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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.
Since assessments reflect market value, rising/falling real estate prices in the community will result in generally higher/lower assessments. As several factors influence market value, the changes to assessments may not be uniform. One such factor is the style of the building. For example, one year, colonials will be in demand, thus raising their market value more than other styles and, another year, capes will be more popular. Another factor is location. For various reasons, certain neighborhoods are more attractive to buyers (in-town one year, rural the next...). Again, the resulting demand raises the price for homes in the preferred neighborhood. In addition, the condition of the property will affect its value. For two homes comparable in style, grade, and location, the better-maintained home will have a higher value. So, while changes made to a property can affect value, these other factors must also be considered.
If, in your opinion, the assessment of your property is incorrect, by all means discuss it with the Board of Assessors. At the meeting, you will need to specify the items about which you disagree: Is there some misinformation on the property record card? Do you find values of comparable properties lower or higher than yours? If so, cite specific examples. Information on all properties is available in the Assessors' Office and on this website.
Once the tax bills have been mailed, an aggrieved taxpayer must go through the more formal process of filing for an abatement. These forms may be picked up at the Assessors' Office or printed from this website. They must be filed with the Assessors within thirty days from the date the tax bills were mailed.
If the Assessors do not grant the desired abatement, the taxpayer also has the right to appeal to the State's Appellate Tax Board. The appeal must be filed within three months of the denial. Information and applications are available on the MA Appellate Tax Board website or from:
The Appellate Tax Board399 Washington Street, 3rd FloorBoston, MA 02108-5292Phone: 617-727-3100
Before Proposition 2 1/2 went into effect in Massachusetts in Fiscal Year 1982, the amount to be raised by the property tax in each community was essentially determined by what the community decided to spend in the coming year, either through its Annual Town Meeting, or its City and Town Council. So, budgets were determined and, then, the tax rates were set to raise that amount. With Proposition 2 1/2 in effect, the process is reversed. The tax limitation law sets the maximum amount a community may collect, or levy, from the property tax to "...2.5% of the total full and fair cash value of all real and personal property in the community." Budgets must be made to fit within that limit (with the exception of any override(s) passed by the voters). At the Town Meeting, a budget is adopted. The budget total less the monies anticipated from other sources, such as state aid and local receipts from fees, etc., is the amount that needs to be raised through property taxes.
Before the tax rate can be set, the Town must decide if they want all property to be taxed at the same rate, or if they prefer separate rates for a certain class of property, such as commercial/industrial. So, the Assessors prepare a Tax Rate Recapitulation sheet showing the total value for each class of property and its percentage of the town total. Using this information, the Selectboard holds a Classification Hearing to decide if there will be a single or multiple tax rate(s).
Assessors do not make the laws that affect property owners. Tax laws are enacted by the Massachusetts Legislature. Various guidelines and regulations to implement the legislation are established by the Department of Revenue. The Assessors must follow these procedures and act in accordance with the law.
Real Estate and Personal Property bills are issued twice a year. The 1st Half is usually issued some time in November or December and due 30 days later. The 2nd Half gets mailed out in late March and is always due on May 1 (unless May 1 is on a Saturday or Sunday)
The fee for an MLC is $25 per parcel.
For Real Estate, Personal Property and Sewer bills: Fill out a Change of Mailing Address (PDF) form from the Assessors' office For Motor Vehicle Excise bills: Must be done through the RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) or on their website.
Yes, you can use a credit or debit card at the Tax Collector's office and online using the Town of Deerfield's website but you are liable for a transaction fee. The fee depends on the type of card you are using and the amount that you are charging. You may opt out of completing your transaction once you find out how much the fee is.
If payment is not received in the Tax Collector's office by the due date, you will be liable for any interest and fees that may have accrued. Real Estate, Personal Property, and Sewer accrue interest at a rate of 14%. Motor Vehicle Excise accrue interest at a rate of 12%. Tax Title accounts accrue interest at a rate of 16%. In accordance with MGL, late payments are applied to any interest and penalty fees first and then the remainder is put towards the principle.
Real Estate tax bills are assessed as of January 1 every year. Whoever owned the property on January 1 of the previous fiscal year will be on the top line. If you purchased the property after January 1, your name will appear on the second line as the "c/o" (in care of). Once you own the property on January 1, the old owner's name will drop off and your name will be the only one on the next fiscal year billing.
When in doubt, pay the bill on time to avoid penalty fees and interest. Once paid, you can file for an abatement which will result in a refund. To find out if you qualify for an abatement, contact the Assessors' office at 413-665-1400, ext. 106.
