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The 2020 market in Westborough was strong with low supply and high demand. This resulted in a sharp increase in property values in certain neighborhoods and price points. Bear in mind that not all segments of the market had a similar supply and demand ratio.
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You can't take your Q3 bill and multiply times 4.
The Fiscal Year begins on July 1st and runs until June 30th. The first two tax bills received on July 1st and October 1st are preliminary tax bills based upon the prior year's values and tax rate. The new Fiscal Year's assessments are set in the fall, the community determines if there will be a split or single rate and a tax rate set by mid-December. The tax bills sent by January 1st represent the Actual bills for the Fiscal year. These bills use the new Fiscal Year's assessment and tax rate to determine the total year's taxes due. The preliminary amounts are subtracted. The remaining amount is divided by two for the third and fourth quarters. This calculation results in the four quarters not being the same.
The total increase in taxes is $575.70
Many take the recent tax bill just received and multiply by four to calculate their total taxes for the year. In the example above, that would represent an increase of $1,151.40. You can take some consolation in that the next July's bill will be less than the bills just received.
Assessed values for Fiscal 2022 are as of January 1st, 2021. They are based upon the calendar 2020 sales of similar properties. The property that sold in your neighborhood last month is not considered in the current assessments. Unlike a "Fee Appraisal" for a mortgage, Assessor's utilize "Mass Appraisal". Assessors analyze an entire year's sales, looking at assessment to sales ratios and different property characteristics. The analysis compares similar properties using factors such as size, location, style, age, quality and condition. Utilizing a CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) system, they apply this analysis equitably across all the properties in Town. The effectiveness of this relies on accurate data to evaluate that people paid X for Y.
A word of caution, before proceeding. When filing for an abatement, assessments can go up if errors are found that need to be corrected.
Simply, value adjustments are not linear. The value calculations include all factors that go into a property. While houses may be similar, it is rare that they are identical. There can be differences in interior improvements, acreage, living area and condition. Living area and acreage valuation is also not linear and cannot be compared in that way.
The process to appeal is to file an abatement in the Assessor's Office. This must be USPS postmarked by February 1st. The appeal is on the total assessed value of the property. You cannot appeal the total tax amount, increase in tax amount or net increase in value. It is the final assessed value for Fiscal 2022 that can be appealed. Complete the application and explain to the Board of Assessor's what you think your property is worth as of January 1, 2021 and why.
It is recommended that you review your records prior (Online Database) to filing for an abatement. Occasionally, the inspection can reveal discrepancies in our data, such as missing finished basement or bath, that can result in an increase in value. You will then be contacted by the office to schedule a time for an inspection of the property. After the inspection, the Board will review the application and inspection information and vote to grant or deny an abatement. The Board has 90 days from the date of receipt of the application to act on the abatement.
If you find that your assessed value is at or below market value, the best way to impact your taxes is to get involved in the process. If you do not attend Town Meeting, you have missed the opportunity to vote and/or speak about the spending of the Town. Truly the opportunity to impact the spending is to get involved early. Pay attention to the Board of Selectmen's meetings. Town Meeting is the end of the process. The opportunity to impact the articles presented is to follow the process and speak up early.
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