Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.When can I file an abatement request?
A. Abatement applications are accepted from January 1st until February 1st.
Q.What is an abatement application? Why might I need one?
A. An abatement application is a formal notice to the assessors that you disagree with the assessed value of your property. You may seek an abatement adjustment because:
There appear to be mistakes on your property record card.
You think your property is assessed at more than fair market value.
You think your property is disproportionately assessed compared to your neighbor’s properties.
The abatement is granted for temporary conditions or other reasons. You need to make this request annually. NOTE: You must prove your point(s).
Q.My taxes are too high. What can I do to reduce the burden?
A. If you believe that your property assessment valuation is the problem, you may file an abatement application. If you are concerned about high taxes in general, but not your assessment, you must address the town’s budget. Taxes are determined by the size of the town budget. Your vote at Town Meeting is the best way to express your concern. Your votes on the budget, Proposition 2 1/2 overrides, capital purchases. And town debt ultimately affect your real estate taxes.
Q.Where can I get help with an abatement request or more information on personal exemptions?
A. The Assessors Office; Department of Revenue; Private counsel.
Q.What is fair market value?
A. The amount a well-informed buyer is willing to pay for the property. Fair market value for a parcel is the price that a willing buyer and a willing seller can agree upon when neither party is under undue pressure to complete the sale.
Q.What method does Newbury use to determine fair market value?
A. Newbury uses a method that is based on the recent sales of comparable properties. In some instances, the assessors may use estimated replacement costs, adjusted for depreciation and condition, to determine the value of the building.
Q.What factors were used to determine my property value in the most recent revaluation?
A. About two dozen factors are used in the computer model. Currently, the factors include: Style of home, neighborhood, square footage of the residence, amount of land, construction grade, condition of the residence, age of the building, number of bedrooms and total rooms, full and half baths, rec room, enclosed and open porches, the number of living units, garages, attic, basement, story height, view, exterior covering, central air conditioning, fireplaces, heating, construction costs, land value. The factors were selected as they were found to have the greatest influence on market value.
Q.Where can I get information on properties in Newbury?
A. Information about Newbury's approximately 3,465 parcels is available at the Assessors Office on the computer on the counter or online atPatriot Properties for Newbury.
Q.Do I have to allow the assessor into my home?
A. No, however, it is in your best interest to do so. The Board appreciates the cooperation given by the majority of residents who permit an interior inspection of their residences. Inspections take only a few minutes and can be scheduled to accommodate the homeowner. The assessors must make a reasonable assessment of your property, including the interior, in order to arrive at fair market value. They will most likely estimate highest value and best use if they cannot enter the residence. Interior inspections improve the quality of the valuation process and diminish errors. This saves expense for the taxpayer and the town because fewer assessments are challenged.
Q.What makes an arm’s length sale?
A. To represent fair market value, a sale must be an arm’s length transaction, i.e., it must be a sale in which there is no relationship between the buyer and the seller that may influence the price, such as a transaction between family members.
Q.Why are the measurements of my residence different from those made by the real estate agent?
A. For assessment purposes, measurements of buildings are made using outside dimensions. For real estate purposes, square footage is determined by making inside measurement.
Q.Will my assessment go up if I repair my property?
A. Normal maintenance will help retain the value of your property and generally will not affect your assessment. Upgrades, additions, extensive remodeling, new fireplaces, central air conditioning, modernization of kitchens or bathrooms, and improvements in general are likely to increase the assessed value of your property. Serious property deterioration will lower the value of your investment and may result in a lower assessed value than if the property were well maintained.
Q.I have recently built a home. Will the construction cost be used for my assessment?
A. Usually cost does not equal value. The assessors will review the costs. They will make an independent evaluation as to whether the costs plus the value of the land equate with current market value.
Q.Where can I get a list of recent house sales?
A. Data is on the counter at the Assessors Office. Or Banker & Tradesman newspaper.
Q.When do taxpayers receive their bills?
A. The actual (final) tax bill can’t be provided until the state Cherry Sheets are published; the state has approved the town assessments; and the tax rate is established for the town. The latter can’t be done until after Town Meeting. Typically it is 6 months after the beginning of the fiscal year before the actual tax bill is available. Estimated bills are usually mailed to taxpayers in June for the first quarterly payment due August 1st. The second quarterly statement is mailed in September and due November 1st. The actual tax bill is mailed in late December and represents the third quarter payment due February 1st. The fourth and final quarter usually follows in March and is due May 1st.