Motor Vehicle Excise bills originate from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If they have not been notified of your address change, they will send your bill to the last known Town of residency. It is best to pay the bill on time to avoid interest and fees and then file for an abatement to receive a refund for the time that you no longer lived in Deerfield. To find out if you qualify for an abatement, contact the Assessors' Office at 413-665-1400, ext. 106.
The Town of Deerfield uses Arthur P. Jones and Associates as their Deputy Collector. You can reach their office at 877-378-9265 for current balances and payment options. Note: The Tax Collector's office at the Town Hall is no longer able to accept payment once the bill is sent to the Deputy Collector. Payment must go directly to Arthur P Jones' office.
Abatements and exemptions are processed through the Assessors' department. Application forms can be found on their Assessor's Forms page. If you have any questions, you can reach their office at 413-665-1400, ext. 106.
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All work to construct, repair, renovate or demolish a structure requires a building permit. This includes major construction as well as smaller projects, including but not limited to:
As a homeowner or contractor, there may be times when you are uncertain whether it is necessary to secure a building permit. The following guidelines should be used:
Work Requiring a Permit: (The following list is not meant to be exclusive, if you are in doubt as to whether the work you are considering needs a permit, please call the Building Inspector.)
A permit is not necessary for ordinary repairs: "Any maintenance which does not affect the structure, egress, fire protection systems, fire ratings, energy conservation provisions, plumbing, sanitary, gas, electrical or other utilities."
Because it is the law. Massachusetts Building Code (780CMR 5110.1.0) states: "It shall be unlawful to construct, reconstruct, alter, repair, remove or demolish a building or structure... without first filing a written application with the building official and obtaining the required permit therefor." In addition, a building permit is for your own protection. The building inspector will require the work performed to meet the standards of the Mass Building Code, which translates into your security. Insurance companies may require a Certificate of Occupancy or approval of the building official for certain work. If you are a licensed contractor, failure to secure a building permit could result in the loss of your license.
No. Work cannot proceed until the permit has been issued.
The Building Department has a maximum of 30 days in which to issue or deny a building permit. The actual time can vary from one day up to the maximum 30 day limit, depending on the number of applications ahead of yours, and the scope of the work.
Pricing of a building permit is contingent upon the type of work being done and/or square footage of new construction. It is important to note that if electrical and/or plumbing and/or gas work is being done in connection with building changes, these permits must be obtained separately. (Please refer also to subheading "Permit Fee Schedule.")
Section 114.3 of the State Building Code states that “any permit issued shall be deemed abandoned and invalid unless the work authorized by it shall have commenced within 6 months after its issuance.” Extensions may be granted if necessary, if such requests for extensions are submitted in writing. Once the work has commenced, and if inspections are being requested on a regular basis, there is no restriction on the amount of time given to complete a project.
All final inspections must be performed in order for a certificate of occupancy/completion to be issued. Final electrical, gas and plumbing inspections must be set up, performed and signed off. A final walk through and sign-off by the Fire Department must also be completed. Once these are complete, call the Building Department to set up the final building inspection. Your certificate of occupancy / completion will be issued, contingent upon passing all final inspections, within 30 days of the final building inspection.
The excise is imposed on the privilege of registering a motor vehicle. You are billed based on the information provided to the Registry of Motor Vehicles on the registrant’s application.
It applies to anyone who registers a motor vehicle in Massachusetts.
The rate is $25 per thousand in value. This is the standard rate for the entire state.
If not paid by the due date, the outstanding balance will accrue interest at a rate of 12%. If the bill remains unpaid, the following charges may eventually be added:
Never ignore an excise bill. Pay it on time to avoid interest and fees. You can then apply for an abatement and refund!
The information on your excise bill originates from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. To make any changes to this information, it must be done through the RMV. You can either visit a local office or visit their website for more information. The closest RMV office to Deerfield is in Greenfield at 18 Miner Street (next to the rotary off Exit 26 on Route 91).
The Town of Deerfield uses Arthur P. Jones' office as their Deputy Collector. Once a Warrant Fee ($10) has been added to an excise bill, the Tax Collector's office at the Town Hall can no longer accept payment and it must now be paid directly to the Deputy Collector. Please contact their office for payment options at 877-378-9265 or visit their website for more information.
Mailing Address: Arthur P. Jones and Associates, Inc.P.O. Box 808Easthampton, MA 01027
The value of a motor vehicle for excise purposes is determined by the Commissioner of Revenue at varying percentages of the manufacturer's list price in the year of manufacture as follows:
Condition and market value are not considerations in determining the value, nor is age after the fifth year.
