What is a Personal Exemption
As used in the context of real estate taxes, a personal exemption is a release from the obligation to pay all or a portion of the taxes assessed on a parcel of property. Exemptions are conferred by the state legislature (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 59, Section 5) on particular categories of persons or property. The categories of persons on whom exemptions are conferred, for their primary domicile and subject to certain qualifications, are listed below, together with an explanation of the eligibility requirements for each. Exemptions are not abatements in that they do not affect the valuation of the property, but simply reduce the taxes owed.
You must meet all eligibility requirements as of July 1st of the tax year (the fiscal year begins July 1st and ends the following June 30th).
An application must be filed with the Assessors each fiscal year where your property is located. The application is due on April 1st or three months after the actual tax bills are mailed, whichever is later. Filing on time is required. The filing of the exemption application does not stay the collection of the tax, which should be paid as assessed. An exemption, even if received in prior years, is not automatically approved/denied but must be specifically acted upon by the Board of Assessors. The Assessors' action is discretionary only insofar as they determine that an applicant, according to the documentation provided, does or does not meet the eligibility requirements. Notice of the Assessors' action will be sent to each applicant.
Please see Applications & Forms Fillable for all Exemption Applications.
Exemptions are granted only on the primary residence. Some exemptions are age-dependent and/or means-tested, as an applicant must provide information the Assessors deem to be reasonably required to establish eligibility. The information an applicant may be requested to furnish includes, but is not limited to: (1) birth certificates, (2) evidence of domicile and occupancy, and (3) income tax returns and bank statements. If your property is being held in a trust, you must submit the full trust documents showing you are a trustee and beneficiary, to be considered a qualified owner for an exemption. If you hold a life estate in the domicile, you are a qualified owner for an exemption.
Fiscal Year 2024 Qualification Information