Duties and Responsibilities of the Board of Assessors
- The Board of Assessors is responsible for determining the fair and equitable valuation of all real and personal property in the Town, in accordance with MGL Chapter 59, Section 38.
- The values generated by the Assessors are updated annually.
- The valuation date is January 1st.
- The values are reviewed and certified by the Department of Revenue after which time the Tax Rate is submitted and approved by Department of Revenue.
- The Board of Assessors creates the tax bills and commits the amount to the Town Collector. Real and personal property tax bills are issued Quarterly.
- The Board of Assessors also commit all motor vehicle and boat excise to the Town Collector throughout the year as the Registry of Motor Vehicles sends files to our office.
Some of the other services provided by the Board of Assessors office include:
- Hold Annual Classification Hearing
- Review and act upon abatement requests for real estate and personal property.
- Review and act upon abatement requests for motor vehicle excise. Review and act upon personal exemptions for real estate (Elderly, Veterans, Blind, Surviving Spouse).
- Review and act upon applications for classification of real estate as agricultural/horticultural, forestry or recreational chapter land
- Recommendation on Right of First Refusal from chapter land and prepare roll back calculations
- Provide property information to brokers, appraisers, attorneys and the general public
- Certify abutter’s lists.
- Update assessments based upon building permit work and maintain data base for ownership. Update Tax maps annually and GIS database Cyclical Inspections.
What the Assessors Do
The 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% of fair market value.
Assessors are required to submit these vales to the State Department of Revenue for certification every 5 years. Fiscal Year 2017 was the most recent certification for Monson. In the years between certification, assessors are required to do interim adjustments and maintain the values.
The Board of Assessors review sales and the market every year and thereby reassesses various areas of the town each and every year where the need is indicated. 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, on a yearly basis rather than every 5 years.
What the Assessors Don’t Do
The assessors do not raise taxes. The assessors do not make the laws which affect property owners.
Tax laws are enacted by the Massachusetts Legislature. Various guidelines and regulations to implement the legislation are established by the State Department of Revenue. The assessors, in short, follow the procedures established by others to set the value of property. Value comparable properties through their transactions in the real estate market place.
The Massachusetts Constitution requires that direct taxes on persons to be proportionately and reasonably imposed. In addition, the Declarations of Rights, Part 1, Article 10, requires each individual to bear his fair share of the public expense.
The Board of Assessors is required to annually assess taxes in an amount sufficient to cover state and local appropriations chargeable to the town. These taxes assessed will include state taxes which have been duly certified to the Board, town taxes voted by the town and all taxes voted and certified by the annual Town Meeting.
The Assessor’s Office has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected. The assessors’ primary responsibility is to find and list the “full and fair cash value” of your property, so that you only pay your fair share of the taxes. The tax rate is the basis for the budget needed or demanded by the voters to provide the services, such as schools, roads, and public safety. The tax rates are simply those rates which will provide funds to pay for those services.