Assessor's Office

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Mission Statement

The Assessor's Office is committed to serving the citizens of Tewksbury by fairly and equitably assessing property, setting the levies based on those values, administering tax relief programs, as well as maintaining all property tax related records, and ensuring public access to those records.  It is also our commitment to accomplish these mandated responsibilities in a courteous, efficient and clear manner.

Overview of the Assessor’s Office

The Assessor’s Department operates under the authority of the Department of Revenue.  It has a full-time Chief Assessor, an office staff and a board that includes the Chief Assessor and two appointed members that serve on a part-time basis.  The Board of Assessors is responsible for administering Massachusetts property tax laws equitably by estimating the fair market value of all real and personal property in Tewksbury.  The office is responsible for adhering to strict certification requirements of the Department of Revenue. 

Revaluation

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) requires all cities and towns to revalue all property once every three years.  DOR closely monitors the revaluation project from planning to data quality to analysis to conclusion.  Revaluation certification by DOR is required before the tax rate can be set for the following fiscal year.  The objective of the revaluation is to ensure that all property is fully and fairly assessed.

Additionally, in the interim years, the Town's values are recertified by the Department of Revenue.

Abatements

Abatement is a lowering of the assessed value on real or personal property. The lower assessment results in a lower tax bill. Abatements may be issued for reasons of:

Over Assessment

The property is assessed for more than its market value

Disproportionate Assessment

The property is assessed for more than similar properties in the town

Improper Classification

The property is classified as Commercial or Industrial and should be Residential

Abatement applications must be filed with the Board of Assessors within 30 days of the mailing of the first actual tax bill. The filing deadline is typically around Feb. 1.  Form 128 is used for this application.  If a taxpayer disagrees with the Board of Assessors action on an abatement application, the issue may be appealed to the Appellate Tax Board.

Real Estate Taxes

The Board of Assessors is responsible for the calculation of the annual tax rate necessary to raise the tax dollars, in accordance with Proposition 2 ½, to fund the Town’s annual operating budget.  Rates are expressed in per thousand dollars of assessed value.

Proposition 2 ½

PROPOSITION 2½ limits the amount the town can raise in local property taxes. The amount that can be raised in any year is equal to:

A

The amount raised in the previous year, less any overrides or debt exemptions plus

B

2.5%  plus

C

New growth plus

D

Any overrides or debt exclusions

This limit applies to the total tax levy of the town. It does not apply to individual properties within the town.

The tax due on a specific piece of property is determined by the ratio of the assessed value of that property to the total assessed value of the entire town. That ratio will change as new growth adds to the total assessed value of the town and as improvements add to the value of an individual property.

The ratio will also change in a revaluation year as the relative values of various classes and sub-classes of properties change.

The total amount that may be raised does not depend on the total assessed value of the town. So, for example, if a revaluation of the entire town increases the total assessment of the town by 25%, that increase will have no effect on the total allowable tax for the town.

Exemptions

The Assessing Department administers residential, motor vehicle and personal property exemption tax relief in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws.  Exemptions may be based on use (farm land, cemeteries) or ownership (federal government, charities).  Individual exemptions are available, under very specific conditions, for, among others, senior citizens over the age of 70, widows and widowers, disabled veterans, and blind persons.  Contact the Assessor’s office for information on other exemptions and on the tax deferral/recovery program.

Motor Vehicle Excise Tax

All Massachusetts residents who own and register a motor vehicle must annually pay a motor vehicle excise. The excise is levied by the city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged and the revenues become part of the local community treasury.

Excise bills are prepared by the Registry of Motor Vehicles according to the information on the motor vehicle registration. They are sent to city or town assessors who commit them to the local tax collectors for distribution and collection of payment.

Abatements can be filed if the owner believes the assessment is incorrect, or if the vehicle was sold during the year in which it is being taxed and the registration was properly cancelled, or if the owner moved, registered the vehicle in another state and either cancelled the registration in Massachusetts or did not renew the registration in Massachusetts. If the registration is cancelled, it is most important to return the plate(s) to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and to obtain a return plate receipt. When an abatement is granted, excise bills are prorated by the month, thus the owner is responsible for the excise accrued through the month in which the car was last registered to him/her.

In order to process an abatement on your motor vehicle excise tax bill you must provide us documentation to verify the disposition of both the Plate (e.g. was it transferred or turned in?) and the Vehicle (e.g., was it sold, a total loss, etc.?).

We require one or more of the following documents:

  • Bill of Sale (with VIN#)
  • Plate Return Receipt (with (VIN#)
  • New Registration Form
  • Insurance Settlement Letter showing you conveyed title to the Insurance Company (with VIN#)
  • Affidavit of Lost or Stolen Plate (C-19 form)
  • Insurance Selection Coverage Page (with VIN#)
  • Registration Form from new state or country
  • Letter from Commanding Officer (non-domiciliary serviceperson)
  • Copy of Donation Letter (with VIN# and repossession date)
  • Repossession Letter (with VIN# and repossession date)
  • Junk Yard Receipt (with VIN#)
  • Purchase Agreement citing vehicle as trade-in (with VIN#)

Note:  No excise may be reduced to less than $5.00.  No abatement for less than $5.00 will be granted and no refund of less than $5.00 will be made.

Incomplete applications will be returned.  When applying for an adjustment it is the applicant’s responsibility to contact us for a new amount.  A new bill will not be issued.

Abutters List

Several Town Boards may require you to submit a Certified Abutter's List with your application for a permit.  This list is prepared by the Assessor's Office.

Applicants should allow a minimum of five (5) business days to process the request. 

Each parcel involved in a project requires its own abutters list. There is a $15.00 fee for each list.  The office can also provide an excel spread sheet for creating mailing labels for an additional $5.00.  Be sure to provide an email address if you would like this option.  Fees must be paid when request is made for the certified list.   

Should you require copies of Assessor's Maps with your list they are $2.00 each.

Applicants requesting an Abutters List for a linear project (work extending from one given point on a map to another) must submit a list of map and lot numbers and we will provide owners' names and addresses.

Please submit a separate request form for each parcel.

Personal Property

In addition to real estate, all personal property is also taxable. There are several exceptions to this general rule. The most important is the exemption for personal property in a primary residence. There are also numerous exemptions applying to various types of businesses.

Each business is required to file a list, called a FORM OF LIST, with the Board of Assessors by March 1 of each year. This list is the basis for the personal property tax assessed to the business. Personal Property is assessed at the same rate as Commercial and Industrial Property.

Staff Contacts

Name Title Phone
Joanne Foley MAA Chairman (978) 640-4330
Barbara A. Flanagan
Susan Moore MAA
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