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Your application must be filed with the Board of Assessors on or before the date the first installment payment of the actual tax bill mailed for the fiscal year is due. Actual tax bills are those issued after the tax rate is set. This deadline cannot be extended or waived by the Assessors for any reason. To be timely filed, your application must be (1) received by the Assessors on or before the filing deadline or (2) mailed by United States Mail, First Class Postage Prepaid, to the proper address of the Assessors, on or before the filing deadline, as shown by a postmark made by the United States Postal Service.
Although the majority of properties are not for sale, Massachusetts General Laws require an assessment, or an estimate of market value, on every property. Sales of similar or comparable properties within a neighborhood are the best indicator of market value.
The assessment is an estimate of market value. The selling price of a property is not related to the age of the owner. The assessment cannot be lowered or raised based on the age of the owner. The assessments are a reflection of the real estate market. Elderly owners do not sell their properties for any lower or higher prices than the market will allow. If property owners throughout the City sell their homes for less, the assessments will decrease. If property owners sell their homes for more, the assessments will increase.
Assessment changes are always based on the real estate market. For example, if a property sells for $500,000 in calendar year 2017, there is no limit or minimum price it would sell for in calendar year 2018 or beyond. It could sell for $600,000, $700,000, $1,000,000, or $400,000. The sale price would be based on the real estate market at that time. Assessments do not predict market value, they reflect (or report) market value.
Assessors examine many qualities and conditions and then look for comparable properties that have sold in the neighborhood. Since no two houses are identical, adjustments are made for differing characteristics to determine the assessment. Thus the assessment is an estimate of market value.