How Are Tax Rates Determined?

In Massachusetts, real estate tax rates are set annually during the city/town budget process and require state approval.  Many cities and towns offer a variety of real estate tax exemptions and some (but not all) offer a “Residential Exemption*” which can significantly lower the annual residential tax for homeowners who occupy their primary residence.  Visit your local Assessing department online for more detailed explanation regarding current tax rates and how they are determined.

When Does Fiscal Year Begin and End?

MA Fiscal Year begins July 1 and ends June 30 of the following calendar year.  Residential tax rates and Residential Exemption values are determined for each fiscal year.  Tax collection periods vary by city/town and most are set for quarterly collection.  Before making an Offer to Purchase, the best practice is for Buyers (and your Buyer Agent) to verify the current tax information directly with the city/town assessor.  Most residential tax bills are now available online (or call the tax collector directly) to verify current fiscal year taxes for a specific property.

How Does My Residential Tax Rate Compare?

View my Residential Tax Comparison FY21 by Tamela Roche for a comparison tax rates (including residential exemption savings where applicable) for Arlington MA, Belmont MA, Boston MA, Brookline MA, Cambridge MA, Medford MA, Somerville MA, Waltham MA and Watertown MA.  All tax data obtained from city/town tax assessor departments online (see links below for each city/town assessor).

Always Verify Residential Taxes

Tax information provided in MLS (Multiple Listing Service) may not reflect the current fiscal year especially for listings on the market for an extended period of time.  MLS in MA also does NOT verify tax information provided in a listing which is entered by the Listing Broker/Agent.  It is your responsibility (and your Buyer Agent’s fiduciary responsibility) to complete due diligence and verify current tax information.  If you are applying for a mortgage to finance a new home purchase, your mortgage lender will need the most current fiscal year tax information as well.

Tax Information Online

Visit the official website for each city and/or town you are searching for a new home in order to learn more about the current residential taxes including available tax exemptions and qualifications for each:

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