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City of Boston Announces New Assessment Are Available to Taxpayers

November 9, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

BOSTON - Monday, November 9, 2015 - The City of Boston Assessing Department today announced the dates of the public disclosure period which will allow taxpayers the opportunity to review their preliminary residential and commercial properties assessments for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The Assessing Department is in the final stages of completing a revaluation of all residential and commercial properties, as required by state law every three years. Preliminary assessment notices will be mailed the week of November 16. The following public disclosure period allows taxpayers the opportunity to review their preliminary assessment with an assessor prior to the state Department of Revenue's final certification:

Monday November 16 - Friday November 20 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM, Boston City Hall, Room 301 
Monday November 23 - Tuesday November 24 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Boston City Hall, Room 301 
On these dates, property owners will have the opportunity to review their FY 2016 preliminary assessments by:

  • Visiting the Assessing Department at Boston City Hall, Room 301;
  • Calling the Taxpayer Referral and Assistance Center between 9AM and 5PM at (617) 635-4287; or
  • Visiting the Assessing Department on the web at www.cityofboston.gov/assessing

While preliminary assessments are included in the disclosure notices that will be mailed to taxpayers the week of November 16, the assessments will also be available online at that time at www.cityofboston.gov/assessing. By following the revaluation links, taxpayers may submit an online contact form with questions about their FY 2016 assessment directly to the Assessing Department.

After certification of the new values by the state Department of Revenue, the new assessed values will be indicated on the FY 2016 Third Quarter real estate tax bill to be issued by the Collector-Treasurer at the end of December. The FY 2016 assessments will be based on the value of the property as of January 1, 2015, and will reflect the market conditions in each property's immediate area on or before that date. Market activity occurring after January 1, 2015, will be reflected in the FY 2017 assessment.

In FY 2016, assessments reflect a strong market for real estate, with most neighborhoods exhibiting signs of appreciation over the prior year. As a result, many homeowners will see an increase in their assessment. However, with Proposition 2½ limiting the annual growth of the City's tax levy, assessments will cause a decline in the property tax rate that will mitigate, in part, tax bill increases.

TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

The City of Boston offers a number of tax relief programs to qualified homeowners. The residential exemption, in particular, can provide substantial savings to taxpayers that owned and occupied their homes as of January 1, 2015. A residential exemption is an amount of assessed value that is exempted from taxation by recommendation of the Mayor and vote of the City Council. Last year, qualified taxpayers saved $1,880 on their tax bills. Taxpayers who receive the residential exemption for FY 2016 will see the exemption value indicated on the Third Quarter tax bill. The deadline to file for the residential exemption for FY 2016 is April 1, 2016. 

In addition, the City offers personal exemptions to those taxpayers who are elderly (over age 65), surviving spouses (widow/widower), minor children of deceased parents, blind, disabled veterans with a service-connected disability, and certain members of the National Guard. Each exemption has eligibility requirements, such as age and certain income restrictions. Taxpayers who receive a personal exemption for FY 2016 will see the exemption amount indicated on the Third Quarter tax bill. 

Taxpayers who believe they may qualify for a personal exemption have until April 1, 2016 to apply. The lone exception is the National Guard exemption, which has a filing deadline of February 1, 2016. 

The City also offers a tax deferral for those elderly homeowners whose current expenses make the continued ownership of their home difficult. To qualify for FY 2016, taxpayers must be age 65 or older and have an income of less than $57,000 per year. The amount of the deferred taxes, plus interest accruing at a rate of 4% per year, must be repaid when the property is sold or upon the passing of the owner. 
More detailed information on tax assistance programs can be obtained by calling the Taxpayer Referral and Assistance Center at (617) 635-4287.