Property Tax Exemptions & Deferrals

WHAT TYPES OF EXEMPTIONS (REDUCTION OF REAL ESTATE TAXES) DOES THE CITY OF QUINCY OFFER?

A variety of exemptions is available to reduce property tax obligations for certain qualifying taxpayers: elderly persons, blind persons, disabled veterans, surviving spouse, or orphaned minor child, surviving spouse or orphaned minor of police officer or fire fighter killed in the line of duty and extreme hardship. Also available is a tax deferral for persons 65 years of age or over or from poverty or financial hardship resulting from a change to active military status, not including the initial enlistment. Contact the Assessors Office if you have any questions on the requirements for these exemptions and to find out if you qualify.

The qualifying date for these exemptions is July 1, the first day of the fiscal year. You must own, occupy and otherwise qualify for the exemption as of July l. The application may also be filed by someone who owns the property in a life estate or in a trust. If the property is in a trust the applicant must be one of the trustees and one of the beneficiaries, thereby having legal title and beneficial interest. Applications must be filed within three months from the mailing of the third notice or actual tax bill. However, the Assessors strongly advise that applications be filed as soon as possible after July 1 so that they can be processed early and be ready to be reflected on the third (actual) tax bill.

EXEMPTION QUALIFICATIONS

Clause 17E
Basic Qualifications: Elderly, Age 70 or older
Max. Income: None
Max. Assets: $ 59,149.
Amount Exempted: $259.00

Must have owned and occupied such property for at least five years
In determining worth of total estate, domicile is exempt unless property is more than a three family house. If more than a three family house, the prorated share of the value of the property is to be considered, exclusive of the value of any mortgage, in addition to savings or checking accounts, IRA's, CD's stocks, bonds, value of motor vehicle, other real estate, or any other assets.

On November 17, 2008, the City Council, with approval by Mayor Thomas Koch passed Council Order 193 of 2008, which provided for the adoption of the Clause 41C exemption for elderly persons. This reduced the age requirement of elderly persons from 70 to 65 years of age. It also adjusted the income and total estate limitations as noted below.

41C/D Age 65 or older - Single Max Income: $21,994. Max Asset: $43,906. Exempted: $500.00

41C/D Age 65 or older - Married Max Income:$32,990. Max Asset:$60,371. Exempted: $500.00

Must have been domiciled in Massachusetts for the preceding ten years and have owned and occupied such property or other property in Massachusetts for five years. Or is the surviving spouse who inherits such property and has occupied it for five years.

For single persons, the Board of Assessors will deduct the Social Security deduction of $4,381.00. for Fiscal Year 2014, from the taxpayers gross income. The net income cannot exceed $21,994.

For a married applicants, the Board of Assessors will deduct the Social Security deduction of $6,572.00. for Fiscal Year 2014, from the taxpayers gross income. The net income cannot exceed $32,990.
In determining the whole worth of the estate, the valuation of domicile is exempt, including up to three additional units. ie: the value of a four family house.

If there is a co-owner other than husband and wife, then the co-owner(s) must also qualify with regard to income and assets. The co-owner(s) income limit is $13,000, if single and $15,000. if a married. There is no adjustment to these amounts. The total estate limit is $28,000., if single and $30, 000., if married.

If there are co-owners, other than husband and wife, the exemption will be prorated.

Veterans Must have been domiciled in Massachusetts for five years prior to filing or six months prior to entry into the service. Must own and occupy as of July 1st. Subject to local acceptance, the five year domiciliary requirement can be reduced to one year. Such veteran must have had service of not less than ninety days and received an honorable discharge in one or more of the following missions:

Spanish American War - service between 2/15/1898 - 7/4/1902
World War I - 4/6/1917 - 11/11/1918
World War II - 9/16/40 -- 12/31/46
Korean War -- 6/25/50 -- 1/31/55
Vietnam War -- 8/5/64 -- 5/7/75 or have served at least 180 days
between 2/1/55 -- 8/4/64 or 5/7/75 -- 6/4/76

Lebanese Peace Keeping force who performed such service and
received a campaign medal during the period commencing 8/25/82
and ending when the President of the United States shall have withdrawn
the armed forces from the country of Lebanon

Grenada rescue mission veteran who performed such service and
received a campaign medal for such service during the period
commencing 10/25/83 to 12/5/83

Persian Gulf veteran who performed such service during the period
Commencing8/2/90 and ending on a date to be determined by
Presidential proclamation or executive order and concurrent
Resolution of the Congress of the United States.

