What types of exemptions are available to me to reduce my tax burden?

The State of Massachusetts offers a variety of exemptions for certain qualifying individuals, including elderly persons, blind persons, disabled veterans, a surviving spouse or orphaned minor child, a widow or orphaned minor of a police officer or fire fighter killed in the line of duty, and individuals with extreme medical and financial hardships. Exemptions are distinguished from abatements in that exemptions refer to the condition of a person, while abatements refer to an incorrect assessment of a property.
 
The qualifying date for all exemptions is July 1st, the first day of the Fiscal Year. Applications are due within ninety (90) days of the date of the postmark of the third quarter, or actual, tax bill. An additional qualification for all exemptions is ownership and occupancy of the property.
 
Because of the number and complexity of exemptions, the following information is intended to give you a general idea of what is available. If you suspect that you may be eligible for an exemption or have any questions, call the Assessor’s Office at 508-529-1002. 
 
Clause
 Basic Qualifications    
 Max Income
  Max Assets
 Exemption Amt
17D
Age 70 or older, Surviving spouse or orphaned minor
None
$40,000.00 
$175.00
41C
Age 65 or older – single
$20,000.00
$40,000.00
$1,000.00
41C
Age 65 or older – married 
$30,000.00
$55,000.00  
$1,000.00
37A
Legally Blind  
None
None
$437.50
18
Extreme Hardship
None* 
None* 
 

 

 Veterans:
22
 10% disability or purple heart
None
None
$250.00
22A
  loss of foot, hand, or eye    
None
None
$425.00
22B
 loss of two limbs or eyes 
None
None
$775.00
22C
 specially adapted housing
None
None
$950.00
22E
  100% disability      
None
None
$600.00
22F
   paraplegic   
None
None
100%
 
* Granted at the discretion of the Board of Assessors
 
The Tax Deferral Program
 
Unlike a property exemption, the tax deferral is a program which allows a homeowner to defer the payment of their tax to a later date, typically when the owner passes away or sells the home. If you are 65 or older and have an annual income not exceeding $40,000 you may defer up to 100% of your annual property tax. The taxpayer must enter into a Deferral and Recovery Agreement with the Board of Assessors. A lien is placed upon the property, and deferred taxes accumulate with simple interest at 8%. 
 
An Additional Alternative:  The Property Tax Work-Off Program
 
Beginning in Fiscal 2006, the Board of Selectmen adopted a program called the Property Tax Work-Off Program. This program allows older residents to reduce their property tax liability by up to $888 by volunteering to work in various departments of the Town. You must be aged 60 or older and possess the appropriate skill for the department requiring the assistance. If you think you might be interested in this program, contact the Council on Aging at 508-529-4558.