Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to most frequently asked questions. For more information, please call the Assessing Department's Taxpayer Referral & Assistance Center (TRAC) office at (617) 635-4287 or visit us on the mezzanine level of Boston City Hall.

Abatement Procedure

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What is an abatement?
What are the requirements for an abatement of real property taxes?
Abatement Procedure
What information will be requested when I file an abatement application?
Assessing Department Actions
Appeal to the Appellate Tax Board
Where can I obtain more information about abatements?

Assessed Values

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How are values determined?

Assessing Data Resources

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Is Boston property parcel data available to the public?
Is Boston property map data available to the public?
How can I obtain a property record card?
How can I obtain assessor (half-sheet) maps?


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What is a betterment?
Why am I being billed?
How was my betterment determined?
What are my payment options?
I have questions, who do I contact?
For further Information

Boat Excise Tax/ Mooring Permit

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Boat Valuation
How is the valuation of boats determined?
Boat Excise Tax Bill
I have not paid my 2015 excise tax bill. How can I pay my bill?
What happens if I do not pay my boat excise tax bill?
I did not get a bill. How can I get a bill sent to me so that I can apply for a mooring permit?
I paid my boat excise tax bill in XYZ town. Why I am receiving a bill from Boston?
How do you determine who gets billed?
Boat Mooring Permit
Boat Mooring Docking Compliance Law/ Ordinance
How do you make sure that everyone who moors a boat in Boston pays excise tax?
What happens if I moor my boat without a permit?
I need to apply for a mooring permit. What do I do?
This is my first time mooring my boat in Boston. How do I get a mooring permit?
I just purchased my boat. How do I get a mooring permit?
Who should I contact if I have other questions?


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What is Classification?
What are the classes of property?

Motor Vehicle Excise

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What is motor vehicle excise?
Motor Vehicle Valuation
How is the excise determined?
Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Payment
How do I pay the motor vehicle excise? Can I pay online?
Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Abatement
When is payment due?
What happens if my payment is late?
How does non-payment of motor vehicle excise affect license and registration?
How can I obtain a motor vehicle excise abatement form?
Under what circumstances might motor vehicle excise abatement be warranted?
What if I've moved out of Boston?
What if I sold my car?
What if I traded my car?
What if my car is stolen?
Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Exemptions
Am I eligible for any exemptions?
Questions & Information
Where can I get more information about motor vehicle excise?

Motor Vehicle Registration Law

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Compliance With Motor Vehicle Registration Law

Municipal Liens

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How do I get a municipal lien certificate?
How long does it take?

Personal Exemptions

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About Personal Exemptions
What is a personal exemption?
Who is eligible for a personal exemption?
How do I apply for personal exemptions?
Surviving Spouse, Minor Child of Deceased Parent, Elderly Exemption
What is the Surviving Spouse exemption?
What is the exemption amount for Surviving Spouse?
How do I apply for the Surviving Spouse exemption?
Blind Exemption
What is the Blind exemption?
What is the exemption amount for Blind exemption?
How do I apply for the Blind exemption?
Veteran Exemption
What is the Veterans exemption?
What is the Veteran exemption amount?
How do I apply for the Veterans exemption?
Elderly Exemption
What is the Elderly exemption?
What is the Elderly exemption amount?
How do I apply for the Elderly exemption?
Hardship Exemption
What is the Hardship exemption?
What is the Hardship exemption amount?
How do I apply for the Hardship exemption?
National Guard Exemption
What is the National Guard exemption?
What is the National Guard exemption amount?
How do I apply for the National Guard exemption?

Personal Property

Every business in the City of Boston is required by State Law to file a Form of List/State Tax Form 2 annually by March 1. All taxable personal property owned, held, or leased should be listed. (M.G.L. Chapter 59,  Section 29)

Contact Information:

Telephone: (617) 635-1165
Fax: (617) 635-4145 - Attn: Personal Property

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Electronic Filing Requirement for State Tax Form 2/ Form of List
What is Personal Property?
Can Personal Property be Exempt?
Where is Personal Property Assessed?
What is the State Tax Form 2/Form of List?
What if I miss the March 1 filing deadline?
I need to change my business personal property tax bill mailing address. How do I do that?

