The Board of Assessors is the local agency responsible for the assessment and administration of all local taxes provided for by the General Laws of the Commonwealth. The Board consists of three members: the director of assessing, appointed by the chief financial officer, and two assessors, appointed by the City Council. Providing support for the Board are an appraisal staff and a clerical staff that are responsible for maintaining the Board’s informational database on properties and assisting the Board in its administrative duties.
There are four principal local taxes administered by the Board: real and personal property taxes, and motor vehicle and boat excise taxes. The assessors are responsible for determining assessments and calculating the appropriate amount for each type of tax. That information is then forwarded to the tax collector, who then assumes responsibility for issuing bills and collecting the tax. The Board is also responsible for processing requests for adjustments to the original taxes, and issuing any appropriate abatements.
The Board is supervised in its administration of local taxation statutes by the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services, as provided by Chapter 58 of the General Laws. Among other duties, the division reviews that Board’s assessment procedures every five years in order to certify that property is being assessed at its full cash value, reviews its revenue and spending projections to ensure compliance with Proposition 2-1/2 prior to approving a tax rate each year, and issues legal opinions and sets procedural guidelines that direct the assessors in the performance of their duties.