The Assessors' Office is responsible for the administration of all laws and regulations regarding property tax assessment. The Assessors, as required by Chapters 59, 60A, 61, 61B, 121A of the Massachusetts General Laws and various Acts of the Legislature, perform the appraisal of approximately 8,000 parcels of property.
The Assessor is required by Massachusetts Law to list and value all real and personal property. Valuation is subject to ad valorem taxation on an assessment roll each year. The "ad valorem" basis for taxation means that all property should be taxed "according to value", which is the definition of ad valorem. Assessed values, in Massachusetts, are based on "full and fair cash value", or 100 percent of the fair market value.
To arrive at "full and fair cash value" for your property, the Assessor must know what "willing sellers" and "willing buyers" are doing in the marketplace. The Assessor also must collect, record and analyze a great deal of information about property and market characteristics in order to estimate the fair market value, including keeping current on cost of construction in the area and any changes in zoning, financing and economic conditions which may affect property values. The Assessor uses the three nationally recognized appraisal approaches to value: cost, income and market. This data is then correlated into to final value.
The object of the valuation program is to estimate "full and fair cash value" as of January 1 (known as the "assessment date") prior to the fiscal year. For example, the assessment date for Fiscal Year 2021 is January 1, 2020.
Assessors are required to submit these values to the State Department of Revenue for certification every five years. In the years between certification, Assessors must also maintain the values. The Town of Belmont reassesses each and every year, subject to a Massachusetts Department of Revenue statistical review. This is done so that the property taxpayer pays his or her fair share of the cost of local government, in proportion to the amount of money the property is worth, on a yearly basis rather than every five years.
This Department also is responsible for preparing cases for hearing and defending property values before the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board and for reporting all sales within the City to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. The Assessors' Office works daily with the inquiries of taxpayers, planners, developers, builders, real estate professionals and others. The Assessors coordinate the revaluation process to comply with the laws of the Commonwealth and to achieve a sound base for fiscal planning within the Town .