Understanding the Massachusetts Homestead Exemption Regarding Property Taxes
Property tax may be just another bill you have to pay, but it can set you back considerably—especially in Massachusetts as one of the states with the highest property tax rates. An average property tax payment in the Bay State is $4,899 per year. To put this in perspective, in Hawaii—one of the states with low property taxes—the average is $1,945.
Before you move to Hawaii, there is something you can do to lower your property taxes in Massachusetts. We’ll explain how the Massachusetts homestead exemption for property taxes fits in this picture and introduce you to various money-saving strategies—exemptions and otherwise.
What Is a Homestead?
Homestead may refer to the primary residence you own and live in. Some states, such as New Jersey, have homestead property tax exemptions and provide property tax relief for these homeowners. Homestead can also refer to one of the requirements you have to meet to be eligible for other exemptions.
Another meaning of homestead has nothing to do with property taxes. A homestead status relates to the protection from creditors in case of bankruptcy for your primary residence. Since 2011, every Massachusetts homestead homeowner is automatically protected up to $125,000 in equity. Additionally, if you file for a homestead exemption, your home can be protected for up to $500,000.
A Breakdown of Property Taxes in Massachusetts
If you own property, you have to pay property taxes. In Massachusetts, cities collect property taxes, and they also determine tax rates. How much you need to pay in taxes depends on the tax rate in your location and the assessed value of your home.
Check out the tax rates in various Massachusetts counties in the table below:
|County||Average Property Tax Rate|
Local authorities use property tax money to fund:
- Public schools
- Fire departments
- Police departments
- Road maintenance
- Public recreation facilities
Property Tax Exemptions Massachusetts Residents Can Apply For
If you often need help paying property taxes, you can apply for Massachusetts property tax exemptions. Exemptions essentially release you from paying all or part of your taxes.
You may be eligible for the following exemptions:
- Blind persons
- Senior citizens
- Surviving spouses, minor children, and elderly people
- Religious and charitable organizations
- Low-income homeowners
Massachusetts also offers property tax deferrals that help you postpone the paying off of your taxes. There are:
- Financial hardship property tax deferral
- Senior property tax deferral
Obtaining Property Tax Exemptions in Massachusetts
Exemptions can be complicated. You need to meet all the required criteria, collect numerous documents to prove you are eligible, and apply following the set due dates. The starting point is to be familiar with the basic requirements of the exemptions you can qualify for, as presented in the table below:
|Property Tax Exemption||
|Surviving spouses, minor children, and elderly people||
Lower Property Taxes With DoNotPay—The Ultimate Money-Saving Expert
Once you know the basics of the Massachusetts property taxes and exemptions, DoNotPay can help you with the rest! We’ll generate a guide to assist you in claiming an exemption.
Get your personal property tax guide in the following way:
- Access DoNotPay from a web browser
- Find our Property Tax product
- Type in a few details about yourself
- Provide the necessary info regarding your property
What you’ll get from our guide is much more than plain facts you can find online. We apply your personal and property-related info to create helpful guidelines to reduce your tax bill.
The guide covers:
- Massachusetts property tax exemptions
- Rundowns on the property tax exemptions you are eligible for
- Instructions for gathering the necessary paperwork
- Steps for submitting your applications
- Property assessment appeals
- Ways of negotiating with your tax assessor
- Instructions for appealing property assessments
How Else Can I Save Money on Property Taxes?
Aside from getting our property tax guide to apply for exemptions or appeal your assessment, you can do more to lower your tax bill, such as:
- Postpone major home improvements
- Make sure you get a fair assessment by being present
- Research comparable homes in your neighborhood
- Check your tax bill thoroughly
- Stay up to date with property tax exemptions
If you plan on moving or purchasing a property in another state, looking into property taxes is crucial, and we can help you with that. Understand how taxes work and get familiar with exemptions and other tax relief programs by checking out our articles on different U.S. states, including Ohio, Georgia, Oregon, Louisiana, and South Carolina.
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