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Real estate is the physical land and all that's affixed to it. The tax on it is an ad valorem (based on value) tax and that tax funds the government. Approximately 75% of the Town of Stoughton's budget (including schools) is funded through property tax.
It is the responsibility of the Assessor's Office to establish the taxable valuation of each individual piece of property in the Town. However, the Assessor's do not create value. Buyers and sellers create the value via their transactions in the marketplace. The Assessors have the legal and moral responsibility to study those transactions and assess the property accordingly.
At Town Meeting each year a budget is voted on by Town Meeting members taking into account the limits of Proposition 2 ½, and how much money will be needed to meet all appropriations and other expenses. The Assessors have no control over the Town's Budget.
The difference between the amount approved and the money received from other revenue sources (i.e. state aid, licensing fees, permits, automobile excise taxes) must be raised by property taxation.
The valuation assessments are developed independently from the budget and are used only in the last step of the budgeting process to distribute the Tax Levy. Changing property values does not affect the overall Tax Levy, but it does redistribute the levy. The Assessors calculate the annual tax rate as a means to distribute the Town's budget obligations.
The tax rate is calculated by taking the total tax to be levied and dividing by the total valuation of taxable property. This results in a tax rate expressed in dollars per thousand dollars of valuation.
Questions regarding the payment of your bill can be directed to the Office of the Treasurer/Collector at 781-341-1300, ext. 9225.
The appeal process for disputing your property tax bill is via the Abatement Procedure. The application is available at the Assessor's Office in Town Hall and must be filed within 30 days from the mailing of the third quarter tax bill. No abatement can be granted unless the application is filed on time.
Filing an appeal does not put your tax payment on hold. Tax payments need to be rendered in a timely manner in order to protect further appeal rights to the State.
If you think your assessed value is wrong you must provide your opinion of value on the abatement application. You may attach an appraisal to the application to support your opinion of value, but you must realize it is another appraiser's assumption and may have been influenced by the purpose of the appraisal.
The Board of Assessors has 90 days from the date the application was received to act on the appeal. Each and every appeal will receive written notification of the Assessor's action.
Any amendment to taxes paid is adjusted on the third and fourth-quarter tax bills. If there has been an overpayment, a refund is generated at the close of the fiscal year (June 30).
If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Board of Assessors, you may file an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board, but this must be done within 3 months of the Assessor's decision.
For further information contact the Assessor's Office at 781-341-1300, ext. 9238.
Proposition 2 ½ is the title given to an initiative petition adopted by voters in Massachusetts in 1980.
The principal features of Proposition 2 ½ are related to the total amount of property taxes which a city or town can raise each year. It contains two limitations on the amount of property taxes to be raised:
The levy limit provision of Proposition 2 ½ affects the total amount of taxes to be raised by the town. It does not apply to an individual tax bills.
Whether the tax rate for a community will increase or decrease from the prior year will depend upon the levy decided upon by the community. It also depends on whether property values appreciate, depreciate or remain steady in the particular community.