I just bought property this year, why is the prior owner still on the tax bill?
Property tax assessments are billed for Fiscal Year beginning July 1 with an effective date of January 1. This means that the owner as of January 1, should appear on the tax bill. However, as the current owner, you should still pay the tax bill before the due date to avoid interest from being assessed and a tax lien being placed on the property.
How is my assessed value determined each year?
Beginning January 1, the Board of Assessors will determine fair market value each year using a process called mass appraisal, which is the valuation of many properties as of a given date using standard procedures and statistical testing. Property sales in a given period are analyzed by grouping property characteristics that are important in determining market value, developing reasonable value adjustments for the property characteristics, statistically testing a model than applying the resulting estimates of value to all properties. For example, you may own a residential call parcel. This type of land within the residential class would be assessed using mass appraisal techniques by analyzing sales of this type to develop value estimates. When there are few sales of a particular type of property, sales from other communities are examined. Assessment quality standards established by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue must be met annually in order to set the tax rate.
Why won't the town send my tax bill directly to my bank or mortgage company?
The Assessor’s billing address information is used by all Town departments for official notification of zoning changes, appeals and other items of significance to property owners. In addition, since mortgages are regularly bought and sold, this would increase the chance for a bill being sent to the incorrect party delaying payment and incurring interest charges. If your property taxes are held in escrow, simply send a copy of the bill to the mortgage company when you receive it, retaining a copy for your records.
What is State Certification/Revaluation?
The Board of Assessors is required every three years to develop a reassessment program necessary to achieve full and fair cash value assessments in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws. The reassessment program differs in scope from annual reassessment and includes a public disclosure program wherein taxpayers may review proposed new assessments prior to the mailing of the tax bill. The Department of Revenue certifies that the methodology and resulting assessments meet minimum guidelines of assessment level and uniformity as of the assessment date. The estimates of value must all be within ten percent of actual selling prices in a given period. The town’s last certification was for FY 2010.
Will someone be inspecting my house?
No, not for the revaluation program. The Assessor's office works on a continual yearly basis inspecting, measuring and listing all residential properties in town. This inspection is a recollection of all physical property data in order to maintain data quality and meets the cyclical reinspection requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.
How do I find out what my new assessment is?
The actual tax bill mailed to you at the end of December reflects the assessed value, current tax rate and annual taxes. The assessment of you house can change due to inflation and other normal factors that impact the real estate market. The assessed value reflects the changes in the real estate market from the time it was last valued.
If my assessment increases will my property taxes increase?
Higher property assessments do not cause higher taxes. The total municipal budget determines the money to be raised from property taxes. The tax rate may stay the same or even decrease because of the overall increase in the total value of the community. Your tax bill is based on the spending of the town. An increase in the assessed value does not necessarily cause an increase in taxes. Your tax bill is a direct result of the town’s budget.
If assessments increase and the tax rate stays about the same, why don't we leave the assessment the same?
The objective of a revaluation program is to ensure that everyone’s assessment is fair and accurate. If all property is assessed at its market value, individual taxpayers will be assured that they pay only their fair share of the tax burden.
Can I review my annual property assessment with someone after receiving the bill?
Yes. After the values are finalized you may access one of the reports we have available in our office. You may review the data and assessed values on all property in town if you wish. The office staff is available to offer assistance and explanations. You may also file an abatement application that will trigger a review by the Board of Assessors. Abatement applications must be filed on or before February 1st.
Should I file for an abatement on my property tax?
If you believe there are factual errors in data pertaining to your property, or you believe that comparable sale properties are assessed substantially less (ten- percent) than your property, then you should file an abatement application.
How do I file for an abatement?
Abatement applications are available in our office or from the Massachusetts Division of Local Services website (see Abatement Form below). If you are unable to get to the office during business hours, we will mail an application to you. Abatements can be filed for thirty days following the mailing of the FIRST Actual tax bill usually by January 1.
The filing deadline is always 30 days from the mailing/due date of tax payment.
Please keep in mind the Board of Assessors has no jurisdiction to act on an application that is filed later than the day the abatement application is due.
The Board of Assessors looks for persuasive evidence before changing any assessment. Applications should include a complete description of factual errors. For example, errors in number of baths, year built, square footage of living area etc. Factual errors usually require a site visit. Or, if you believe your property is over-assessed, provide an analysis of comparable sale properties with your abatement application. The analysis should include at least three recent sales of homes that are similar to yours in characteristics such as style, living area, number of bedrooms, lot size and location. Property record cards are available to support your claim. Recent sale prices can also be found in our office.
You will receive a notice of decision on your application. If an abatement is granted, your last quarter tax bill will be reduced by the amount of abatement. If the Board of Assessors denies your application, there is an additional appeal process available. The appeal must be filed within ninety days of the Board of Assessors decision by contacting:
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
Forms are available on the Appellate Tax Board website.
Filing an application for abatement does not stay the collection of your taxes. In order to preserve your rights of appeal, pay the tax when due.
The abatement form may be accessed here: Abatement Form.
If I have questions about real estate abatements or exemptions, who can I call?
You may contact the Board of Assessors at (508) 669-5043.
How does a building permit affect the value of my property?
Building permit collection, sale verification an cyclical reinspection of property.
The Board of Assessors relies on accurate information to ensure fair value estimates. New construction and remodeling information is collected annually in the spring and summer. Dighton has in place a statutory local option that allows the town to assess all new construction through June 30. This means for example that the July tax bill may include the value of new construction and remodeling that took place July 1 (previous year) through June 30 (current year).
Homes that have recently sold are inspected as well as one sixth of the improved property inventory in town. If you purchase a home, we usually request inspection within the year. If your street is included in the one-sixth cyclical inspection program, a notice will be sent several weeks before we begin data collection. The names and vehicle registration numbers of all field personnel are on file with the Dighton Police Department should you wish to verify the identity of an assessor who requests inspection of your property when our office is not open.
We inspect the interior and exterior details of each residence, the overall condition and amenities present and the location. During the inspection key features such as style, number of bedrooms, number of baths and dimensions of the property are recorded. We appreciate your cooperation in allowing assessors access to your property.
What is the Supplemental Tax Bill?
The "Supplemental Tax" bill was added by Chapter 203 of the Acts of 1995, and amended by Chapter 46 S41 and S42 of the Acts of 2003.
Simply put, our state state legislature authorized cities and towns to send out tax bills on property obtaining occupancy permits after July 1st of the current fiscal year, providing that the value has increased more than 50% of the initial bill mailed for that fisccal year. Please be advised that you are responsible for a 4th quarter bill as well. Remember that this bill is an addition to the previous bill, which may have been either just land or land and partial building. If you escrow your taxes with your mortgage company you are strongly advised to notify your mortgage company of this supplemental bill. Any further questions can be addressed to the Assessor at (508) 669-5043.
What are my tax dollars used for?
Property tax receipts are the primary source by which the town operates. Funds are used to finance public projects, and pay town salaries (such as schools, teachers, police, fire, and Town Hall personnel), among other operations of the town. If you would like to volunteer for a town board or committee, please contact the Board of Selectmen at (508) 669-6431.
If I have a question regarding payment of taxes, who do I call?
You may contact the Collector at (508) 669-5411.
Can I get a copy of the deed and plot plan of my property?
Copies of property records can be obtained in our office during normal business hours. Updated tax maps and deeds are also available for examination and purchase. If we do not have a deed, copies are available at:
Bristol County Registry of Deeds Northern District
11 Court Street, Taunton, MA 02780
Recent sales are available at our office counter.