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Facts & Figures - Massachusetts

Property taxes for the state of Massachusetts.

The Bay State taxes all real and personal property unless specified otherwise by statute. This is done at the local level, and in fact, 73% of all locally raised revenue is derived from property tax. Compared to other states in which local governments receive on average 47% of locally raised revenue through property tax, Massachusetts is one of the highest property tax states in the country.

Property tax is calculated by the assessing the value of the property and the basing that number on 100% of the fair market value within the appropriate municipality. Property tax also depends on the class of the property such as residential, open space, commercial, industrial, and personal.

Real and tangible property taxes are due in two payments, the first half of which is due by November 1 of the assessment year or within 30 days within the tax bill’s mailing date, whichever is later. The second half is due by May 1 of the following year.

Unlike 27 other states in the nation, Massachusetts does not recognize homestead rights but it does, however, have a Homestead Act that allows an owner who occupies a primary place of residence to protect $500,000 in equity from creditors. All you have to do is file a Declaration of Homestead with your Registry of Deeds to protect your residence from economic hardship in the future.

The way it works is this: Say your state has a homestead exemption of $20,000, you own a property worth $20,000, and the creditors are on your back for an outstanding dept of $9,000. Since your property is worth $20,000, the creditors can’t attach your property as payment for this debt. However, if your home is worth $40,000 and you own $30,000, your creditors can get a court order that forces you to sell the property.

Of course, this is just a simplified explanation of a Declaration of Homestead. To learn more about what it entails, click here. However, if you’re curious about how Massachusetts laws apply specifically, this site has an extensive FAQ section as well as a link to the Registry of Deeds homepage and other contact information - SEC for MA

Massachusetts Department of Revenue



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