You are not entitled to an abatement if you:
Note: Please contact the Assessors' office for the specifics for these exemptions, as each person's case is different.
Applications for abatement must be received by the Board of Assessors within three years after the excise was due, or one year after the excise was paid, whichever is later. To preserve your right to an abatement and to appeal, you must file on time.
You must file the application in the Assessors' Office.
You can pick one up at the Assessors' Office or you can download it from the Forms and Documents page.
The minimum amount of a bill is $5. This does not mean that every excise minimum is $5. The law states that no bill shall be less than $5.
Provide the information described below that is pertinent to your abatement application:
Normally you will receive notification within a matter of days following the next scheduled Assessor's meeting. By law, the Assessors have three months from the application filing date to act unless you agree in writing to their request to extend the action period for a specific time.
You may file an application if you meet all qualifications for a personal exemption as of July 1st. You may also apply if you are the administrator/executor of an estate of a person that qualified as of July 1st.
Your application must be filed with the Board of Assessors by December 15th or 3 months after the actual tax bills are mailed for that fiscal year. The normal time frame for filing starts as of July 1st and ends three months after the actual tax bills are due. This deadline can't be extended for any reason.
Filing an application does not stay the collection of your taxes. To avoid the loss of rights or additional charges, you should pay the tax as assessed. If there is an overpayment due to the exemption, you will be issued a refund.
Personal property is business equipment, office machinery, inventory and furniture and fixtures of a business.
A state required form notifying the Assessor’s office of any and all business equipment, machinery, inventory and furniture and fixtures.
This Form of List (State Tax Form 2) must be filed each year by all individuals, partnerships, associations, trusts, corporations, limited liability companies and other legal entities that own or hold taxable personal property on January 1st, except entities required to file with the State. In addition, all second-home owners must file a return on State Tax Form 2HF.
Forms of list must be filed by March 1st with the Board of Assessors in the city or town where the personal property is situated on January 1st. If the property has no location on January 1st, it must be listed on a form of list filed with the Assessors in the city or town where you are domiciled (legal residence or place of business). A form of list is not considered filed unless it is complete.
The Board of Assessors may extend the filing deadline if you can show a sufficient reason for not filing on time. The latest date the filing deadline can be extended to is 30 days after the tax bills are mailed for the fiscal year. Requests for an extension must be made in writing to the Assessors.
If you do not file a form of list for the fiscal year, the Assessors cannot grant an abatement for overvaluation for that year. If you file late, the Assessors can only grant an abatement if you show a reasonable excuse for the late filing or the tax assessed is more than 150% of the amount that would have been assessed if the list had been timely filed. In that case, only the amount over that percentage can be abated. You can avoid this penalty by filing on time.
The information in the form of list is used by the Board of Assessors to determine the taxable or exempt status of your personal property and, if taxable, its fair market value. You may also be required to provide the Assessors, in writing, further information about the property as well as be asked to permit them to inspect it. Forms of list are not available to the public for inspection under the public records law. They are available only to the Board of Assessors and the MA Department of Revenue for purposes of administering the tax laws.
You must file by the due date of your 1st half tax bill.
You can pick up the necessary number of applications at the Assessor’s office. Otherwise you can visit the Municipal Finance Legal Guidance site.
Abatement filings and abatement amounts are public records. However, individual abatement applications are not available to the public for inspection under the public records law.
You should bring any information that supports your case.
A list of the Personal Property tax roll is available in the Assessor’s office.
View the 2016 Tax Rates.
100% of full and fair cash value.
The courts have defined this phrase to mean "current market value." Thus, in determining value, the Assessors seek to approximate what property would sell for on the open market, with an acceptable range of error.
You can either call or come into the Assessor's office with the property location or owner’s name; or use the Patriot Properties site.
Same as in the How do I check the valuation of a property? FAQ.
Yes. The Assessor's office lists a book and page reference on the property record card for most of the properties. If the information is not available through our office, you would have to contact the Franklin County Registry of Deeds, located in Greenfield or go to the Registry of Deeds. You would need the year of the sale, and the name of either the buyer or the seller.
Yes, you can find this information by either calling or coming in to our office or visiting the Registry of Deeds.
Yes. The Assessor's office creates these reports based on transfer information received from the Registry of Deeds. The reports are available at the counter.
