The assessment date for any fiscal year is January 1st for the previous year. For example, the assessment date for FY 2016 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016) is January 1, 2015. The Assessors are mandated to determine the value and the owner of each parcel as of the assessment date. State Law mandates that the owner (as of the assessment date) must be on each of the four quarterly bills. New owners must be billed in a “care of” fashion.
The quarterly billing system has been shown in a number of other Massachusetts communities to provide greater certainty in payment due dates for taxpayers, even distribution of income for cities and towns and significant reduction or possible elimination of costly municipal borrowing in anticipations of tax revenue.
Preliminary tax bills are sent each year, when using the quarterly billing system. The bills are sent on or about July 1st. A quarterly bill does not show value or the tax rate. To calculate the preliminary tax, add 2.5% to the previous years’ total tax, then divide that number by 4. The result will then be paid twice and payable in two equal installments. The 1st quarter, issued July 1st, will be due August 1st and the 2nd quarter will be due November 1st. If you received an exemption last year it is automatically deducted from the 1st and 2nd quarterly bills. Tax abatements and new exemptions are not available on this billing.
Actual bills are sent out prior to January 1st. This bill will show the assessed value of the property, tax rate and total amount of taxes due for the fiscal year and any betterment or liens. To calculate the actual bill, multiply the assessed value by the applicable tax rate divided by 1,000. Subtract the two preliminary payments made in August and November and divide the remainder by two. The result will then be paid twice in two equal installments. The final filing date for an abatement is on the bill.