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Southbridge Board of Assessors

Chairman: Wil Cournoyer
Contact Person: Wil Cournoyer
Staff: Mark Genereux, Francine Farland
Board of Assesors: Wil Cournoyer, Chairman; Fran Bousquet, & Kara Donovan
Email: wcournoyer@southbridgemass.org
Phone: 508-764-5404 Fax: 508-764-5407

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Office Hours:
Monday8:00am to 4:00pm
Tuesday8:00am to 4:00pm
Wednesday8:00am to 4:00pm
Thursday8:00am to 8:00pm
Friday8:00am to 12:00pm




The fiscal year 2014 tax rate has not yet been determined by the Board of Assessors. This process occurs in December of each year.

The Board of Assessors are required by Massachusetts Law to list and value all real and personal property. The valuations are subject to ad valorem taxation on the assessment roll each year. The "ad valorem" basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed "according to value", which is the definition of ad valorem. Assessed values in Massachusetts are based on "full and fair cash value", or 100 percent of fair market value.

Assessors are required to submit these values to the State Department of Revenue for certification every three years. In the years between certification, Assessors must also maintain and update the values based on market conditions. This is done so that the property taxpayer pays his or her fair share of the cost of local government, in proportion to the amount of money the property is worth.

In addition, the Assessors administer Motor Vehicle Excise Taxes and betterments. The Assessors also manage all of the billing administration for the Town of Southbridge water and sewer system.

The Assessors do not raise or lower taxes. The Assessors do not make the laws, which affect property owners. The Massachusetts Constitution requires that direct taxes on persons be proportionately and reasonably imposed. In addition, the Declaration or Rights, Part I, Article 10, requires each individual to bear his fair share of the public expenses.

The Assessors are required to annually assess taxes in an amount sufficient to cover the State and Local appropriations chargeable to the Town. These taxes assessed will include local appropriations voted by the Town Council.

The Assessors Office has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected. The Assessor's primary responsibility is to find the "full and fair cash value" of your property, so that you may pay only your fair share of the taxes. The tax rate is determined by all the taxing agencies within the community, and is the basis for the budget needed to provide for services, such as schools, roads, fire, law enforcement, etc. The tax rates are simply those rates, which will provide funds to pay for those services.

WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH THE ASSESSED VALUE OF MY PROPERTY?

If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessed value, by all means go to the Assessor's office and collect pertinent data to support your opinion. The Board of Assessors will be glad to answer your questions about the reassessment procedures. When questioning the assessed value, ask yourself these questions:


  • Is my data correct?
  • Is my value in line with similar properties?
  • Is my value in line with recent sale prices in my neighborhood?

Keep in mind what's important: recent sale prices, condition, neighborhood, building square footage and lot area are the most critical factors in the valuation process. There is a variety of information available to help you determine whether your assessment is fair and equitable. The Assessors and their staff will be happy to assist you.

If after discussing the matter with the Assessors or their staff, and researching the assessments of comparable properties within your area, a difference of opinion still exists, you may appeal your assessment to the Board of Assessors by filing an abatement application.

Southbridge is on a quarterly billing system. The first two bills are preliminary tax payments based on your prior year's taxes. The notice of third payment, referred to as the "actual tax bill" is when the filing period for abatement applications commences. The third tax bill (actual bill) is usually issued the end of December. The application for abatement must be filed with the Board of Assessors no later than February 1 or have a United States Post Office postmark of no later than February 1.

The information regarding filing an abatement or exemption application is also on your tax bill. The application must be on file or postmarked in the Assessor's office by that date. You are appealing your assessment, not your taxes. You must pay your taxes pending your appeal.

The Assessors have three months to take action on your abatement application. If it is approved, you will receive a certificate indicating the amount of the abatement. If your tax bill has a balance to be paid, the abatement will credited to your next payment. If your tax bill is paid in full, you will be sent a refund check. If your application is denied, you will receive a notice of denial. You may call and set up an appointment to meet with the Board of Assessors to discuss the reason for the denial. Or you may appeal to the State Appellate Tax Board (ATB) within three months of the date of the Assessors decision. They are located at 399 Washington St., Boston, MA 02108 (617-727-3100) The Assessors Office is located on the first floor of the Town Hall at 41 Elm Street in Southbridge. Office hours are from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Wednesday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Thursday, and 8:00 AM to12:00 PM on Friday. The telephone number is 508-764-5404. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

FISCAL YEAR 2014 TAX ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

As provided by state law, the Board of Assessors administers tax assistance programs for various eligible taxpayers. These programs are summarized briefly below. Any additional information and the necessary application can be obtained by contacting the Assessor's office at 508-764-5404.

Applications must be filed within three months of the mailing of the actual (third quarter) tax bill and be received in the Assessors office by April 1, 2014.

Exemptions cannot be granted if an application is not filed, so be sure to file promptly. All exemptions are granted on an annual basis so applications must be filed annually.

PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS FROM REAL ESTATE TAX

ELDERLY, SURVIVING SPOUSE, MINOR CHILD (CLAUSE 17D)

To qualify, a taxpayer:

  • must be over 70 years of age as of July 1, 2013 OR must be a surviving spouse OR surviving minor child AND
  • must own and occupy the property for at least the five preceding years, AND
  • must have a whole estate (the value of personal property less domicile) of less than $40,000.

UPON APPROVAL, TAXPAYER IS ENTITLED TO A $175.00 EXEMPTION.

AGE, INFIRMITY AND FINANCIAL HARDSHIP (CLAUSE 18)

Any taxpayer who cannot meet his/her real estate tax obligation due to AGE AND INFIRMITY AND INSOLVENCY may apply for this exemption. To qualify the applicant must present evidence to the Board of Assessors which corroborates the individual's infirmity AND age AND inability to pay the assessed tax.

DISABLED VETERAN (CLAUSE 22, 22E)

CLAUSE 22
To qualify, the taxpayer must:

  • be a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran AND:
  • have a service connected disability of 10% or more OR
  • have been awarded the Purple Heart OR
  • be a veteran of the Spanish, Philippine or Chinese Expedition OR
  • be a parent of a veteran who lost their life during wartime service
  • be a surviving spouse of a WW1 Veteran

UPON APPROVAL, TAXPAYER IS ENTITLED TO A $400.00 EXEMPTION.

CLAUSE 22E

To qualify, the taxpayer must be a veteran who has:

  • been certified by the Veterans Administration to have a 100% disability. A certificate of 100% disability must be filed annually.

UPON APPROVAL, TAXPAYER IS ENTITLED TO A $1000.00 EXEMPTION

BLIND PERSONS (CLAUSE 37)

To qualify, a taxpayer:

  • must be a legal resident of the Commonwealth,
  • own and occupy the property as his/her domicile, AND
  • file Proof of Blindness each year with the application.

UPON APPROVAL, THE TAXPAYER IS ENTITLED TO A $437.50 EXEMPTION.

FOR OLDER CITIZENS (CLAUSE 41C)

To qualify, a taxpayer:

  • must be over 70 years of age as of July 1, 2013 AND
  • must own and occupy the property as of July 1, 2013 for at least the five preceding years AND must have been continuously domiciled in Massachusetts for the 10 preceding years
  • all co-owners must have a whole estate (the value of personal property excluding domicile) of less than $28,000 if single, $30,000 if married AND
  • gross receipts; if single - after the 2013 social security allowance of $4,308 must be less than $13,000; if married - after the 2013 social security allowance of $6,462 must be less than $15,000

UPON APPROVAL, TAXPAYER IS ENTITLED TO A $500.00 EXEMPTION.



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