The Assessors are required by Massachusetts Law to list and value all real and personal property on an annual basis. Assessed values in Massachusetts are based on “full and fair cash value,” or 100 percent of the fair market value as of January 1 of each year. To arrive at “full and fair cash value,” the Assessors interpret the real estate market by analyzing property sales. This involves an analysis of market activity by each class of property. Assessors are required to submit these values to the State Department of Revenue for certification every three years.
In the interim years, Assessors must also analyze the real estate market and perform adjustments to values as needed. This requirement is so that the property owner pays his or her fair share of the cost of local government, in proportion to the amount of money the property is worth, on a yearly basis rather than every three years. In addition, the office administers statutory exemptions, abatements, and motor vehicle and boat excise. Finally, the Assessors compile the necessary tax policy data used in the annual tax classification hearing.