The change of address forms are available on our town website or in the Assessors' Office. Please contact the Assessors' Office
The assessment date is the January 1st preceding the fiscal year. New construction (i.e. new homes, additions, sheds, decks, etc.) is assessed as of July 1st.
The name on the tax bill is the record owner(s) as of January 1st preceding the fiscal year.
As stated above the bills are shown with the record owner as of January 1st. Therefore, any transfer between January 2nd and December 31st will not be reflected on any tax bills until the following July 1st. However, if someone contacts our office for the current ownership, the new owner information will be provided.
The only ways to change a name on a property/tax bill is to either record a new deed or to provide the Assessor's office with a probated will.
Currently the Tax Collector's office mails the bill semi annually.
Tax bills are due 30 days from the date of issue.
You must file by the due date of your 1st half actual tax bill.
Anyone who feels overvalued or exempt is eligible to file for an abatement. However, you should ask yourself these questions before filing:
Also, keep in mind that you are appealing your assessment, not your taxes. Therefore you must pay your taxes pending your appeal. The office staff will be happy to assist you. No appointment is necessary to review your property record card.
You must file your application in the Assessors' office for each piece of property.
You may get the application on our town website or at the Assessor's Office.
You can file an appeal within 3 months of the date of denial to the:
Appellate Tax Board (ATB)100 Cambridge Street Suite 200Boston, MA 02114Phone: 617-727-3100
Call the ATB for an application; or use the link to the ATB website. The application is not difficult to complete, and the ATB is more than fair to homeowners. However, your case may not occur for a year or so.
You will receive a notice indicating the amount of the abatement in tax dollars.
Divide the abatement amount by the tax rate.
There are a few ways that you can register to vote or to check your current voter status. Visit our Voting and Elections page to learn how!
All voting takes place in the common area of the Town Hall located at 8 Conway Street in South Deerfield. The Town of Deerfield does not have different precincts. Everyone votes in the same place!
Certified copies of vital records may be requested from the Town Clerk's office. Give their office a call at 413-665-1400, ext.100 to verify that they have the record you are looking for before purchasing.
The fee is $10.50 per certified copy (or $10 if purchasing in-person).
Payments can be made by the following ways:
Dog licenses expire April 30th every year. A late fee of $50.00 per dog begins May 1st. New dog licenses are available beginning in January and can be purchased through April to avoid the late fee. They can be purchased at the Town Clerk's office, by mail, or online. Visit our Dog License page for further information!
Yes, a reminder is sent out every January. It is attached to the bottom of the Annual Street List/Census. When you mail in your completed Census, also return the Mail-In Dog Registration form and payment to our office and we will mail the license back to you!
Business Certificates, or DBAs (Doing Business As), are filed at the Town Clerk's office. The fee is $20.00 and the certificate is valid for 4 years. Forms must be filled out in the presence of Town Clerk Staff. If you are unable to make it to our office during business hours, you will need to get your signature notarized before submitting the form and payment to our office.
View the Business Certificate Form (PDF)
Beach passes are sold only at Tri-Town Beach. They are not available at any Town Hall.
No, the Town does not offer trash pickup. If you would like your trash picked up for you, you will need to hire a private company. Deerfield residents have the option of utilizing the Town's Transfer Station but it is up to the resident to bring their recyclables and trash to the Station located at 42 Lee Road in South Deerfield. For more information about the Transfer Station and how to gain access, visit our Transfer Station page!
Verify that the information is correct and complete. Write in any missing information or corrections as needed. Once finished, sign and date the bottom and return to the Town Clerk's office at your soonest convenience!
Put an "M" in the Moved/Deceased column next to their name. If they are a registered voter, we will need their signature before they can be removed.
Write in all of their information and be sure to put their Date of Birth as we cannot add them without it!
In accordance with Chapter 110, Section 5 of Massachusetts General Law, "any person conducting business in the commonwealth under any title other than the real name of the person conducting the business, whether individually or as a partnership, shall file in the office of the clerk of every city or town where an office of any such person or partnership may be situated."
The primary purpose is to protect consumers by identifying the names and addresses of the owners of a business that goes by a name other than that of the proprietor. A copy of the Business Certificate should be readily available at the address of the business and shall be furnished on request during regular business hours to any person who has purchased goods or services from said business. If you are looking to open up a bank account under your business name, the bank will most likely require a certified copy of your Business Certificate.Please note: A Business Certificate is not a license to operate a business within the Town of Deerfield. Permits/licenses may be required from other Town Departments or State Agencies in order to do business. For further information, call the Building Inspector/Zoning Officer at 413-665-1400, ext. 110.
