An abatement is a reduction of property tax. It may be based on a reduction in the assessed value of taxable property, or a parcel may be exempted completely from the property tax based on ownership and use (a church, for example). A taxpayer must apply for abatement only for the current fiscal year and only if there is a dispute concerning the property valuation or the property classification. An application cannot be filed on taxes from previous years.
Reasons for abatements
Overvaluation - the assessed value is considered too high.
Disproportionate assessment - (pertains to entire property classes, not any individual unit or development)
Improper classification - for example, a property is classified as commercial when it is actually residential.
Statutory exemption - the property qualifies for exemption from taxation based on its ownership and use.
Who Can Apply?
The person to whom the tax has been assessed OR the person who acquired the property after January 1 can apply. An application may be filed for the current fiscal year ONLY.
Fiscal Year abatement applications must be filed after the 3rd quarter tax bill is issued and no later than February 1. Application forms are available at the Assessing Department, Room 301, and at the Taxpayer Referral & Assistance Center (TRAC), Mezzanine level, Boston City Hall or by calling (617) 635-4287. Abatement application forms are also available online immediately following the issuance of the Fiscal Year Third Quarter tax bill. Go to FORMS on the left column of this page.
For more details see Abatement Procedure under Related Links at right.
Assessing Department Actions
The Assessing Department attempts to process all abatement applications within three (3) months of filing. You will be informed of the status of the application through the following notices:
Notice of Approval
The Assessing Department will abate the amount specified in the notice. Overpayments based on the abatement will be reimbursed.
Notice of Denial
No abatement will be granted. A denial will be issued in cases where the Assessing Department has made a decision based on the merits of the abatement application, failure of the applicant to file an Information Requisition, or for reasons of inaction in cases where the department has not made a determination on an application within (3) months of its filing date.
Appeal to Appellate Tax Board
You have 3 months from the date the Assessing Department made the decision (to grant or denied an abatement for any reason including inaction) to file an appeal.
Appellate Tax Board (ATB)
100 Cambridge Street
Floor 2, Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114
Valuation Division: (617) 635-1141
Board of Review: (617) 635-4260
Assessing Abatement Appeal Review Team: (617) 635-2076