How do Stoughton’s Real Estate Taxes work?

What are Real Estate taxes?
How are my Real estate taxes calculated?
How do I pay a Real Estate bill?
How do I dispute my Real Estate taxes if I think the property value is too high?
What is Proposition 2 ½ ?

What are Real estate taxes?

Real estate is the physical land and all that’s affixed to it.  The tax on it is an ad valorem (based on value) tax and that tax funds the government.  Approximately 75% of the Town of Stoughton’s budget (including schools) is funded through property tax.

How are my Real Estate taxes calculated?

It is the responsibility of the Assessor’s Office to establish the taxable valuation of each individual
piece of property in the Town.  However, the Assessor’s do not create value.  Buyers and sellers create
the value via their transactions in the marketplace.  The Assessors have the legal and moral responsibility
to study those transactions and assess the property accordingly.

At Town Meeting each year a budget is votes on by Town Meeting members taking into account the limits of Proposition 2 ½ , and how much money will be needed to meet all appropriations and other expenses.  The Assessors have no control over the Town’s Budget.

The difference between the amount approved and the money received from other revenue sources (i.e. state aid, licensing fees, permits, automobile excise) must be raised by property taxation.

The valuation assessments are developed independently from the budget and are used only in the last step of the budgeting process to distribute the Tax Levy.  Changing property values does not affect the overall Tax Levy, but it does redistribute the levy. The Assessors calculate the annual tax rate as a means to distribute the Town’s budget obligations.

The tax rate is calculated by taking the total tax to be levied and dividing by the total valuation of taxable
property. This results in a tax rate expressed in dollars per thousand dollars of valuation.

How do I pay a Real estate bill?

  • Real Estate taxes are billed quarterly. Over the course of the Town's fiscal year(July 1 - June 30) the due dates are Aug. 1, Nov. 1, Feb. 1 and May 1 (or the Monday that follows these dates if they fall on a weekend.
  • If you have a bill, send a check and the Collector’s copy of the bill to Town of Stoughton Tax Collector, P.O. Box 9108, Stoughton, MA  02072.  Please do not include any correspondence as this goes directly to the Town’s bank for immediate deposit.
  • If you want a receipt or need to pay in cash or simply want to pay in person, come to the Stoughton Town Hall,  10 Pearl Street, 1st floor Collector’s Office.

Questions regarding the payment of your bill can be directed to the Office of the Treasurer/Collector at (781) 341-1300 ext. 9225.  

How do I dispute my Real Estate taxes if I think the property value is too high?

The appeal process for disputing your property tax bill is via the Abatement Procedure. The application is available at the Assessor’s Office in Town Hall and must be filed within 30 days from the mailing of the first half tax bill. No abatement can be granted unless the application is filed on time.

Filing an appeal does not put your tax payment on hold.  Tax payments need to be rendered in a timely manner in order to protect further appeal rights to the State.

If you think your assessed value is wrong you must provide your opinion of value on the abatement application.  You may attach an appraisal to the application to support your opinion of value, but you must realize it is another appraiser’s assumption and may have been influenced by the purpose of the appraisal.

The Board of Assessors has 90 days from the date the application was received to act on the appeal.. Each and every appeal will receive written notification of the Assessor’s action.

Any amendment to taxes paid, are adjusted on the second half bill.  If there has been an overpayment, a refund is generated at the close of the fiscal year (June 30).

If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Board of Assessors, you may file an appeal to the Appellate Tax Board, but this must be done within 3 months of the Assessor’s decision.

For further information contact the Assessor’s Office at 781-341-1300, x9238.

What is Proposition  2 ½ ?

Proposition 2-1/2 is the title given to an initiative petition adopted by voters in Massachusetts in 1980.

The principal features of Proposition 21/2 are related to the total amount of property taxes which a city or town can raise each year.  It contains two limitations on the amount of property taxes to be raised:

  • The property tax levy ceiling  (the amount raised) can never exceed 2 ½ % of the full cash value of all taxable property in the town
  • A tax rate can not be higher than $25.00 per $1,000 of valuation
  • The property tax levy limit cannot be increased more than 2 ½ % over the prior levy limit unless it gets voter’s approval to override the cap

The levy limit provision of Proposition 2 ½ affect the total amount of taxes to be raised by the town.  It does not apply to an individual tax bill.

Whether the tax rate for a community will increase or decrease from the prior year will depend upon the levy decided upon by the community.  It also depends on whether property values appreciate, depreciate or remain steady in the particular community.