The Board of Assessors office is responsible for preparing the annual property tax base, which includes identifying all taxable real and personal property, its ownership, full and fair cash value*, and usage classification. This requires maintenance of an extensive database on each property in the community, which must be reviewed annually for changes in property description, ownership and condition. It also requires an annual analysis of market conditions to adjust values. The assessors must submit values for review by the Department of Revenue every three years.
*Full and fair cash value has been defined as 100% of a property’s “fair market value”, which is the price an owner willing to but not under compulsion to sell ought to receive from one willing to but not under compulsion to buy. Full and fair cash value is the applied constitutional and statutory standard, which protects the property owner’s right to pay only his or her fair share of the tax burden.
The Board of Assessors is also responsible for:
- Identifying and calculating annual “new growth” increase in the levy limit under Proposition 2 ½ and obtaining certification of the amount by the DOR.
- Setting the tax rate and fixing the property tax levy. This requires the preparation of a tax rate recapitulation summary of proposed valuations, expenditures and revenues for the year.
- Committing taxes to the collector with a warrant. This requires the preparation of a commitment list of all parcels and accounts, their owners and values, and all other information needed to send the tax bills. The commitment fixes the tax liability of the taxpayer and the warrant authorizes the collector to collect the taxes.
- Reviewing and acting on applications for abatements and exemptions. This includes notifying the taxpayer of the decision and the collector and accounting officer of amounts abated and exempted. It also includes participating in appeals to the Appellate Tax Board.
- Assessing and committing separately motor vehicle, boat and farm animal excises and administering the abatement process for those excises.
- Committing to the collector for billing any betterment assessed by selectmen, water and sewer commissions or other boards for special improvements. This includes adding the apportioned amount with interest to the annual property tax.
- Overseeing the overlay account, which is the annual reserve for abatements and exemptions.
Inquires of the Assessor's Office
Assessors conduct their assessing fieldwork commencing January 1st of each year on Sunday mornings from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. (Noon). If a property in town has experienced a change (i.e.: new construction, addition, alteration, demolition, etc.) within the year, the Assessors will personally visit that location sometime between January and March of the following year to collect the necessary assessment data.
Vehicle Excise Tax
Vehicle Excise is assessed on a calendar year basis (January-December). The valuation of the vehicle is determined by the Department of Motor Vehicles using the manufacturer’s recommended selling price when new multiplied by the applicable percentage:
- In the year preceding the year of manufacture…50%
- In the year of manufacture……………...……..90%
- In the second year……………………………60%
- In the third year………………………………40%
- In the fourth year……………………………..25%
- In the fifth and succeeding years……………….10%
Excise tax rate is $25.00 per thousand of valuation. Excise taxes are prorated on a monthly basis. The annual excise due on a vehicle registered after January 1 will be reduced by one-twelfth of the full year’s excise for every month prior to the month in which the vehicle was registered. The minimum an excise bill may be is $5.00.
Abatements are available if during a calendar year ownership of a motor vehicle is transferred by sale or otherwise and the registration is cancelled or transferred to another vehicle. Both actions are necessary to qualify for an abatement. Abatements may be requested up three years following the year to which the excise relates.
Proof of ownership transfer and registration cancellation or transfer will be requested. The minimum an abatement may be is $5.00.
The Board of Assessors encourages and welcomes inquiries from taxpayers. It is always advisable for taxpayers to review the property records we keep in the office for accuracy and assurance that you are being assessed in a fair and equitable manner.
If you have any concerns or inquires, please contact Assistant Assessor Jean Berthold or visit our office in the Town Hall. Evening appointments are available upon request.
The Board of Assessors normally meets every first and third Tuesday evening of each month from 7:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. in the Assessor’s office at the Town Hall. The meetings are open to the public.