Charles River Law Partners LLC
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News and Updates

Residential Tax Exemption: New Rules and Application Deadline for Boston Homeowners


If you own a home in Boston, the city offers a residential tax exemption so long as you occupy the property as your principal residence. This residential exemption reduces the overall real estate tax bill by exempting a portion of the property's value from taxation.

Boston homeowners who qualify for the exemption can enjoy a discount of up to $2,538.47 off their total annual tax bill in fiscal year 2018. As an example, the residential exemption effectively cuts the annual tax rate on a $500,000 home in half.

New Application Procedure

Until recently, the residential exemption on a property was typically renewed automatically following a sale so long as the new homeowner also qualified for the exemption.

Beginning this fiscal year, new homeowners of record on January 1, 2017 may be required to submit an application for the residential exemption even if the previous owner enjoyed the exemption. If you were a new homeowner in January 1, 2017 you may have received a letter from the Boston Assessing Department together with an application for the 2018 residential exemption. In order to receive the residential exemption for fiscal year 2018, you must complete the application and return it to the Assessing Department. Failure to apply by the deadline can result in removal of the residential exemption.

Regardless if you were a new homeowner in January 2017, if you receive a letter from the Boston Assessing Department regarding your residential exemption for fiscal year 2018, review it carefully and do not throw it away. If you threw it away or ignored it, contact the Assessor's Department right away to determine whether you are required to apply.

To Qualify

To qualify for the residential exemption in fiscal year 2018, you must have owned property in the City of Boston and occupied it as your principal residence as of January 1, 2017. You may be required to provide your social security number and other information so the Assessor's Department can verify your principal address as of January 1, 2017.

Search the Assessor's Database

Search for your property at the City of Boston Assessor's website here. Once you have entered your address and clicked the link for "details", you should see your property's assessed value, description, together with various exemptions and abatement information. If you qualify, download the application and return it to the Boston Assessor's Department.

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Application Deadline

Assuming you qualify, the deadline for filing an application for residential tax exemption in the City of Boston is April 2, 2018.

Boston is not the only municipality to offer residential tax exemptions. Many towns and cities throughout Massachusetts offer tax exemptions of various kinds. If you are unsure whether you qualify for a tax exemption of any kind contact your town's tax assessor's department.

If you have general real estate questions, or if you are considering selling, purchasing, or refinancing real estate anywhere in Massachusetts, contact our office today!


Christopher Vaughn-Martel