Who is eligible to file for an abatement?
Anyone who feels that their property is overvalued in itself or exempt from taxes may file for an abatement. You should ask yourself these questions before filing:
- Is the assessors’ information on my property record card correct?
- Is my value proportionate with other similar Shelburne properties?
- Is my value in line with recent sale prices in Shelburne?
- Would I sell my property for the assessed value?
Remember that you are appealing your assessment (taxable value), not the amount of taxes due. Filing for abatement does not delay the date you must pay the billed tax and paying it late may result in interest charges or other fees from the Collector.
Where do I find applications for an abatement?
Applications are available at the Assessors Office by calling 413-625-0300 x4 and on the Board of Assessors page.
When do I file for an abatement for overvaluation? Is there a fee?
You must file after the actual tax bill has been mailed and by its due date. This is usually Jan .1 – February 1 of each year. By law, the assessors cannot accept applications for abatement at any other time or a late filing. There is no fee at the town level for filing for abatement, only if the matter is carried on to the state Appellate Tax Board (see below). BE sure to pay the bill on time and in full as billed – the abatement process takes at least several weeks and your bill will accrue fees and interest if you are late in paying it.
Where do I apply for an abatement?
You can (1) mail in an application (USPS postmark on or before the final filing date), (2) bring it to the Assessors’ Office, (3) leave it in the Assessors’ mailslot at the Town Offices, or (4) submit it by email. It must be filed on time – the Assessors cannot accept late filings.
After I’ve applied for abatement, what is the process?
The Assessors will review your application at a regular meeting and will set up an appointment for inspection. A site visit usually takes about 30 minutes. The Assessors will then reconsider your application at their next meeting, which you are also welcome to attend if you wish, and, if appropriate, will recalculate the taxable value of your property. They then vote on whether to grant abatement and the amount to be given and complete paperwork to officially notify the Tax Collector of the change. Your taxable value for the following year will start at the abated value.
Are abatement applications public records?
Abatement amounts and application summary reports are public records. However, individual abatement applications are not available to the public for inspection under the public records law.
What happens if my abatement is approved?
If your application for abatement is successful, you will receive a notice indicating the amount of the abatement in tax dollars from the town, and, if applicable, from the Fire District. You can ask the Assessors for the details on how much your taxable value was reduced and why.
If the Town denies my application, do I have any recourse?
If you disagree with the Assessors’ decision on your application or on the amount the value was adjusted, you have 90 days in which to ask them to readdress the application and you may add pertinent information to your original request.
If you are still dissatisfied with their answer, you can file an appeal within 3 months of the date of denial to the:
Appellate Tax Board (ATB)
100 Cambridge Street Suite 200
Boston, MA. 02114
Caution: If you do not pay the tax bill on time, in full, as billed, you lose your right to appeal.
Motor Vehicle Excise Abatements
If an owner of a motor vehicle thinks that he/she is entitled to an adjustment of his/her excise bill, then contact the local Board of Assessors for an application for abatement. Although payment of a bill is not a precondition for an abatement, an owner risks incurring late fees and penalties if an abatement is not granted. Abatements can be handled through the mail; however, the bill should be paid as assessed and a refund will follow if the abatement is granted.
Under M.G.L. c.60A:2 as amended by Chapter 262, sections 10-11, of the Acts of 2004, abatement applications must be received by the assessors within three years after the excise bill was due, or one year after it was paid, whichever was later. An owner needs to apply on time to avoid losing his/her appeal rights. The assessors have some discretion to act on late applications, but the excise must still be outstanding and the owner cannot appeal. If the assessors decline to grant a discretionary abatement, however, the owner can then pay the excise, apply for an abatement within one year of the payment date and appeal the assessor’s decision on that application if s/he disagrees.
Where do I get applications for an abatement?
Applications are available at the Assessors’ office and online.