If you think that your real estate taxes are too high based on an error in how your home is assessed, you can file for a request to have your taxes reduced. The deadline to file for a real estate tax abatement is February 1, 2014, which is this coming Saturday. Therefore, one should get their application in by Friday. However, one might also want to check with their town assessor’s office to see if they will accept abatement applications on the following Monday.
Real estate taxes are paid to the town where the property is located. While the forms to apply for an abatement are available online, they should be brought to one’s town assessor’s office before the deadline.
Disputing the valuation of your home is not a waste of time. For example, I recently advised a family member to dispute her valuation because I found inaccurate information in public records. Someone from her town’s assessor’s office went to her house and it resulted in a $500 reduction on her tax bill.
Some home owners may qualify for real estate tax exemptions, as well. There are tax exemptions available to property owners who meet certain criteria as of July 1st 2013, which is when the current fiscal year started. Applications are due to assessors office of one’s town within 3 months of the mailing of your tax bill. Exemptions must be applied for yearly. One may qualify for a tax exemption if they are:
1. Are 70 years old (65 in some communities) and in financial need
2. Legally blind with supporting documentation
3. A widower or minor child with a deceased parent and in financial need.
4. A veteran (or their spouse) with a wartime disability with a wartime disability
5. If a homeowner(s) facing severe financial hardship
MassResources.org has a lot of information about tax exemptions and abatements. The commonwealth also has a page regarding abatements, as well. One should also always check with their town assessors office.
If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129. Michael Seward is a Certified Residential Specialist, a Certified Buyers Agent, a Certified Loss Mitigation Specialist, a Certified New Homes Specialist, and Green designee of the National Association of REALTORS®.