None None $400.00
22 (a) 10% or more disability/
22 (b) Soldiers or sailors who served in the Spanish War, the Philippine Insurrection or
the Chinese Relief Expedition
22 © Recipients of the Purple Heart
22 (d) Spouses of soldiers or sailors entitled to an exemption under this clause
and surviving spouses of soldiers or sailors who were entitled to this exemption
at the time of their death or who lost their lives while serving in said war or
who lost their lives in the Philippine Insurrection or Chinese Relief Expedition
22 (e) Parents of soldiers or sailors who lost their lives in such service. This includes natural and adoptive parents
22 (f) Surviving Spouse, under certain conditions, of a soldier or sailor who served in the armed forces between April 6, 1917 and November 11, 1918 or who were awarded the World War I Victory medal.
For 22A, 22B, 22C and 22E, if more than a single family house then exemption will be prorated according to number of units

22A Loss/Permanent Loss of None None $750.00
Use of Foot, Hand or Eye/
Congressional Medal of Honor/
Distinguished Service Cross/
Air Force Cross/Navy Cross

New legislation provides for the surviving spouse to continue
to receive this exemption, even if they remarry

22B Loss/Permanent Loss of None None $1,250.00
Use Two Limbs or Eyes

New legislation provides for the surviving spouse to continue
to receive this exemption, even if they remarry

22C Veteran Entitled to None None $1,500.00
Special Adapted Housing

New legislation provides for the surviving spouse to continue
to receive this exemption, even if they remarry

22D Chapter 260 of the Acts of 2006 creates a new Clause 22D to include surviving spouses of soldiers, sailors and members of the National Guard whose death was a direct result of injury or disease as a result of being in a combat zone, or who have been classified as missing in action and presumed dead as a result of combat. The surviving spouse must be domiciled in Massachusetts for five consecutive years before applying for the exemption, or the service member has to have been domiciled in Massachusetts for at least six months before entering the service. The surviving spouse will receive a full exemption for the first five years the spouse qualifies but no more than $2,500. in years thereafter. The exemption terminates upon the spouse's death or remarriage. Cities and towns will be fully reimbursed for the exemptions granted.

The act expressly makes the Clause 22D exemption retroactive for qualifying surviving spouses of those soldiers, sailors or guardsmen who died in combat or were presumed dead as a result of combat, on or after September 11, 2001. Depending on the date of death or presumed death, the surviving spouse may be eligible for retroactive exemptions beginning as early as fiscal year 2003. For example, a qualifying surviving spouse of a servicemember who died in combat between September 11, 2001 and June 30, 2002 would be eligible for a Clause 22D exemption beginning as of July 1, 2002 for fiscal year 2003. The spouse would receive a full exemption for five fiscal years (2003-2007) and a full exemption but no more than $2,500. beginning in fiscal year 2008. If the servicemember died in combat between July 1, 2002 and June 30, 2003, the surviving spouse would be eligible for a full exemption or five fiscal years beginning as of July 1, 2003 for fiscal year 2004.

The act does not extend the application deadline for those years or otherwise provide a new application deadline for this category of eligible surviving spouses to obtain the retroactive exemption benefits. However, Assessors who receive a timely exemption application from an eligible surviving spouse for fiscal year 2007 or any year thereafter should also determine if the surviving spouse qualified in any of the applicable prior years. If so, the retroactive exemptions should be granted at the same time and should be included in the community's request for reimbursement for the current year. Communities will be reimbursed to the extent that the annual appropriation for that purpose is sufficient.


22E 100% disabled None None $1,000.00
Vet Incapable of Working Due To Service Connected Disability

New legislation provides for the surviving spouse to continue to receive this exemption, even if they remarry

22F Paraplegics
Also includes Surviving None None Total
Spouses


CHAPTER 116 OF THE ACTS OF 2004 EXPANDS THE DEFINITION OF VETERAN BY ADDING "PEACETIME VETERANS", EFFECTIVE AUGUST 26, 2004 FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006

The added categories are:
1. A member of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard who serves 180 days, even if no wartime service.
2. A member of the Army Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard with service connected disability or death under conditions other than dishonorable, even if less than 180 days
3. Full-time National Guardsmen who serve in a particular capacity for 90 days with at least 1 day of wartime service.
4. Merchant Marines who served in World War II with honorable discharges from the Army, Navy or Coast Guard.

For further clarification on this definition, contact the Board of Assessors

Effective for Fiscal Year 2006, the change in definition will affect eligibility for property tax exemptions because General Law Chapter 59, Section 5, Clauses 22, 22A, 22B, 22C and 22E have also been amended to delete the requirement of wartime service as an express condition of eligibility.

