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Real Estate Tax Exemptions

An exemption is a release from the obligation of having to pay taxes on all or part of a parcel of real property. Personal Exemptions are a reduction in taxes due to a particular personal circumstance and qualifications set forth in the Massachusetts General Laws. The burden is on the applicant to show that he or she falls within the expressed terms of the exemption provision. Exemptions are granted for one year only and an application must be filed to receive the exemption each year.

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Website - Learn about the tax circuit breaker program on state income taxes for eligible elderly taxpayers.
  • Property Held in Trust (20KB) - Important information if your property is held in trust or if you are considering placing your property in trust. This may affect your exemption eligibility.

Full or partial exemptions for taxes are provided in the General Laws for the following persons:

Clause 37A - Blind Exemption

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Blind - Clause 37A exemption:

  • Have been declared legally blind as of July 1st.
  • Applicant must be registered with and obtain a certificate from the Massachusetts Division of the Blind as of July 1st or present a letter from their physician stating that the applicant was legally blind as of July 1st.
  • Have owned and occupied the property as of July 1st.
  • Exemption Amount: $1,000.

Clause 41C - Elderly Exemption

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for an Elderly-Clause 41C exemption:

  • Have reached their 70th birthday prior to July 1st or if the property is jointly owned with a spouse, either spouse has reached his/her 70th birthday prior to July 1st.
  • Have owned and occupied the property as a primary domicile as of July 1st.
  • Have been domiciled in the Commonwealth for the preceding ten years and have owned and occupied said property or other real property in the Commonwealth for five years.
  • Provide a birth certificate.
  • Income verification - if single, gross income cannot exceed $24,381. If married, gross income cannot exceed $36,572.
  • Total Asset verification - if single, the whole estate both real and personal, minus the value of the domicile, cannot exceed $40,000. If married, the combined whole estate cannot exceed $50,000. Whole estate includes savings, stocks, bonds, and other real estate but does not include the assessed valuation of your residence, if it is of three dwelling units or less.
  • Exemption Amount: $1,400.

Clause 17D - Surviving Spouse (Widow/Widower), Minor Child of a Deceased Parent & Elderly

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Clause - 17D exemption:

  • Have owned and occupied the property as of July 1st.
  • Have owned and occupied the property for 5 years.
  • The entire estate of the individual, excluding the value of the property, cannot exceed $40,000.
  • Provide the death certificate for the deceased spouse, which must be dated prior to July 1st (Surviving Spouse).
  • Provide a birth certificate with application for Minor Child clause.
  • Have reached the age of 70 and have owned the property for at least 5 years (Elderly).
  • Exemption Amount: $350.

Clause 41A - Tax Deferral

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Tax Deferral - Clause 41A:

  • A tax deferral allows elderly taxpayers (over age 65), with annual incomes of less than $40,000 to defer payment on all, or a portion of their property tax.
  • This deferral is not an exemption.
  • The amount of the deferral, together with 8% annual interest on the deferred amount, must eventually be repaid when the property is either:
    • Sold, or
    • Transferred, or
    • Upon the death of the property owner.
  • The deferral becomes a lien on the property. A tax deferral should be considered when a taxpayer's current expenses make the continued ownership of his/her home difficult.

Clause 22 - Veteran with Service Connected Disability

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Veteran - Clause 22 exemption:

  • Have at least a 10% service connected disability within accepted era of service (113KB).
  • Have owned and occupied the property as of July 1st.
  • Have lived in Massachusetts 6 months prior to entering service.
  • Have lived in Massachusetts for five consecutive years before filing for clause.
  • Must have certificate of proof from the Veterans Administration.
  • Exemption Amount Granted: Minimum $800 (most exemptions), maximum $2,500.

How to Apply

Unless notified in writing to the contrary, taxpayers must pay the full amount indicated on each of their previous bills, even if they have an application pending. If their application is subsequently approved, the amount of the exemption will be credited to their remaining Third and/or Fourth Quarter tax bill.

PLEASE NOTE:

A taxpayer may not receive more than one exemption; however, if a taxpayer qualifies for more than one exemption, the Assessor will grant the exemption of the largest value.

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