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Community Preservation Act

Last updated: 10/26/17

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.

Questions about the calculation of the CPA surcharge? Contact us:

Have a billing question? Please contact the City’s Collections Division at 617-635-4131.

Community preservation funding

Starting in 2018, we'll use funds from the program to support historic preservation, affordable housing, and parks and open space.

More funding information

Surcharge information

Surcharge on your tax bill

The CPA surcharge appears on your Fiscal Year 2018 first-quarter tax bill. It will show up as a line item below your preliminary real estate tax amount 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 Fiscal Year 2018 first- and second-quarter tax bills, the CPA surcharge for each quarter will be estimated using your revised net tax from Fiscal Year 2017.

Surcharge examples


Residential property with residential exemption

Residential property with residential and personal exemption

Commercial property

FY 2017 property value $500,000.00 $500,000.00 $500,000.00
Less $100,000 deduction ($100,000.00) ($100,000.00) ($100,000.00)
Recalculated property value $400,000.00 $400,000.00 $400,000.00
Recalculated property tax $4,236.00 $4,236.00 $10,148.00
Less FY 2017 residential exemption ($2,432.91) ($2,432.91) ($0.00)
Less FY 2017 personal exemption ($0.00) ($750.00) ($0.00)
Revised net tax at FY 2017 tax rate $1,803.09 $1,053.09 $10,148.00
Total preliminary CPA surcharge (1%) $18.03 $10.53 $101.48

Projected FY 2018 first quarter tax bill CPA surcharge

$4.51 $2.63 $25.37

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 CPA surcharge exemption is available to low-income and low and moderate-income senior property owners. You need to submit an application for CPA exemption to the Assessing Department. We base eligibility on qualifying income limits.

Exemption eligibility

For Fiscal Year 2018, we will determine your exemption eligibility based on your 2016 income. We’ll make CPA exemption applications available beginning in January 2018. They must be filed with the Assessing Department by April 2, 2018. You must submit supporting documents, such as your 2016 Federal and State tax returns, with your application.

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.