The changed definition does not affect eligibility for motor vehicle excise exemptions, however. Excise exemptions are expressly limited to veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam War (G.L. Ch. 60A, S.1.

Other Must own and occupy and otherwise qualify as of July 1st.

17E Surviving Spouse or None $59,149. $259.00
Orphaned Minor Child

Must own and occupy and otherwise qualify as of July 1st

37A Legally Blind None None $500.00

Must own and occupy and otherwise qualify as of July 1st
Must be registered with the Division of the Blind as of July 1st

42/43 Surviving Spouse or None None Total
Orphaned minor of Police
or Firefighter Killed in the Line of Duty
Must own and occupy and otherwise qualify as of July 1st


18 Extreme Hardship Due None None Variable
to Age, Infirmity & Financial Condition *3

*3 Unable to meet financial obligations

18A Tax Deferral for a person who by reason of poverty or financial hardship is in the judgement of the Assessors, unable to contribute fully toward the public charges, if such property is owned and occupied by him/her or he/she owns the same jointly with a spouse or jointly or as a tenant in common with a person not a spouse and is occupied by him/her as his/her domicile as of July 1st, provided, that such person has been domiciled in the Commonwealth for the preceding 10 years. Such person may apply to the Board of Assessors for a deferral of taxes for such property and may be granted such deferral provided that the owner or owners of such real property have entered into a tax deferral and recovery agreement with the Board of Assessors on behalf of the city or town. The agreement shall provide that no sale or transfer of such property may be consummated unless (1) the taxes, which would otherwise have been assessed have been paid, with interest, at the rate of 8 per cent per annum; (2) that the total amount of such taxes due, plus interest, does not exceed 50% of the owner's proportional share of the full and fair cash value of such property; (3) that upon the demise of the owner of such property, the heirs-at-law, assignees or devisees shall have first priority to said real property by paying the full amount due, plus interest of 16%; provided that if there is a surviving spouse who enters into a tax deferral and recovery agreement, such payment of the taxes will be postponed during the life of such surviving spouse. Any joint owner or mortgagee holding a mortgage shall give written prior approval for such agreement, which written approval shall be made a part of the agreement.
The tax deferral and recovery agreement shall not exceed three tax years and the total amount of taxes due, plus interest, shall be paid in 5 equal payments over a five year period and the first payment shall be due 2 years after the last day of the tax deferral. The tax deferral and recovery agreement shall be recorded in the registry of deeds of the county and shall constitute a lien upon the land covered by the agreement. A lien filed pursuant to this section shall be subsequent to any liens securing a reverse mortgage, excepting shared appreciation instruments.
For more information, contact the Board of Assessors.
(Chapter 470 of the Acts of 2002, passed 12/31/02, effective for Fiscal Year 2004)


PRIOR YEARS' INCOME TAX RETURNS MUST BE FILED WITH APPLICATIONS FOR EXEMPTION UNDER CLAUSES 17E, 18, 18A, 41C/D AND CLAUSE 41A TAX DEFERRALS


50 Adopted by the City Council November 13, 2001, this clause provides for an exemption, not to exceed $500.00, in taxes on the increased value of residential property as a result of alterations or improvements made to provide housing for a person 60 years of age or older, who is not the owner of the property. The property can have no more than three units prior to the improvements and must be owned and occupied by the applicant as his/her domicile. An application for this exemption must be filed annually, together with documentation that the housing is being provided for a person aged 60 or older. The exemption shall terminate when the premises are no longer occupied by any such elderly person. This clause takes effect on the acceptance of the law and applies only to those alterations or improvements made after the date of the acceptance of the law. Building permits applied for to do such alterations or improvements must specify that such work is being done to provide housing for the elderly person.

TAX DEFERRALS (CLAUSE 41A)

Many retired homeowners feel "house rich" and "income poor". The property taxes can constitute a serious financial burden. Quincy offers a Tax Deferral Program which allows owners to defer all or part of their annual property taxes. The deferred taxes accumulate, with simple interest at 8%, as a lien on the property until it is sold. No sale or transfer can be consummated during the lifetime of the taxpayer, unless the deferred taxes and interest due are paid in full. If the owner(s) has deceased and the deferral is continued by the surviving spouse, repayment is not required during the lifetime of the surviving spouse. If the deferral is not continued by the surviving spouse, or if the property is sold, the deferred taxes, plus interest at 16% shall be paid by the estate. Applicants must be 65 or over on July 1, have been domiciled in Massachusetts for the preceding ten years, and have had a maximum income of $40,000. in the prior year. The applicant also must have owned and occupied the property or other real property in the Commonwealth for five years. The total amount of taxes due, plus interest, for the current and prior years, cannot exceed 50% of the full and fair cash value of the property. A lien filed pursuant to this section shall be subsequent to any liens incurred by securing a reverse mortgage. Contact the Assessors office, if you are interested. The interest rate provided for under Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 41A is 8%. Chapter 136 of the Acts of 2005 allows communities to adopt an interest rate lower than the 8%. This must be done annually, prior to the start of the fiscal year. The City Council with the recommendation of the Mayor, on June 19, 2006, voted to adopt an interest rate of 4% for Fiscal Year 2007.

