Well, if you own Boston condo or home and reside in it as your primary residence, you can! It’s called a “residential exemption” and the $1600 comes right off your Boston property tax bill.
The reason why I bring this up is that I’ve had quite a few clients recently who were surprised by this tax exemption offered by the city of Boston (and, if you don’t live in Boston, a similar type exemption is also offered in 12 other Massachusetts cities: Barnstable, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Malden, Marlborough, Nantucket, Somerset, Somerville, Tisbury, Waltham, and Watertown). Since I don’t want anyone to miss out on a free $$1,594.85 (to be exact this year – it adjusts slightly each year), here are the details:
What is a residential property tax exemption?
The City of Boston offers a residential property tax exemption on a Boston condo or house that serves as a home owner’s principal residence. To be eligible for Fiscal Year 2011 (from July 1, 2010 thru June 30, 2011), the owner must have occupied their property as their principal residence on January 1, 2010. For the purpose of this exemption, the principal residence is the address from which your Massachusetts income tax return is filed.
It’s basically a strategy that Boston uses to encourage more Boston real estate owners to live in their homes or condos in Boston rather than rent them out as investment property. If you haven’t yet…make sure to take advantage!
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How to apply for the City of Boston residential property tax exemption:
In person: You can pick up an application form at the Assessing Department, Room 301, City Hall (map) or at the Taxpayer Referral & Assistance Center (TRAC), Room M5, City Hall. The TRAC is open Monday through Friday from 9am – 5pm.
Online: The Residential Exemption application will also be available online (January 1, 2011 – March 31, 2011 ONLY) at: http://www.cityofboston.gov/assessing/resexempt.asp
Then fill out and return the completed application to:
Assessing Department – Room 301
City Hall, Boston, MA 02201
Note: The filing deadline is March 31, 2011
For more information please see: Residential exemption information (pdf) or visit the City of Boston website.