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Statutory Exemption

Certain organizations qualify to receive an exemption from local property taxes. The types of organizations that may qualify include: religious, charitable, benevolent, educational, literary, temperance, or scientific organizations.

Organizations seeking exemptions for real property or personal property they own on January 1 preceding the fiscal year have to complete a Form 3ABC, which is a state tax form, each year.

About the Exemption

Organizations seeking exemptions for real property or personal property they own on January 1 preceding the fiscal year have to complete a Form 3ABC, which is a state tax form, each year.

Download the Form 3ABC

Download the 3abc Occupancy Schedule

Please note: A Fiscal Year takes place from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. For example, Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) would be July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024.

 

Keep in Mind
  • An organization needs to file the form annually before the start of the fiscal year. The deadline is March 1, 2024.
  • Religious groups only need to file the form if they are seeking an exemption for other than religious purposes as outlined previously. All other organizations must file the form every year by March 1. This includes new applicants and groups that were previously exempted.
  • When filing Form 3ABC, an organization needs to attach a “true copy” of the Form PC which they file with the Attorney General’s office every year.

Requirements

For charitable, benevolent, educational, literary, temperance, or scientific group:
  • The organization must be a corporation or a Massachusetts charitable trust.
  • The organization must have filed a Form 3ABC with the Assessing Department.

The organization must show occupancy as of July 1 and can generally do so in one of the following ways:

  • by using the building for its charitable purposes which must be consistent with Massachusetts General Law, or
  • by letting another charitable corporation use the property for its charitable purposes, which purposes must be consistent with Massachusetts General Law, or
For religious organizations

Property generally must:

  • be a house of worship
  • be used for religious instruction, or
  • be used as living quarters by the pastor as of July 1 of the fiscal year.

The property must be owned by the religious organization or held in trust. If part of the property isn’t used for religious purposes as outlined above, that part of the property can't be exempt under the religious usage rules. But, that part of the property may qualify as a charitable organization if other requirements are met.

Keep in mind:

In addition, a corporation buying a property on or before July 1 with the purpose of “removal there-to” may also qualify for the exemption. Generally, the removal must involve relocation from one site to another. The exemption period is temporary and ends two years from the date of acquisition. 

If your organization meets these requirements, you have two options to apply for a statutory exemption:

When applying, an organization will need to give us additional information about the organization and the property such as the articles of organization and by-laws as examples.

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