Property Identification

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What is a Ward and Parcel?

Property Taxes, Rates

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What are the fiscal year tax rates?
What are property taxes?
How is the tax rate determined?

Proposition 2½

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What is Proposition 2½? How does it limit property taxes?
How does Proposition 2½ affect my tax bill?
How does Classification work with Proposition 2½?
How does Proposition 2½ affect the tax rate?

Real Estate Taxes, Tax Bills and Payments

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Tax Bills
What's the difference between the calendar year and the fiscal year?
When are real property tax bills mailed and payments due?
What happens if I do not pay my tax bill?
I did not receive my tax bill? How do I request a copy of my tax bill?
What should I do if I recently sold my property, but I am still receiving a tax bill?
How do I change my tax bill mailing address?
Who is responsible for the taxes if a property is sold after January 1?
How can I change the tax bill to my name, after purchasing a parcel of property?
Why am I receiving 2 tax bills this year - 1 for my condo unit and 1 for my parking space - when I only received one tax bill for both the condo unit and parking last year?
Tax Payments
How can I obtain tax bill payments information?
Why should I pay interest on a late payment when I never received my tax bill?
What happens if the check I mail is returned due to insufficient funds, or signature?
What happens when a tax bill is paid, but you receive a demand notice for tax not paid or, you find out that you overpaid?
Tax Payments
Can I pay my real estate tax bill online?
Can I pay my real estate tax bill in person?
Tax Payment Records
How do I obtain PRIOR fiscal year taxes owed information?
How do I obtain CURRENT fiscal year taxes owed information?

Residential Exemption

Since 1983, the City of Boston has offered a residential exemption to homeowners that occupy their property as the principal residence.

Taxpayers who own and occupy their home can save on their tax bill by having a portion of their tax bill exempted from taxation. To qualify for the residential exemption, homeowners must own and occupy their home on January 1 preceding the start of the fiscal year.

The value of the exemption is subtracted from the total full valuation. The fiscal year residential exemption is 30% of the average value of all residential property in the City.

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What is the Residential Exemption?
Who Can Apply?
When must an application be filed?
How do I apply?
May other exemptions apply?
What is the Residential Exemption Review Process?
How is the value of the exemption calculated?
Compliance with Requirements
Appeal of Decision

Statutory Exemptions

An exemption from local taxation is a privilege allowed by the state legislature. It releases a property owner from the obligation to pay all or a portion of the taxes assessed on property. The law places the burden of establishing entitlement to an exemption upon the person or organization seeking an exemption.

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What is the charitable exemption?
What is the religious organization exemption?
How Do I Apply for a Statutory Exemption?
What is the deadline to file a Preliminary Consideration Requisition Form for statutory exemption?
What is the deadline to file a department-approved application for abatement?
Should my organization pay any real estate tax bills issued during the statutory exemption application process?
If approved for a statutory exemption, how will my organization receive reimbursement for the payment of tax bills?
What are the filing requirements for the Form 3ABC?

Tax Deferral for Elderly

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What are the requirements for Tax Deferral?
How long can I defer my taxes?
When must the deferred taxes be repaid?
When/where do I file?
I started deferring my taxes prior to fiscal year 2008, and was paying at an 8% interest rate. How can I get the new 4% interest rate?
If enrolled in the deferral program, can I still receive other exemptions (i.e elderly, veterans, blind, residential, etc.)?
For more information or how to apply:

Residential Property Field Inspections

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Who are the Assessors and whom do they reprensent?
What is the purpose of your visit?
Why is this visit necessary?
Can I say “no” to entry into my home?
Why are you doing this?
What are common questions I should expect from the Assessor?
What type of questions WILL NOT be asked?
Who can I call to learn more?