Each fiscal year the tax rate is applied to the 3rd Quarter tax bill.
What are property taxes?
The major source of revenue for the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts is the property tax. The property tax is an "ad valorem" (based on value) tax. The tax is apportioned to individual properties based on the value of the property. In Massachusetts, estimates of value are called assessments. The assessment of a large number of parcels for property tax purposes constitutes a highly specialized field of appraisal. In Massachusetts, the property tax is assessed on real and personal property to the person who is owner on January 1.
How is the tax rate determined?
The tax rate for residential property is determined by taking the residential share of the property tax levy (the amount of the total tax dollars to be paid by residential owners) and dividing that amount by the total assessed value of all residential properties. The same procedure is also used to determine the tax rate for commercial/industrial and personal property owners.
Prior to the Classification Amendment of 1978, there was just one tax for all properties. Classification allows for the shifting of a portion of the tax burden of residential property onto commercial/industrial and personal property.