Helpful Terms

Commonly Used Assessment Terms

Abatement: A means by which a property value can be reduced. The application has to be filed on an approved form. It must be in the Assessors' Office no later than February first. Abatements are to be used to correct errors in assessments due to data errors on a particular property.

Appellate Tax Board: A quasi-judicial board for taxpayer appeal after the Board of Assessors has made a decision regarding an abatement application. Application must be made within 3 months after the date the Board of Assessors makes its decision.

Filing information is available at:
The Appellate Tax Board
100 Cambridge Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-727-3100.
Appellate Tax Board's website

There is a fee required for filing at this level. The fee for residential filings where the value is less than $1,000,000 is $100. Assessed values of $1,000,000 and above are .10 / 1,000 of value.

Decision: After review of the abatement application, the Board of Assessors makes its decision on whether or not to grant or deny the abatement or exemption.

Exemption: Provisions for certain qualifying taxpayers: elderly persons, blind persons, disabled veterans, surviving spouses or orphaned minor child, widow or orphaned minor child of police officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty, and extreme hardship.

Omissions and Corrections: The Board of Assessors has 3 months from the issue of the third quarter bill to correct omitted assessments or assessments that were disproportionately incorrect.

Proposition 2 1/2: A constitutional change to the law, which limits the amount that the levy can increase each year. It does not limit the amount an assessment can change or that taxes can go up. It limits the amount of money that a town can raise through taxation.

Quarterly Tax Bill: The property tax bill in the Town of Needham is issued four times a year. The first bill of the fiscal year is issued on August first. The bill issued in December and due February first is the third quarter or the "actual bill". This is the bill that shows the new assessment. It is the only bill on which an abatement application can be filed.

Tax Levy: The amount of money that must be raised through taxation to balance the town budget for the year. It is the difference between the actual budget amount and the number of monies raised by all other sources.