Tax Collector

About | Forms | FAQ  

Why haven’t you taken the former owner’s name off my tax bill?
Information for tax bill comes from the Registry of Deeds based on the information on record as of January 1st of any given year. Therefore, any property sold after January 1st is still considered the responsibility of the registered or “assessed” owner.

I sold my house last month. Why did I just get another bill?

Since our records must agree with property registration, updates are not made to the system until official notice is received from the Registry of Deeds. Information for new owners may not be made available to the Assessors for several weeks after a sale. This could mean that the new bill will be mailed to the owner currently on record.

I just bought my house and I got a tax bill. Shouldn’t the former owner be paying this? Real estate taxes due at the time of a sale are usually calculated and collected by the closing attorneys. Adjustments are made for past or upcoming taxes as they may apply at the time. You may want to check with your attorney to ask who is responsible for the payment.  

How often will I get a real estate tax bill?

Tax bills are issued quarterly for the three month period surrounding the actual due date. A bill due for August 1st would therefore cover the quarter including July, August and September.

My tax bill says Fiscal Year 2008 and this is only 2007. Aren’t you getting ahead of things?                                                                                                                                       Tax bills are issued for the town’s fiscal year, which begins July 1st of the previous calendar year. For example, the first day of fiscal year 2008 is actually July 1, 2007.

Why aren’t my tax bills the same amount for the whole year?

Because the Town’s financial or “fiscal” year starts July 1st, you’re actually paying for 2 different tax years during the calendar year. 

My taxes went up 18%! What happened to Proposition 2 ?!

Two of the key factors that have an affect on your tax payments.

1- The fiscal year begins July 1st.The fiscal year tax rate is set based on the new budget which is usually an increase over the previous year. But this calculation doesn’t happen until after the Special Town Meeting, held in late October or early November. By then, the first 2 quarterly tax payments, due August 1st and November 1st, have already been issued. For this reason, those first 2preliminary” payments are based on the prior year’s tax. The balance of the total fiscal year tax must then be billed and collected with the last 2 quarterly payments, due February 1st and May 1st. Obviously, those second two “actual” payments will be more than the first two payments. And because the difference between the 2nd quarter (November) and 3rd quarter (February) is actually one half of the additional tax and not just one quarter, it gives the appearance of a greater increase.

This cycle repeats itself annually with the first two payments of the calendar year higher than the last two payments.

2-Your property assessment may have gone up based on market values

When I bought my house, the attorney said the next tax bill would be paid. You show that I still owe it! Where did my money go?

There are 2 common reasons for a bill to show a balance after you have provided for your payment.

1 – The bills were calculated and printed before your payment was received.

2 -- Some attorneys will forward the payment from a closing at the end of one fiscal year, before we’re able to post to the new fiscal year. For example, a June closing may mean your payment is due for August 1st. You’ll have a credit balance that can’t be transferred until the new year is available for posting.

My taxes are escrowed through my mortgage company. Why don’t you send the bills to them? I just throw them away.

Massachusetts law requires that the tax bill be mailed to the assessed owner.  The mortgage company may request that you forward the bill to them. In most cases, the information is provided to them electronically, either directly or through a tax service.

I’m doing my income tax return. How much did I pay in taxes last year?

Calendar year taxes used for income tax filing are actually payments made to 2 different fiscal years. They are easily calculated by adding the checks issued for payments between January 1st and December 31st of that year. Mortgage companies supply a year end recap that shows annual disbursements for real estate taxes.

How can I owe back taxes? My bill only shows that I owe for the current year?

Tax bills are issued for only the current fiscal year. Any taxes past due for the prior fiscal year are not included in the figures shown. Demand notices are sent to taxpayers when a balance is still due at the end of a fiscal year. By marking the new bills “plus past due” or “plus previous”, we are reminding them of that overdue balance and hope that it will prompt a call to this office. 

There’s no way my car is worth the value you have listed! How do I get this bill corrected?

All excise billing information is provided to municipalities from the RMV. They calculate value based on a decreasing percentage of the vehicle’s original manufacturer’s list price. The assessment remains constant once the value has been reduced to 10% of that original amount.

For more helpful excise information including a full list of the assessment formula, use the RMV link below.





Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday 9:00am - 3:00pm
Or By Appointment

Phone:413-566-2151 x104
Fax:      413-566-3513

Eva Wiseman, Tax Collector
Sheila Slate, Asst. Tax Collector