How are Real Estate taxes calculated?

It is the responsibility of the Assessors' Office to establish the taxable valuation of each individual piece of property in the Town. However, the Assessors do not create value. Buyers and sellers create value via their transactions in the marketplace. The Assessor analyzes the data and makes adjustments accordingly. At Town Meeting each year, a budget is voted on by Town Meeting Members taking into account the limits of Proposition 2 ½, and how much money will be needed to meet all appropriations and other expenses.

The difference between the amount approved and the money received from other revenue sources (i.e., state aid, local receipts, and available funds) must be raised by property taxation.

The valuation assessments are developed independently from the budget and are used only in the last step of the budgeting process to distribute the Tax Levy. Changing property values does not affect the overall Tax Levy, but it may result in the redistribution of the tax levy burden among all taxable properties in town. Annually, the Board of Selectmen establishes the fiscal year real estate and personal property tax rates. These rates represent a tax per thousand dollars of assessed value, which, when applied to each property's assessed valuation, yields that property's annual tax bill.

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1. How do I change my billing address?
2. Why is the previous owner's name on the Tax Bill?
3. How does the Assessors’ Office determine the value of my house?
4. What does 100% of full and fair cash value mean?
5. How is Mass Appraisal different from a Fee Appraisal?
6. What is the basis for determining residential property values?
7. Why do land values change at different rates from building values?
8. Who verifies that the assessing model used by the Town and the resulting property values are accurate?
9. How do I dispute my assessed value if I think it is too high?
10. What do the assessors look at when determining an assessment?
11. Why should I let the Town Assessing Department into my house for an inspection?
12. How are Real Estate taxes calculated?
13. How is the town able to raise my taxes by more than the 2 ½ % limit prescribed by Proposition 2 ½?
14. What if I cannot afford to pay my Real Estate taxes?
15. Why has my tax bill gone up more than 2.5%? Doesn’t Proposition 2 ½ limit the tax increase?
16. My assessment increased more than 2.5%. Doesn’t Proposition 2 ½ limit the amount my assessment can increase?
17. My neighbor told me not to let a representative from the assessors’ office into my house. Do I have to let the assessors into my house?
18. My neighbor does not allow the assessors in and I do. Am I being penalized?
19. Why do the assessors want to see the interior and exterior of my property?
20. Why did my assessed value increase when I did not do anything to the property in 5 years and I am not selling the property?
21. What percentage of market value are the assessed values?
22. Why did my assessment change a different percentage than the assessment on my neighbor’s house?
23. My assessment increased 20%. Does that mean my taxes will increase 20%?
24. I think my assessment is out of line with my neighbors’ property, whose property is assessed lower. I want my assessment to be as low as theirs.
25. There is an item on my tax bill called “CPA Charge”. What is that?
26. There is an item on my tax bill called “WIIF Charge”. What is that?