FAQS

Who is assessed a Personal Property Tax?

There are two types of personal property, secondary homeowners and business owners. Personal property is assessed and taxed by the Town where the property or business is situated on the January 1st assessment date as well as to the record owner of the property as of January 1.

Individuals are entitled to an exemption for household furniture and effects at their place of domicile. The tax is assessed upon non-real estate, tangible assets, such as; furniture & fixtures, machinery & equipment, goods and materials, and other chattels not part of real estate. Proof of residency: voter registration, driver's license, census, IRS Forms, etc.

When does Personal Property billing begin?

January 1, 2020, the assessment date for ownership and value.  (Therefore, if you purchased the property in February of 2020, you would not be billed until the next assessment date of 1/1/2021, which is the next fiscal bill for 2021.)

When does Personal Property billing end?

Once the dwelling is sold, the bill is the responsibility of the person who owned the furniture and fixtures as of January 1, 2020, the assessment date. (Therefore, if you sold the property mid year, say June, the entire Fiscal Year is the responsibility of the person who owned the property 1/1/2021 even though you sold the property after that date.)    This is a State Law (Chapter 59 Sec 2, & 18, Etc), and there is no prorating of Personal Property taxes for the months you owned the property.

How is my assessment determined?

To arrive at "full and fair cash value" for your property, the assessors must know what "willing sellers" and "willing buyers" are doing in the marketplace. The Assessors also must collect, record and analyze a great deal of information about property and market characteristics in order to estimate the fair market value, including keeping current on cost of construction in the area and any changes in zoning, financing and economic conditions which may affect property values. The Assessors uses three standardized appraisal approaches to value: market, cost and income. This data is then correlated into a final value. The object of the valuation program is to estimate: "reasonable cash value" as of January 1 (known as the "assessment date") prior to the fiscal year. For example, the assessment date for fiscal year 2010 is January 1, 2009.

What is CPA?

The Community Preservation Act (CPA) was created by state law (MGL Chapter 44B). It allows cities and towns to adopt a property tax surcharge to help fund projects that preserve the character of the community

What is the purpose of Chapter 61 programs?

Chapter 61 programs offer a property tax break for landowners willing to commit to keeping some or all of their land undeveloped for a specific period of time. There are three different types of Chapter 61 programs:

Chapter 61 applies to land growing forest products, including wood, timber, Christmas trees, and other products produced by forest vegetation. Chapter 61 is a good fit for landowners interested in actively managing their forestland.

Chapter 61A is for land growing agricultural or horticultural products, including fruits, vegetables, ornamental shrubs, timber, animals, and maple syrup. Chapter 61A is a good fit for landowners engaged in agriculture on their land.

Chapter 61B is for land in open space and/or recreation. There is no requirement for land enrolled in Chapter 61B to be managed or have a forestry plan, so Chapter 61B is a good fit for landowners who take a passive approach to their land.

What is motor vehicle excise?

Chapter 60 A of the Massachusetts General Laws imposes an excise for the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or a trailer in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The excise is levied annually in lieu of a tangible personal property tax. Non-registered vehicles, however, remain subject to taxation as personal property. The excise is levied by the municipality where the vehicle is principally garaged and the revenues become part of the local community treasury. The Registry of Motor vehicles prepares the data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to the Assessors. The Assessors then prepare bills based on the Registry's data in conformity with Department of Revenue requirements.

How is excise tax determined?

The amount of the excise is determined on the value of the motor vehicle that is based upon the manufacturer's list price. Various percentages of the manufacturer's list price are applied. The formula is as follows:

In the year preceding the designated year of manufacture (brand new car released before model year), 50%

In the designated year of manufacture, 90%

In the second year, 60%

In the third year, 40%

In the fourth year, 25%

In the fifth and succeeding years, 10%