The filing fee for a Business Certificate is $20.00.
A Business Certificate is good for 4 years. It expires 4 years from the date that it is recorded at the Town Clerk's office. Upon expiration, the business shall renew their DBA certificate by filing with the Town Clerk and paying the $20.00 filing fee.
A Business Certificate can be filed at the Town Clerk's office Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. Please be prepared to provide a photo I.D.
If you are unable to make it during the Town Clerk's business hours, you may print out your own Business Certificate form (PDF), but it must be completed and signed in the presence of a Notary Public.
If more than one person is conducting business under said name, all persons should be listed on the business certificate. All proprietors are not required to appear together at the same time but all signatures must be notarized or signed in front of the Town Clerk. The business certificate will take effect once completed by all owners and filed with the Town Clerk.
Yes, if you close your business and have a Business Certificate filed with the Town Clerk's office, then you will need to fill out a Statement of Discontinuance form. You can complete this form in person at the Town Clerk's office or you can print your own Statement of Discontinuance form (PDF), sign it in front of a Notary Public and then return it to the Town Clerk's office at your soonest convenience. Please be aware that you may be responsible for any current Personal Property bills in addition to a future billing if your business was open during the assessment period.
If so, they will need to apply for a One-Day Designation Certificate from the Governor's office. Once approved, the applicant will receive an official "Certificate of Solemnization" by mail. This Certificate must be returned to the Clerk's office along with the Marriage License once the marriage has been performed. To apply or find out more information about a One-Day Designation Certificate, please visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts webpage.
If so, they will need to apply for the Non-Resident Clergy Petition in order to perform a marriage in Massachusetts. Once approved, the applicant will receive an official "Certificate of Solemnization" by mail. This Certificate must be returned to the Clerk's office along with the Marriage License once the marriage has been performed. To apply or find out more information about a Non-Resident Clergy Petition, please visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts webpage.
Visit the Massachusetts Justices of the Peace Association website to find a JP by name or location.
Visit our Voting and Elections page to find out how to register and when future elections are.
All dogs, 6 months or older, residing in Town must be licensed with the Town Clerk's office. We will need to see paperwork from your Vet with the current rabies expiration date and if they are spayed/neutered (if applicable). For more information about licensing your dog, please visit the Dog License page.
Give the Assessor's office a call at 413-665-1400, ext. 106 to see if the information they have is accurate and up-to-date. If the address is incorrect, you will need to fill out a Change of Mailing Address form. You may obtain a Change of Mailing Address Request form from the Assessors' Office in the Town Hall or you may print yourself a copy. Completed forms go to the Assessors' Office.
Download the Mailing Address Change Request Form (PDF)
Every January, the Town Clerk's office mails out an Annual Street List (Census) form to all households in Town. Typically, there is a pamphlet included along with the census that contains important information and dates for the upcoming year. This is also your reminder to license your dog by using the Mail-In Dog Registration form that is attached to the bottom of the census. To ensure that you will receive one of these every January, please stop by the Town Clerk's office to fill one out or print yourself a copy and return it to the Town Clerk's by mail or in person. Please be sure to include your physical address, mailing address (if different), list each person residing at this household and their Date of Birth as we cannot add them without it.
Download the Mail-In Dog Registration Form (PDF)
Organizations must have been organized and active for at least 2 years prior to applying for a permit. The Town Clerk has a right to request proof of validity, such as Meeting Minutes from 2 years ago.
The fee for a Raffle/Bazaar permit is $20.00 and it is valid for 1 year from the date it is issued by the Town Clerk.
An organization is limited to 3 bazaars in a calendar year. There is no limit as to how many raffles can be held during the year in which the permit is valid.
Yes, in addition to the Raffle/Bazaar Permit Application, a Notice of Issuance of Raffle and Bazaar License must be completed. The Town Clerk's office will mail a copy of this form to the State Lottery Commission. Once they receive the form, the State Lottery Commission will mail the necessary tax forms directly to the organization. Within 10 days of each raffle, the organization must file a tax return and 5% of gross proceeds to the State Lottery Commission.
View the Notice of Issuance of Raffle and Bazaar License (PDF)
Upon the expiration date of a permit, the organization has 30 days to complete and return the Annual Report for Raffles and Bazaars (PDF) to the Town Clerk's office that issued the Raffle Permit. This must be done before a renewal may be issued. If the Town Clerk's office does not receive the Annual Report, they have the authority to refuse to issue a new permit to the organization.
The following information will need to be provided on the Annual Report: