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Community Preservation Act

In November 2016, Boston voters approved the Community Preservation Act (CPA) by voting “yes” on Ballot Question 5.

By adopting the CPA, the City has created a Community Preservation Fund. The City finances this fund in part by a 1% property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills, beginning in July 2017. The City will use this revenue to fund the following types of initiatives consistent with CPA guidelines:

  • affordable housing
  • historic preservation
  • open space, and
  • public recreation.

Surcharge information

Surcharge on your tax bill

The CPA surcharge may appear on your quarterly tax bills beginning in Fiscal Year 2018. It will show up as a line item in the table on the right side of the bill.

Calculating the surcharge

We calculate the CPA surcharge by first deducting $100,000 from the value of your property. Next, we recalculate the tax and apply your residential exemption and any personal exemptions, if you have them.

‘Revised net tax’

To figure out the CPA surcharge, the remaining tax amount is the “revised net tax.” Your CPA surcharge is 1% of the revised net tax, divided over your four (4) quarterly tax bills. For first- and second-quarter tax bills, the CPA surcharge is estimated using your revised net tax from the prior year.

Surcharge examples


Residential property with residential exemption

Residential property with residential and personal exemption

Commercial property

FY 2023 property value $600,000.00 $600,000.00 $600,000.00
Less $100,000 deduction ($100,000.00) ($100,000.00) ($100,000.00)
Recalculated property value $500,000.00 $500,000.00 $500,000.00
Recalculated property tax $5,450.00  $5,450.00 $12,635.00
Less FY 2023 residential exemption ($3,610.53) ($3,610.53)    ($0.00)
Less FY 2023 personal exemption   ($0.00) ($1,000.00)    ($0.00)
Revised net tax at FY 2023 tax rate  $1,839.47   $839.47  $12.635.00
Total CPA surcharge (1%)   $18.39     $8.39    $126.35

Surcharge exemptions

Paying the CPA surcharge

Residential and commercial property owners may be assessed a CPA surcharge unless:

  • the revised net tax is $0, or
  • the property receives an exemption from the CPA surcharge.
CPA surcharge exemption

The surcharge exemption is available to low-income and low- and moderate-income senior property owners. You need to submit an application for exemption to the Assessing Department. We base eligibility on qualifying income limits that are provided in the table below. For Fiscal Year 2024, we will determine your exemption eligibility based on your 2022 income.


Exemption applications are available beginning in January of each fiscal year. They must be filed with the Assessing Department by April 1 of the Fiscal Year.

The Fiscal Year 2024 surcharge exemption application was due by April 1, 2024.

You may be asked to submit supporting documents, such as your federal and state income tax returns, with your application.




Fiscal Year 2024 CPA Surcharge Exemption Income Limits

Household Size (number of persons) Low-income for non-seniors (under 60) Low- to moderate-income for seniors (60+)
1 $83,608.00 $104,510.00
2 $95,552.00 $119,440.00
3 $107,496.00 $134,370.00
4 $119,440.00 $149,300.00
5 $128,995.00 $161.244.00
6 $138,550.00 $173,188.00
7 $148,106.00 $185,132.00
8 $157,661.00 $197,076.00

How do we calculate Household Income for a given applicant?

The formula for determining an applicant's income is:

  • Household income for CPA exemption = Gross Household Income - Dependent Deduction - Medical Expense Deduction

Gross Household Income for Fiscal Year 2024 equals income from all sources and from all household members who were 18 years of age or older and not full-time students in Calendar Year 2022.

The Dependent Deduction for Fiscal Year 2024 equals the number of dependents in the household (excluding spouse) on January 1, 2023, multiplied by the allowance per dependent. The allowance per dependent is currently $300 according to 760 Code of Massachusetts Regulations 6.05(4).

The Household Medical Expense Deduction for Fiscal Year 2024 equals the total out-of-pocket medical expenses of all household members in Calendar Year 2022 that exceeds 3% of Gross Household Income. For example, if a taxpayer's 2022 Gross Household Income was $75,000.00 and total out-of-pocket expenses for the same period was $3,500, then the Household Medical Expense Deduction for Fiscal Year 2024 is $3,500 - ($75,000 x 3%) = $1,250.

Out-of-pocket medical expenses may include health insurance premiums, payments to doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, diagnostic tests, prescription drugs, medical equipment, and other expenses not paid or reimbursed by employers, public/private insurers, or other third parties.

How CPA funds are spent

By law, the City must form a Community Preservation Committee. This committee figures out community preservation needs and makes recommendations to the City on how CPA funds should be allocated.

The funding of any preservation project requires a recommendation from the committee and appropriation by the City. We’ll provide information on the projects to be funded with CPA revenue on this page:

More Funding Information

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