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The primary responsibility of the assessor's office is the valuation of all real estate and real property in the Town of Stoneham. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, Section 38 the Board of Assessors must assess all property, real and personal, at full and fair cash value. These values are used as the basis of the local property tax. The office also processes abatements for the excise tax.
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There are several different types of personal exemptions available including exemptions for disabled veterans, the elderly, the blind and widows. Please contact the Assessors Office if you have any questions regarding what options might be available to you. View the Fiscal Year 2016 Tax Exemptions (PDF).
The excise tax is a tax levied on every registered vehicle and trailer within the state. The taxpayer must pay the bill to the community in which the vehicle is registered as of January 1st of each calendar year. The rate for excise tax is $25 per $1,000 in the valuation of the vehicle based off of the MSRP. The MSRP is reduced by a percentage according to MGL Chapter 60A for the first five years of the life of the car and then fixed thereafter. If a vehicle is sold, donated or junked, an excise abatement may be obtained with the proper documentation.
The Fiscal Year 2019 Real Estate tax rate is:
An abatement is a decrease in the assessed valuation of a property resulting in a reduction in the yearly real estate taxes. An exemption is a credit towards the real estate taxes due for a property as a result of the owner(s) qualifying for one of several available personal exemptions.
The Assessors office may want to inspect your property for several different reasons. First, all property within the community must be physically inspected in order to meet state guidelines. This is referred to as a cyclical inspection. The Assessors office also conducts its own inspections after a building permit is issued. The building permit inspections are usually conducted at a much later date than that of the Building Department.
On a yearly basis, all communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must adjust and respond to the sales data from the previous calendar year. The Department of Revenue requires that a full year of sales data be analyzed. With valuation approval required by December of each year, sales from the previous year are required. Therefore, assessed value is a historical value and not a present market value which could be greater or less than depending on current market conditions.
Proposition 2½ is a voter initiative law that limits the property tax levy of cities and towns enacted in the 1980 state election. It took effect in fiscal year 1982. Proposition 2½ limits the amount that a city or town can raise in local property taxes.
A property tax increase greater than 2 ½ percent can result from yearly valuation adjustments, tax rate classification (the establishment of split tax rates between residential and commercial, industrial and personal property) or additions or renovations to a property which increases the market valuation of the property. Furthermore, changes in market value are not always reflected evenly across property classes. It is common that different types of property (single family and multi-family), as well as styles (ranch and colonial), do not appreciate nor depreciate at the same rate.
The Assessors are required by law to send the tax bill to the owner of record as of January 1st of the tax year. The tax year is a fiscal cycle which runs from July 1st to June 30th. If you purchased the property before the tax bill is generated and the Assessor's office has receive your deed from the Registry of Deeds, the prior property owner's name will appear on the first line and the new property owner's name will appear on the second line as in care of.