Chapter 40, Section 42J allows a person to request the deferral of their water/sewer charges if they are receiving a deferral of their real estate taxes under Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 41A. Application for the water deferral would have to be made to the Water Department, who issues the bills, within three months from the issuance of the third, or actual tax bill. Requirements for approval of the water/sewer deferral and provisions for repayment are the same as that for the Clause 41A real estate tax deferral. (see above) The interest rates are the same as for the Clause 41A real estate tax deferral. This section of the law was adopted by the City Council, with the recommendation of the Mayor on February 2, 2004. As a courtesy, the Assessing Department will accept the applications and forward them to the Water Department.


GENERAL INFORMATION ON EXEMPTIONS

APPLICATIONS
Applications must be on forms approved by the Commissioner of Revenue and should contain sufficient information for the Assessors to determine eligibility for exemption. Applications for exemption are not open to public inspection. Exemption applications are now online and can be printed from the City's website. www.ci.quincy.ma.us

NUMBER OF EXEMPTIONS ALLOWED
The interpretation of exemption laws up until the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Anthony J. DeCenzo vs. Board of Assessors of Framingham, 372 Mass. 523 (1977) allowed only one exemption per person per parcel except where a Clause 18 exemption (for the aged, infirm and impoverished), a tax deferral or a Clause 45 exemption (for solar or wind-powered systems) applied.

With the advent of the DeCenzo case, if two or more persons, whether or not related or married, own a single parcel and each qualifies for a different exemption, each would be entitled to receive the exemption for which he qualifies.

However, if two or more persons qualify for the same exemption on the same property, only one may receive the exemption unless the legislature expressly provided for a double exemption as in Clause 22, the veteran's exemption, where both husband and wife had a war-service connected disability of 10% or more. In this case each would be entitled to $400.00 of actual taxes due.
Under Clause 17, 17C, 17C ½ or 17E the exemption of $244.00 of actual taxes due may be apportioned among persons whose title to the property was acquired by inheritance (minors) and who qualify. Under Clause 41, 41B or 41C/D, if two or more persons owning the same property qualify, each will receive a proportion of the total exemption of $500.00 of actual taxes due. The Appellate Tax Board has held that under Clause 41A a person may receive an exemption and also receive a deferral of taxes on the same property.

MINIMUM TAX BILL
With the exception of paraplegic veterans, and Clauses 42 & 43, no exemption can reduce the amount of taxes paid to less than 10% of the total tax bill. (59:5C) If the application of any exemption would result in a tax of less than the 10% minimum due, the total exemption cannot be allowed.

OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL REAL ESTATE EXEMPTIONS
A local option allows a city or town to increase the amount of exemption for those who qualify for exemptions to persons. The increase must be uniform for all exemptions. A percentage is recommended over a dollar amount. The exemption cannot reduce the applicant's tax bill to less than he paid the preceding year, nor can it reduce the tax bill to less than 10% of what it should be, except where a Clause 18 (hardship) exemption, a Clause 42 or 43 exemption, or a paraplegic exemption is involved.

Only communities which are certified by the Commissioner of Revenue as assessing all property at its full and fair cash value may choose this option. This option must be accepted by a majority vote of town meeting or by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council, in a city. The determination as to whether to grant the additional exemption must be made annually prior to the approval of the tax rate. The Commissioner must certify that sufficient sums have been provided to cover the costs of locally accepted exemptions before the tax rate will be approved. The new option applies to Clauses 17, 17C, 17C ½, 17D, 22, 22A, 22B, 22C, 22D, 22E, 37, 37A, 41, 41B, and 41C. (see IGR 89-207)

A municipality accepting Section 4 of Chapter 73 of the Acts of 1986 (as most recently amended by Chapter 126 of the Acts of 1988) must advise the Division of Local Services by submitting a form with a copy of the vote and the certification of such vote by the City or Town Clerk.

Chapter 181 created Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 17E which allows us to increase the amount of assets certain seniors, surviving spouses and minors may have and qualify for an exemption under Clause 17D and also increases the amount of the exemption, by the cost of living adjustment as determined by the Commissioner of Revenue and are compounded from year to year.

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