How the Assessors Determine Value

Valuation in Massachusetts is based on "full and fair cash value," the amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller on the open market. Assessors must collect, record, and analyze a great deal of information about property and market characteristics in order to estimate the fair market value of all taxable properties in their communities. Properties such as churches and educational institutions are also valued, even though they are exempt from taxation. The state of Massachusetts requires that all properties be reviewed every three years and that the assessed values are compared with sales statistics for the current time period. As of fiscal year 2009, Deerfield has embarked on a 9-year program and will try to inspect 12% of the properties each year. The Town of Deerfield uses an independent appraisal service to inspect properties and to analyze sales. The Assessors do not determine the amount of taxes to be raised. That is done by the voters at previous town meetings. The Assessors use the total voted appropriations, less any anticipated revenues, to establish a tax rate that will pay for the voter-approved budget.

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1. How the Assessors Determine Value
2. Why assessments go up when a property hasn’t changed?
3. What if you disagree with the assessed value of your property?
4. What about abatements and appeals?
5. How are property taxes assessed?
6. How do you determine the tax rate?
7. What don't assessors do?