What is the tax title process?
HOW WE DETERMINE YOUR TAXES
The City’s Assessing Department finds properties and their owners through the Registry of Deeds. The name on a tax bill is the property owner on January 1 before the start of the fiscal year. Assessing sends owner information to the Collector-Treasurer.
The Fiscal year starts on July 1 and ends on June 30. The City uses a quarterly tax billing system, meaning we mail your taxes four times a year:
|First quarter||second quarter||third quarter||fourth quarter|
|July 1||October 1||January 1||April 1|
We send tax bills 30 days before their due date. Your quarterly tax bills are due on these dates:
|First quarter bills||second quarter bills||third quarter bills||fourth quarter bills|
|August 1||November 1||February 1||May 1|
If the first of the month falls on a weekend, your bill is due on the following Monday.
We ask that those seeking to contact or submit documents to the Claims Division and Tax Title Division of the Law Department please, if at all possible, do so by mail, email, fax, or telephone only. Please note: if you are submitting a new claim, you must do so in hard-copy, preferably by mail. If you are submitting documents on an existing claim, you may do so by email or fax.
If you need to submit documents in person, please leave them at reception in Room 615 while maintaining a safe distance of at least six feet from any other person in the office. During this time, our staff will not be meeting in person with members of the public, but can arrange appointments to speak by phone:
Staying up to date
You are responsible for keeping your information up to date with the City. You have to pay your property taxes even if you don't get the bill. You can’t negotiate tax bills.
You can find out how much you owe by calling the Collector-Treasurer's Office at 617-635-4131.
You have 30 days to pay the bill. If you don't pay your bill in time, it will gain interest at a rate of 14 percent each year. We certify any unpaid taxes at the end of the Fiscal year to the tax title account, and increase the interest to 16 percent.
Tax taking and foreclosures
After we certify your unpaid taxes to the tax title account, the Collector-Treasurer:
- issues a tax lien, which is a claim of legal ownership on your property, and
- records the lien within 60 days at the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.
If you don't pay your taxes within six months of the due date, the City will start the foreclosure process. We file a petition to foreclose with the Land Court. We’ll do a title exam and send a notice of foreclosure to anyone who has an ownership interest in the property.
Responding to the notice
You have until the deadline on the notice to respond with an “Answer in Land Court.” If you don’t answer the notice, you waive your right to fight the foreclosure. The Land Court may be able to foreclose on your home without a hearing.
If you answer the notice, you'll be able to go to court and work out a payment plan for your taxes. The court will give you a deadline to pay off your taxes in full. The cost includes any expenses the City took on to foreclose and take care of your property.
If you fail to make your payments on time, we will ask for another hearing to find a judgment of foreclosure in your case. If the court rules in favor of the City, we will take ownership of your property.
Resources for Help
Clearinghouse (to buy property): 617-635-4191
The department takes care of and transfers foreclosed properties. They may be able to help you avoid foreclosure.