City tax officials presented at the January 14th North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) meeting regarding the recent increase in the property tax. Representing the City’s assessing department were John Tagliatella and Richard Cohen. The department recently revalued 146,000 parcels including 56,000 condos as it does once every three years. The assessment of property was driven largely by recent sales through January 1, 2009. Overall assessments were down slightly, although officials noted the waterfront area of the North End received a substantial increase. This was due to several high-priced sales at Battery Wharf and some “catch-up” from conservative assessments in past years.
Officials indicated that the City raises the overall property tax levy by 2.5% each year, the maximum allowed under State law (Proposition 2 1/2). Officials indicated there are two factors that directly change an owner’s property tax: (1) a change in the assessed value and (2) a change in the tax rate. The tax rate is increased at the City’s determination between residential and commercial.
Property owners were encouraged to file for tax abatements if they believe their assessment is incorrect. The deadline to file for a tax abatement is February 1, 2010. Owners can also file for the residential exemption which is a $1,465 credit if they own and occupy a property as of the previous January 1st.
In response to a question, officials discussed the “see-saw” between commercial and residential taxes. When commercial property tax revenues are down due to the economy, the city tends to make up for it by increasing residential taxes. Officials noted the decrease in State and Federal aid has resulted in an overall increase for both residences and commercial properties.
Several residents were complementary of how their tax abatement requests were handled by the Assessor’s department and encouraged others to follow the process. Owners can also appeal to the State if they are not satisfied with results from the City’s abatement process.
Click here for forms and instructions on filing a property tax abatement. Remember, the deadline to file a tax abatement form is February 1, 2010.