Abatement Procedure

This notice explains the procedure for obtaining an abatement of property tax.

An abatement is a reduction of a property tax based upon a reduction of the assessed value of the property. An abatement must be applied for each year in which there is a dispute regarding valuation.

In Falmouth bills are mailed twice a fiscal year but the statutory abatement procedure applies only after the issuance of a first "actual" (not estimated or prelinary)tax bill of the fiscal year.

Reasons for Abatement


  • Exemption
  • Improper Classification
  • Overvaluation

Who May Apply for an Abatement


As a general rule, the person to whom the tax has been assessed may file an application for abatement, or the person acquiring title after January 1st to which the tax applies.

Application Procedure


Application forms are available at the Assessing Department and online.

Applications for abatement are due the same day the tax is due. To determine the date the tax bill was issued, check the tax bill.

The application must be filed with the Assessing Department or postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service (Not FEDEX, private postage meter, etc.) prior to the close of business on the due date. No abatement can be granted unless the application is filed on time in writing on the form approved by the commissioner (Faxed duly signed copies are acceptable).

Payment of Tax


Pay the amount of tax indicated on the bill on or before the due date. Interest will be due from the issue date if the payment is received late.

If the total tax on real estate is over $3,000, the tax must be paid before interest accrues in order to maintain the right to appeal a decision of the Assessing Department to the Appellate Tax Board.

There are procedures available through the Appellate Tax Board, which will allow a taxpayer to extend the time of payment of the second half tax. There is also an alternative three-year average method of payment. A taxpayer should seek professional advice before utilizing these options. The use of these alternatives does not halt the tax collection process. Any unpaid balance will accrue interest and fees.

Additional Information Request


The Assessing Department is authorized by law to request information necessary to determine the fair cash value of the property. To preserve your right to abatement, you must provide all information requested by the Assessing Department. Failure to respond to an information request within thirty days of the request will result in a denial of the application and may bar an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board.

Action by the Assessing Department


The Assessing Department attempts to process all abatement applications within three months of filing. You will be informed of the status of the application through one of the following notices:
  • Notice of Approval: The Assessing Department will abate the amount specified will be reimbursed.
  • Notice of Denial: No abatement will be granted.
  • Inaction Notice: Indicates that the abatement application has not been processed within three months of its filing and that the application is deemed denied by operation of law.
Every effort is made by the Assessing Department to render a decision on every completed application within the prescribed period.

Appeal to Appellate Tax Board


If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Assessing Department, or if the application is deemed denied, you may file an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board.

The Appellate Tax Board is a state administrative board located at:
100 Cambridge Street
Suite 200
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-727-3100

You may elect to file an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board if:
  • You are not satisfied with the amount of abatement granted.
  • You disagree with the decision of the Assessing Department to deny the abatement application.
  • You have agreed to an abatement recommended by the assessor but have not received an abatement certificate, or an abatement refund.
The proper forms for an appeal can be obtained at the Appellate Tax Board. The Assessing Department does not have the forms for an appeal.

An appeal to the Appellate Tax Board must be filed within three months after the date of the decision of the Assessing Department granting or denying abatement. If no decision was made, or if you received an inaction notice, the appeal must be filed within six months of the date of filing the original abatement application. For further information about the Appellate Tax Board, visit their website.

Questions


Personnel are available to assist in answering any question or concerns about your property tax assessment:
Assessing Department
59 Town Hall Square
Falmouth, MA 02540

Phone: 508-495-7380

The assessing office is open Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.