Personal Exemptions Summary
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.
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 Exemptions
You may qualify for one of the following property tax exemptions. Since only one of these exemptions is allowed each year, choose the one that provides the maximum benefit for you.
Clause 17D - Seniors, Surviving Spouses, or Minor Child of Deceased Parents
- A property owner must be over 70 years of age or older, as of July 1st, 2023; or
- As a Surviving Spouse, must have been married to the decedent at the time of his or her death and have never remarried; or
- Must be younger than 18 years or age to be a Minor Child
Value of Whole Estate, including vehicles must not exceed $40,000 (value of the primary residence is not included).
There is no limit income.
Clause 18: Hardship Exemption
Applicant must be unable to contribute fully to their tax liability because of one of the following:
- Reason of age, infirmity, and poverty; or
- Financial hardship resulting from a change to active military status
Qualification under Clause 18 and the amount of the exemption is at the discretion of the Board of Assessors.
Veterans Exemptions - Clauses 22, 22A, 22B, 22C, 22D and 22E
Provides an exemption to some veterans, their spouses who own the domicile, and their surviving spouses, and some surviving parents and spouses of active duty military personnel, who died during or due to military service. Veterans are individuals who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States for certain time periods during peace or wartime eras and were discharged from military service. Their last discharge or release must have been under other than dishonorable conditions.
Clause 22 - $800
- Veterans with a service-connected disability of 10% or more.
- Veterans were awarded the Purple Heart.
- Surviving parents of military personnel who died in military service (Gold Star Parents)
- Spouses (where the domicile is owned by the veteran's spouse), and surviving spouses (who have never remarried) of veterans entitled to exemption under Clause 22.
- Surviving spouses (who have never married) of World War I veterans as long as their assets (whole worth), less any mortgage on the property, do not exceed $20,000.
Clause 22A - $1500
- Veterans who (1) suffered in the line of duty the loss of permanent loss of use of one foot or one hand or one eye, or (2) received the Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross or Air Force Cross.
- Prisoners of war.
- Spouses (where the veteran's spouse owns the domicile) or surviving spouses of veterans are entitled to exemption under Clause 22A.
Clause 22B - $2500
- Veterans who suffered in the line of duty the loss of permanent loss of both feet, both hands, or both eyes.
- Spouses (where the veteran's spouse owns the domicile) or surviving spouses of veterans are entitled to exemption under Clause 22B.
Clause 22C - $3000
- Veterans who suffered total disability in the line of duty and received assistance in acquiring "specially adapted housing" which they own and occupy as their domicile.
- Spouses (where veteran's spouse owns the domicile) or surviving spouses of veterans entitled to exemption under Clause 22C.
Clause 22D - 100%
- Surviving spouses (who have never remarried) of (1) military personnel (including members of the National Guard on active duty) who went missing in action during active duty and are presumed to have died, or (2) military personnel (including members of the National Guard on active duty) or veterans who died as a proximate result of injuries sustained or illnesses contracted during active duty service.
- A surviving spouse must have lived in Massachusetts for at least 2 consecutive years before the tax year begins (or lived in Massachusetts for at least 1 consecutive year before the tax year begins, if the legislative body of your city or town has voted to accept this local option). If not, the deceased military or guard member or veteran had to have been domiciled in Massachusetts for at least 6 consecutive months before entering the service.
Clause 22E - $2000
- Veterans who have a service-connected disability of 100%.
- Spouses (where veteran's spouse owns the domicile) or surviving spouses of veterans entitled to exemption under Clause 22E.
Clause 37A - Blind Persons
Eligibility: As of July 1, 2023, an individual who is blind must own the property and occupy it as his or her primary domicile.
A Certificate of Blindness from the Commission for the Blind must be provided annually with the application for exemption.
Income: There are no income guidelines for Clause 37A.
Whole Estate: The are no whole estate guidelines for Clause 37A.
Clause 41C - Low Income Senior Exemption
Eligibility: 70 years of age or older by July 1st, 2023
- Exemption intended for low-income seniors
- Applicants must have lived in Massachusetts at their primary residence for 10 consecutive years and must have owned and occupied the current property for any 5 years
Income: less than $34,000 if married and less than $24, 000 if single
Assets: less than $55,000 if married and less than $40,000 if single
For additional information, please contact the Assessors' Office at Town Hall in person or by telephone at 781-275-0046.
Clause 44B – Community Preservation Act
(Amount: full CPA)
Eligibility: As of January 1, 2023
- Must own and occupy the property as your domicile on January 1st, 2023.
- Applicant and EACH co-owner must have income at or below the limit for that owner's household type and size for calendar year 2022.
- Must include income from all household members over the age of 18 who were not fulltime students during 2021.
Income: See Table Below
Asset: There are no asset guidelines for Clause 44B.
Required document(s): 2022 Federal & State Tax return(s).
|CPA Household Income Table FY 2024|
|Household Size||Senior 60+||Non Senior (under 60)|