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Frequently Asked Questions
What is required in order to receive an abatement to Motor Vehicle Excise Tax?
  1. You must no longer hold title to the vehicle.  
  2. The registration must have been transferred to another vehicle, returned to the Registry of Motor Vehicles or filed as lost with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  
  3. A completed Application for Abatement form along with proof of the above requirements.
If you have moved within Massachusetts, please provide the date of move and a proof of residency before January 1 of the tax year or a copy of the Excise Tax paid from another community for the same tax year.

If you have moved Out of State, please provide a copy of your New Registration from the new state and the Plate Return Receipt along with the Abatement Application.

It is important that you notify the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles if you move and/or change the garaging location of your vehicles so that they can update their records, otherwise you will continue to receive Excise Tax bills from the Town of Boxford.

Once an Excise Tax bill is sent out on a particular vehicle it is recommended the bill is paid to avoid late fees and interest while waiting for the Abatement Application to be processed. Once processed a certificate will be mailed to you and then the refund, if applicable, will follow thereafter.

What is the current Tax Rate?
The current tax rate for Fiscal Year 2018 is $16.20/1,000 of value.  

When do I get my tax bills?
The Fiscal Year begins July 1 and runs through June 30. Real estate and personal property tax bills are mailed no later than June 30, and actual bills are mailed no later than December 31. Each mailing contains two quarterly bills. The preliminary bills consist of the first and second quarter of the fiscal year, and are normally due on or before August 1 (first quarter) and November 1 (second quarter). The actual bills consisting of the third and fourth quarter, are issued once the tax rate for the fiscal year is established in December. They are mailed no later than December 31, and are normally due on or about February 1 (third quarter) and May 1 (fourth quarter).  

What programs are available for for Senior Tax Relief?
There are numerous programs available to senior residents to apply for tax relief.  Age, Income and Asset requirements do  apply.  Some of the programs are:

  • Senior Work-Off Program
  • Legally Blind Status
  • Veterans
  • Hardship
  • Surving Spouse
  • Community Preservation Surcharge
Please inquire with our department for information of any of these programs.

Do I have to allow the assessor into my home?
No, however, when an abatement request is filed, it is part of the process to allow the assessors an inspection and it is in your best interest to do so. The Board appreciates the cooperation given by the majority of residents who permit an interior inspection of their residences. Inspections take only a few minutes and can be scheduled to accommodate the homeowner. The assessors must make a reasonable assessment of your property, including the interior, in order to arrive at fair market value. They will most likely estimate highest value and best use if they cannot enter the residence. Interior inspections improve the quality of the valuation process and diminish errors. This saves expense for the taxpayer and the town because fewer assessments are challenged.  

What is market value and who determines my property value?
Market value is determined by people, by the activity in the real estate market and the general economy. The value of your property is based on an analysis of the entire market for a specified period of time before the completion of the revaluation project. The market can generally be defined as, you, the person who sold the property to you, and the person willing to buy it from you. It is the assessor's job to research and analyze the values in any particular area or neighborhood. In effect, they do what you would do to determine the selling price when putting your property up for sale. However, the assessor has specific guidelines to follow during their research. Some factors that are examined for each property are: location, size, quality of construction, age of improvements, topography, utilities, zoning restrictions, if any. etc.

Does the Assessing Department have the correct information on my property?
You can review the information that the Assessing Department has collected on your property to make sure the data is accurate. While reviewing your property, you should make sure that all measurements on the sketch are accurate. Please note that all measurements are taken from the exterior. You should also check the land size and interior data to ensure accuracy.

Will my Assessment go up if I repair my property?
Normal maintenance will help retain the market value of your property, but generally will not affect your assessment.  

What will happen to my Assessment if I improve my property?
Generally speaking, improvements that increase the market value of a property will increase the assessment. The following examples are typical items that may increase the assessed value of your property.
  • Adding living area
  • Substantial modernization of kitchen or baths
  • Extensive remodeling
  • Adding features such as A/C, finished basement rooms, garages, pools, etc.

When may I apply for a Real Estate Tax Abatement?
Abatement applications may be filed when the first actual tax bill is received (December 31st each year). There is a thirty day filing period.