Preliminary tax bills, mailed on October 1, have neither a value nor a tax rate. Both the value and the tax rate will appear on the actual tax bill, which will be mailed April 1.
Voters at the April 2005 Special Town Meeting accepted the provisions of MGL Chapter 59,§57C, which allows the Town to send out property tax bills on a semi-annual, basis. Under the semi-annual system, property taxpayers will be sent a preliminary tax bill each year on October 1 and the actual tax bill will be sent in April. The preliminary tax will be payable due in November. The preliminary tax amount for the new fiscal year will typically be one-half of the adjusted net tax owed on the property for the prior fiscal year. Also, all betterments are billed in full for the year on the October bill. Thus the installment due in November would typically be about one-half of the prior year's total tax bill plus any betterment due on the property.
Exceptions to this rule are for those properties where there has been a change in the property's condition that will result in a significant increase or decrease in valuation and taxes assessed in the new fiscal year. Examples of significant changes are new construction, land subdivisions, and condominium conversions.
Under the semi-annual payment system, interest on late tax payments will be charged for the number of days that the payment is actually delinquent. For example, if a payment due on November 1 is not made timely, interest will be charged from that date until the date the payment is made.
A taxpayer's right to seek an abatement or exemption is as follows: Once actual tax bills are mailed out in April, taxpayers wishing to contest their assessments must file an abatement application within 30 days of the date those bills were mailed. Applications for personal exemptions must be filed within three months of the date the actual tax bills were mailed.