Property Taxes in Massachusetts: Everything You Need to Know
In 2018, the median price for a home jumped 7% to $365,000. Part of the reason for the higher prices is because homes are more expensive in Massachusetts than in many other states.
Another reason is that it’s currently a seller’s market. While new homes are being built, inventory is down.
While the housing market is healthy at 5.7/10, it’s still a smart idea to snap up space as soon as you see something you like. Just don’t forget that once you’ve made a home purchase, you still have Massachusetts property taxes to consider.
We want to help you find a dream home you can easily afford. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about real estate taxes in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Property Taxes
It’s no secret that homeowners in Massachusetts pay more than most of their other fellow Americans. Real estate taxes in Massachusetts are the seventh highest in the entire US.
The state’s average effective tax rate is slightly above the national average at 1.21%.
The estimated value of a property in Massachusetts is called a tax assessment. How much a homeowner pays is based on the value of their property. It may also be known as an “ad valorem” which means “to the value”.
How Real Estate Taxes Are Assessed
In the City of Boston, they operate under a property tax classification system. This allows the city to charge different rates for commercial and residential properties.
The tax rate is based on the amount each taxpayer owes for each $1,000 of property value within a given year. The fiscal year begins July 1st and ends June 30th. Property taxes are billed on a quarterly basis.
What Estimates Are Based on
Estimates based on the prior year’s property value and tax rate are given for the first and second quarter tax bills. The tax rate for each fiscal year is typically issued in late December and appears on your third-quarter tax bill.
The Ballot Initiative of 1980
Thanks to a ballot initiative in 1980, the law limits the amount of property taxes a city or town can raise. This is done in two ways:
1. The amount raised in property taxes cannot grow higher than 2.5% of the full cash value of all taxable property within a city or town. This is known as the 2 1/2 levy ceiling.
2. From year to year, the amount raised in property taxes can’t go higher than 2.5%. However, there are exceptions if voters approve exclusions and overrides or if there’s new growth. This is known as the 2 1/2 levy limit.
Each Municipality Has its Own Tax Rate
Every municipality has its own tax rate. However, the median residential tax rate is around $15.48 per $1,000 of assessed value. This is according to the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services in Massachusetts.
The median residential tax rate rose $0.38 cents from last year.
Communities with the Lowest and Highest Tax Rates
The lowest residential tax rate belongs to the town of Chilmark, which is located on Martha’s Vineyard. Its tax rate is at $2.88. Other nearby towns such as Edgartown, Nantucket, and Aquinnah are all among the top 10 in the state for the lowest tax rates.
Homebuyers looking to live in Longmeadow should expect to pay the highest residential tax rates at $24.09. Those communities located in Western Massachusetts have the highest tax rates.
Boston has a residential rate that’s currently at $10.54. Most surrounding suburbs around Boston are between $9 and $13.
Property Tax Exemptions
Certain groups of people may be exempt from property taxes such as:
- Blind persons
- National Guardsmen and Military Reservists
Seniors who are 65 or older may be able to claim a refund of up to $1,070 for property taxes paid on their primary residence.
Check here to see if you are eligible for a tax exemption or credit.
When Taxes Are Due
It’s important to know when taxes due so you can pay them on time. Failure to pay your taxes in full and on time can result in a lien against your property.
The name on the tax bill will be the property owner. Sellers who receive a tax bill for their old property should forward the tax bill to the new owner.
When Tax Bills Are Sent
Tax bills are sent 30 days prior to their due date. You’ll receive a bill on:
- First-quarter: July 1
- Second-quarter: October 1
- Third-quarter: January 1
- Fourth-quarter: April 1
When Taxes are Due
Taxes are then due on the following dates:
- First-quarter bills: August 1
- Second-quarter bills: November 1
- Third-quarter bills: February 1
- Fourth-quarter bills: May 1
For times when the first of the month falls on a weekend, the bill is due on the following Monday.
Ways to Pay Your Property Tax Bill
Property tax policies and forms vary between municipalities. Check with the Massachusetts Municipal Association to find your official city or town website where that information will be listed.
You can also check with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for telephone listings of city and town halls.
Paying Your Tax Bill if You Have a Mortgage
If you have a mortgage on your home, it’s common for property taxes to be taken directly from an escrow account set up by your mortgage lender. This allows you to pay your property taxes along with your mortgage payment.
If your loan doesn’t have an escrow account set up for this purpose, you may be able to request one.
Paying Your Tax Bill if You Don’t Have a Mortgage
If you don’t have a mortgage or your mortgage doesn’t have an escrow account, you can pay your real estate taxes using a credit or debit card. You can also pay by check.
You can also pay our property taxes online, by mail or by stopping by your local municipal office.
We Can Buy Your Home for Cash
If you’re struggling to pay Massachusetts property taxes and need to relocate to a new town where property taxes are lower, we can help. We’re in the business of selling homes quickly for cash.
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