Each year, the Assessors have a constitutional and statutory duty to assess all real and personal property under Massachusetts General Law. Assessed values in Massachusetts are based on "full and fair cash value," or 100 percent of the fair market value as of January 1 of each year. To arrive at "full and fair cash value (defined as the amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller on the open market)," the Assessors with assistance from appraisal vendors, interpret the real estate market by analyzing property sales between buyers and sellers. This involves an analysis of market activity by each class of property.
Property is valued by the Assessors who determines the full and fair cash value of all property in town by performing data reviews and site visits. Local Assessors factor in all variables including:
- What the property is used for
- Size of the lot and
- Building size
If the Assessors determine that the prior year's assessed valuation no longer reflect a certain value because of changing market conditions, they have a legal duty to reassess accordingly. This requirement is in order to make sure everyone pays their fair share of the tax burden. The valuations are used to fairly allocate the taxes needed to fund each year's budget among the community's taxpayers.
Assessors are required to submit these values to the State Department of Revenue (DOR) for certification every 5 years in which the DOR reviews the community's values and certifies they reflect current fair cash values. Assessed valuations in the intervening four years must also reflect current market value.
The Assessors office also administers the statutory exemptions, abatements, motor vehicle and farm animal excises.
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