Photo titled Residential Taxes in Massachusetts includes a photo of the Charles River and the Boston skyline

Residential taxes in MA vary by city and town and are determined each fiscal year during the budget process.

Residential Tax in MA

How Is Residential Tax Determined in MA?

The tax rate in Massachusetts is determined during the budget process conducted by each city and town.  The tax rate requires approval on the state level.  It is very important to understand residential tax in order to accurately estimate the overall cost of home ownership.

Residential Tax Rate Comparison

The chart shared here shows the fiscal year 2023 and 2024 tax rates for Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Medford, and Somerville Massachusetts.  My Clients receive a detailed residential tax comparison which includes current and historical tax rates as well as any residential exemption savings available.  For example, my tax comparison shows the decrease of 3.72% for the residential tax rate in Cambridge MA from 9.64% in fiscal year 2000 to 5.92% in fiscal year 2024.

Tax Rates FY23 & FY24

Per $1,000 of assessed value

Residential Tax RatesFY 23FY 24
Arlington MA11.2110.59
Belmont MA11.2410.56
Cambridge MA5.865.92
Medford MA8.658.52
Somerville MA10.3410.52

During my home buyer consultation or home seller consultation you will receive my full residential tax comparison which includes current and historical tax information for Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Medford, Somerville, Watertown, and Waltham Massachusetts.

How Is Residential Tax Calculated in MA?

To calculate real estate tax for a home you need the current assessed value and residential tax rate.  Tax rates in Massachusetts are stated as per $1,000 of assessed value.  Therefore, you need to first divide the assessed dollar value by 1,000 and then multiply that result by the tax rate.

Here is an example of how to calculate the real estate tax for a home with $750,000 assessed value and residential tax rate of 5.92:

  • 750,000 divided by 1,000 = 750
  • 750 x 5.92 = $ 4,440

The annual real estate tax amount in this example is $4,440.  Be sure to verify the current assessed dollar value of your home and the current residential tax rate with your city or town Assessor to receive the most accurate information.

How To Lower Residential Tax in MA

Massachusetts offers several types of tax savings called “exemption”.  However, these are determined by each city or town.  To find details about the qualifications and application process for all of exemptions, visit the official website for the city or town.

A residential exemption, if available, can significantly lower the annual tax bill for those who qualify.  For example, in fiscal year 2022 the residential exemption in Cambridge MA provided a tax savings up to $2,623.  By comparison, the Somerville MA residential exemption in fiscal year 2022 offered a tax savings up to $3,659.64 per year.

What Does “Fiscal Year” Mean?

The fiscal year in Massachusetts begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 in the following calendar year.  The residential tax rate, residential exemption savings (where applicable), and the property assessed value is updated each fiscal year.

When Are Residential Taxes Collected in MA?

Each city and town determines their tax collection schedule.  For example, some cities and towns collect taxes on a quarterly basis in August, November, February, and May.  Other cities and towns (such as Cambridge) collect residential taxes twice a year in November and May.

Where To Find Tax Information

The best practice is to verify property tax information directly with the city or town to ensure accuracy.  Many residential tax bills are also available online or can be verified by contacting the assessor or tax collector directly.

Property tax information is provided in MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and other real estate websites; however, the accuracy of the information is not verified.  The most reliable source for property and tax information is with the assessor and tax collector.

Always consult with a licensed tax professional for any questions regarding residential real estate taxes and tax liability.

Tax Rate Research

The most reliable source for property and tax information is the official city and town website.  Typically the assessor, finance, and/or tax collector department will provide the property assessed value and residential tax rate.

Photo titled Residential Taxes in Massachusetts includes a photo of the Charles River and the Boston skyline

To learn more about residential taxes in MA including a detailed comparison of the cities and towns offering a residential exemption; contact me to schedule a Home Buyer or Home Seller Consultation.

About Tamela Roche, Realtor® – RE/MAX Destiny