An exemption is a release from the obligation of having to pay taxes on all or part of a parcel of real property. Personal Exemptions are a deduction in taxes due to a particular personal circumstance and qualifications set forth in the Massachusetts General Laws. The burden is on the applicant to show that he or she falls within the expressed terms of the exemption provision.
Personal Exemptions must be filed no later than December fifteenth of each year or three months after the mailing of the first actual tax bill (usually in December), whichever is later.
Exemptions are granted for one year only. An application must be filed each year.
Full or partial exemptions are provided in the General Laws for the following persons:
- Elderly, Clause 41C
- Surviving Spouse (Widow/Widower), Minor Child of a Deceased Parent, Elderly - Clause 17D
- Blind - Clause 37A
- Veteran - Clause 22
- Tax Deferral - Clause 41A
- How To Apply
- Must be 70 years or older or joint owner with a spouse who is 70 years or older before July 1 of the tax year.
- Must own and occupy property on July 1 of the tax year. Also must have been continuously domiciled in Massachusetts 10 years prior to application and owned any property in Massachusetts for the preceding five years.
- Must have gross receipts minus social security allowance less than:$20,732 if single $23,912 if married
- Must have the value of the whole estate, not including the value of the home, be less than:
$44,632 if single
$47,786 if married
Exemption Amount: $500
- Must have Owned and occupied the property as of July 1 of the tax year.
- Applicants whole estate, excluding the value of the property, may not exceed $63,758.
- For Surviving Spouse exemption, must provide death certificate for deceased spouse dated prior to July 1. This need only be provided the first year of application.
- Birth Certificate (Minor Child)
- For elderly exemption, must have reached the age of 70 prior to July 1 and have owned the property for at least five years.
Exemption Amount: $322
- Must be declared legally blind as of July 1.
- Applicant must be registered with and obtain a certificate from the Massachusetts Division of the Blind as of July 1 or present a letter from their physician stating that the applicant was legally blind as of July 1.
- Must have owned and occupied the property as of July 1.
Exemption Amount: $500.00
- At least 10% Wartime service connected disability
- Owned and occupied the property as of July 1.
- Lived in Massachusetts 6 months prior to entering service or lived in Massachusetts for five consecutive years before filing for exemption.
- Must have certificate of disability from the Veterans Administration
Exemption Amount: Minimum $400 (most exemptions) Maximum $1,000 (Varies with type of veterans exemption)
- A tax deferral allows elderly taxpayers (over age 65),with annual incomes of less than $30,000 to defer payment on all, or portion, of their property tax.
- This deferral is not an exemption.
- The amount of the deferral, together with 8% annual interest on the deferred amount, must eventually be repaid when the property is:
- Transferred or upon the death of the owner
- The deferral becomes a lien on the property
- A tax deferral should be considered when a taxpayer's current expenses make the continue ownership of his/her home difficult.
- Taxpayers have three months from the mailing of the actual tax bill (usually in December) to file a Clause Exemption Application with the Assessors Office. Applicants should check the postmark of the Third Quarter bill envelope.
- Taxpayers must pay the full amount indicated on this bill by February 1, even if they have an application pending.
- If their application is subsequently approved, the amount of the exemption will be credited to their Fourth Quarter tax bill.
- A taxpayer may not receive more than one of these exemptions. If, however, taxpayers qualify for more than one of these exemptions, the Assessors will encourage them to apply for and receive the exemption which saves them the most money.
- The amounts of the exemptions range from $175 to $1,000, depending on the exemption type.
- There are other more specific exemptions (surviving spouse of police officers and fire fighters killed in the line of duty, paraplegic veterans) for which the Assessors can provide information.