from the most trusted and reliable source (city/town assessor).  If applying for a mortgage to finance a new home purchase, the mortgage lender will also need accurate tax information for the current fiscal year.

How Can I Verify Real Estate Taxes?

Many cities and towns now provide a wealth of information on their official websites including current tax rates, how the tax rate was determined, tax exemption (savings) programs available and how to apply for a tax abatement if you feel the amount of tax assessed on your property is inaccurate.

The following links point to the official websites for the Assessors in each of the following cities and towns (as of March 2019):

Need Tax Help?

Licensed real estate agents can help verify tax information obtained from the most trusted and reliable source – such as the city or town assessing department.  Beyond that step, if you have any questions or concerns it is in your best interest to speak with the assessing department directly as well as consult a licensed tax professional for advice regarding tax law and tax liability.

*Residential Exemption applies to homeowners who meet specific qualifications; verify these details with the city/town assessor.

©2019 Intellectual property of Tamela Roche, all rights reserved. Source: City/Town Assessor