Introduction

This information is intended to help residential taxpayers understand how assessed values are determined. It explains the steps that you, as a single-family residential or condominium owner, may take if you are not sure that your assessment if fair or accurate. The information can help you begin to correct any problems you believe may exist. It also contains summary information about eligibility for property tax relief.

Board of Assessors

The Board of Assessors consists of three members, each elected for a three-year term. They are responsible for carrying out the state’s mandate to establish the fair market value of each property for tax purposes. The Board must follow state guidelines and must obtain state certification of the town-wide revaluation process. The Assessors Office assists the Board in its mission. The assessors are not responsible for mailing property tax bills, or collecting the taxes; that is the responsibility of the town tax collector, and is carried out after Town Meeting establishes the annual budget.

Revaluations

Determining the value of every property is called valuation. The assessors are required to value property at market value. Each property is revalued at least once every three years and inspected at least once every ten years in accordance with Massachusetts’s law. Occasionally town property sales indicate that market values have changed significantly in the past year. When this occurs, the Board is authorized to make interim adjustments. The next town-wide revaluation in Hamilton will be for FY2019.

Inspections and Property Records

To ensure a thorough and fair property analysis, the Board must evaluate the interior and exterior of the residence, the land upon which the residence is sited, the condition of the property, the location of the property, and the attractiveness to a prospective, arm’s length buyer. During the inspection process the property inspector records the key features, dimensions, and condition of the property. That information is entered into the property record card for the parcel. The Board uses the information from the property record card to determine the value of the property.

The Assessors Office assists the Board with property inspections, record maintenance, and data analysis.

The Assessors Office maintains the databse that contains all the information for all properties in town.These records are updated whenever there is a revaluation, property inspection, abatement, or exemption, sale of property, or when a building permit is issued.

AS ALWAYS, IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL THE ASSESSORS OFFICE.

Motor Vehicle Excise

If you are unsure about an excise bill, please call the Hamilton Assessors Office at 978-468-5574. We are here to help you; please do not ignore any bill.

Calculation of the Excise Amount

The amouth of the motor vehicle excise due on a particular vehicle in any year is calculated by multiplying the value of the vehicle by the motor vehicle excise tax rate of $25.00 per thousand. The value of a vehicle for the purpose of the excise is the applicable percentage for that year of the MSRP for that vehicle. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a vehicle is the price recommended by the manufacturer’s list price rather than the actual purchase price, which will control for purposes of calculating the motor vehicle excise.

The applicable percentages are set out as follows:

in the year preceding the year of manufacture
50%
in the year of manufacture
90%
in the second year
60%
in the third year
40%
in the fourth year
25%
in the fifth and succeeding years
10%

 

Handicap Exemptions

A person need not have a handicap plate to be eligible for this exemption. Alternatively, one who has a handicap plate is not per se entitled to an exemption. This exemption is available to a person who has suffered either (a) an actual loss or permanent and complete loss of use of both legs or both arms or (b) a permanent vision impairment of both eyes of the magnitude set out in CH.60A Sec. 1. The Board of Assessors requires an applicant for this exemption to provide a certification by a physician of the existence of the loss.

This exemption is restricted for each handicapped person to one vehicle at a time, owned and registered by the person for personal use. A person who owns more than one vehicle has the right to choose the vehicle upon which to obtain an exemption. A handicapped person who owns a vehicle jointly with some other person satisfies the ownership requisite for a full exemption.

Excise Tax Abatement

Assessors possess jurisdiction to abate a motor vehicle excise only if an application for abatement is timely filed. To be timely filed, an application must be received by the Assessors within three years after the excise was due, or one year after the excise was paid, whichever is later. Once registered in the year, a bill can be abated only if the vehicle is sold, traded, junked, totaled or otherwise disposed of, and the plates transferred to another vehicle or canceled. If the vehicle is disposed of and the plates not transferred or canceled, no abatement can be issued; or if the plates have been cancelled or transferred and the original vehicle is not disposed of, no abatement can be issued. The minimum motor vehicle abatement which may be made is $5.00. If a registrant otherwise qualifies for an abatement but the amount of that abatement is less than $5.00, no abatement may be made.

Other reasons for abatement are: If the vehicle is reregistered in another state and the Massachusetts plates returned; if the vehicle is overvalued; if there is a subsequent registration (the same vehicle registered by the same person more than once in the same year):incorrect place of garaging. There is no abatement for moving from one community to another within the state of Massachusetts. The bill is due to the community where the vehicle was originally registered in the year.The filing of an application does not stay the collection of your excise tax. It should be paid as assessed. Refund will follow if abatement is allowed.

Any question or for further information, you can contact the Assessor’s Office.