Real Estate Abatements & Exemptions

More About Abatements

What is an abatement?

An abatement is a reduction in the assessed value of a property.

Abatement is granted for three reasons:

  • Incorrect owner
  • Incorrect information, such as incorrect numbers of bathrooms, being assessed for a shed that has been removed, or incorrect building size
  • Overvaluation - assessed value is more than fair cash value on January 1

*After inspection to determine correct information, an abatement may be granted.

Appraisal Methods

The state of Massachusetts requires standard appraisal methodology be used to value all real property in the city. The three approaches to value are:

  • Cost
  • Sales
  • Income approach

In valuing residential non-income producing properties, the sales approach to value is the most applicable. Like any appraisal, the taxpayer must submit at least three sales of properties similar in size, style, age and location to their own property as proof of over assessment.

For income producing property, the income approach to value is the most applicable when there is not enough sales data to do market analysis on these types of properties.

Abatement Procedures

  • A taxpayer must file an application for an abatement with the Assessor’s Office on a form approved by the Department of Revenue.
  • The time period for filing for an abatement is from the mailing of the third or “actual” bills in late December, until the due date of the January bill. The date the tax bill is due, is also the filing deadline for abatement applications.
  • Corrections to factual data can be made at any time; however, the change in assessment is applied to the next year’s bill if it is not done through the abatement process.
  • Corrections can only be applied to the current or future tax year, they cannot be applied retroactively.

Taxpayer’s Right to Appeal

  • A taxpayer aggrieved by the assessors’ action or failure to act on an abatement application may appeal to the Appellate Tax Board (ATB). The ATB is a state administrative board that hears taxpayer appeals on local and state matters.
  • A taxpayer must file an appeal with the ATB within three months of the date the assessors granted or denied the abatement, or the date the application was deemed denied if the assessors did not act. The ATB cannot hear an appeal if it is not filed on time.

You may contact the Appellate Tax Board by writing to:

Appellate Tax Board

100 Cambridge St., Suite 200

Boston, MA 02114

You may also contact them by phone at (617) 727-3100.


The following are exemptions that can be applied for through the following forms and delivered to the Assessor’s Office.

Clause 17D - elderly / widow / widower ($175.00):

  • Applicants must meet all three requirements
  • People over 70, widows and widowers of any age, and minor heirs

General Requirements: 

  • Elderly, must have owned and occupied the property as their domicile for 5 years

Asset Requirements: 

  • Assets cannot exceed $40,000 (excluding your home)
  • Bank statements (checking, savings, CD’s, IRA’s)
  • Stocks / bonds
  • Any other property owned by you (vacation home, vacant land, etc.)

Income Requirements:

  • None

Senior / Surviving Spouse Application

Clause 41C - Elderly ($750.00)

Applicants must meet all three requirements.

General Requirements: 

  • Must have owned and occupied property for the last 5 years and been resident of Massachusetts for 10 consecutive years

Asset Requirements:

  • Assets not exceeding $62,675 for a married couple (excluding your home)
  • Assets not exceeding $45,528 for a single person (excluding your home)
  • Bank statements (checking, savings, CD’s IRA’s)
  • Stocks / bonds
  • Any other property owned by you (vacation home, vacant land, etc.)

Income Requirements:

  • Income not exceeding $34,187 for a married couple.*
  • Income not exceeding $22,791 for a single person.**
    • Social Security allows an exclude-able amount that changes each year. Check with the Assessors Office for the amount.
  • Social security
  • Pensions / retirement
  • Wages
  • Income from rent
  • Interest

*Income requirements change yearly.

Senior Exemption Application

Clauses 22, 22A, 22C, 22E - Veterans

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Veterans with a service connected disability of 10% or more as determined by the Veteran’s Administration
  • Veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart
  • Gold star mothers and fathers
  • Spouses (where the domicile is owned by the veteran’s spouse) and surviving spouses of veterans who were entitled to an exemption under clause 22
  • The veteran must either have been a Massachusetts resident at the time of induction into the military, or have lived in Massachusetts for at least 2 years prior to filing
  • The veteran must occupy the property as his or her domicile as of July 1 of the tax year

An applicant must provide the following documentation:

  • Certification of a service connected disability from the Veteran’s Administration
  • Military discharge papers

Veteran’s Exemption Application

Clause 37A - Blind ($500.00)

  • An individual filing for Clause 37A must submit proof of blindness annually in the form of a certificate from the Commission for the Blind
  • The blind person must occupy the property as his or her domicile as of July 1 of the tax year

Blind Exemption Application

 Clause 41A – Seniors Tax Deferral

A property tax deferral defers payment of their property tax as a lien until the senior sells the property or passes away.  Interest on deferred taxes accrues at 6%.

An applicant must meet and provide documentation for all requirements.

 General Requirements:

  • You must have had a domicile in Massachusetts for at least 10 consecutive years before the tax year begins and be domiciled in the property.
  • You must be 65 or older as of July 1st in the current year.
  • You must own and occupy the property.
  • Your income (gross receipts) single or married for the previous calendar year cannot exceed $55,000.

Taxpayers Guide to Local Property Tax Deferrals

Seniors Tax Deferral Application

Clause 18 Hardship

Applications are reviewed by the Board of Assessors on a case by case basis due to Age and Infirmity and Financial Hardship.  For information on Clause 18 Hardships inquire at the Assessors Office in person or by phone (413) 572-6223 press 0.

Additional file:

Exemption Application for all first time applicants