In 1978 the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted a Constitutional amendment authorizing the General Court to classify real property into as many as four classes (residential, open space, commercial and industrial) and to tax such classes differently. The Department of Revenue supervises the implementation of property classification. In Boston, the determination to allocate the tax burden by class is made annually by the City Council, with the approval of the Mayor.
What are the classes of property?
Assessors in Massachusetts assign all real property according to its use. The four classes are: Residential, Open Space, Commercial and Industrial. Personal Property constitutes a separate class (see “What is personal Property?).
Includes all property containing one or more units used for human habitation. The class includes accessory land and buildings (e.g. pools, garages etc.). Single-Family homes as well as apartment buildings are in this category.
Includes land maintained in an open or natural condition that contributes to the benefit and enjoyment of the public. Such land cannot be held for the production of income.
Includes any property held for the purpose of conducting a business (e.g. office buildings, retail stores etc.).
Includes any property involved in manufacturing, processing or extraction. It includes utility real property used for storage and generation. Not all parcels of real property fall into the four classes. Some property has mixed residential/commercial use.