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Boston Property Tax Bills Rise Again

The average single family tax bill will increase by $150, according to city of Boston estimates.

The following information was provided in a press release from the city of Boston.

The city of Boston released property tax rates for fiscal 2012 on Wednesday.

The fiscal 2012 tax rate for residential property is $13.04 per thousand dollars of valuation. The rate for business properties is $31.92 per thousand.

Last fiscal year’s rates for residential and business properties were $12.79 and $31.04. The city’s total assessed value for fiscal 2012 is $88.5 billion, an increase of 2 percent from last year.

The total tax levy is $1.615 billion, an increase of $75 million from last year with $36.5 million of this growth resulting in new construction and properties being added to the tax base, according to a city of Boston press release. The remaining $38.5 million is the 2.5 percent increase allowed under the provision of Proposition 2 1/2. 

The average single family tax bill will increase by $150, to $3,305 from $3,155 last year for taxpayers receiving the residential exemption. This increase is slightly less than what residential taxpayers experienced recently (the increase was $221 last year, and $173 in the prior year).

The average residential tax bill in Boston is 27 percent below last year’s statewide average of $4,537. The city has a number of programs for eligible property tax owners to lower their tax bills, including, the residential exemption. This exemption is available to taxpayers who own and occupy their home. The residential exemption will save qualifying taxpayers $1,644.28 off their tax bills in fiscal 2012. 

In addition to the residential exemption, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has initiated other measures during his tenure to ease the property tax burden. They include increasing the property tax exemption for elderly taxpayers with limited incomes by $250 to $750 and lowering the age requirement for this exemption from 70 to 65.

Additionally, the city of Boston offers exemptions for qualified homeowners who are blind, surviving spouses, or veterans, (with a wartime service-related disability). The city also offers a tax deferral program for those elderly homeowners whose current expenses make the continued ownership of their home difficult. To qualify for fiscal 2012, taxpayers must be age 65 or older and have an income of less than $52,000 per year. The amount of the deferred taxes, plus interest accruing at a rate of 4 percent per year, must be repaid when the property is sold or upon the passing of the owner.

Boston introduced a new tax relief program this year for those members of the National Guard or Military Reserve currently serving overseas. Applicants who qualify for the National Guard Exemption will receive a full exemption for this fiscal year. To be eligible, applicants must be an active National Guard Member or Military Reservist serving in a foreign country during the fiscal year and own a property as his or her primary residence either solely, as a joint owner, or as a tenant in common.

The third quarter tax bills containing assessments and new tax rates will be mailed at the end of December. Payments for the third quarter bill are due Feb. 1.

Taxpayers with questions about bills may:

  • Visit the Assessing Department at l, Room 301,
  • Call the Taxpayer Referral and Assistance Center at 617-635-4287, or,
  • Look online for information about a particular property: www.cityofboston.gov/assessing

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