Assessing Department

Andrew Creen
Chief Appraiser

781-897-5830 (Phone)
781-897-5839 (Fax)
2nd Floor of City Hall
10 Common St.
Woburn, MA 01801

Responsibilities

The Board of Assessors is responsible for determining the fair cash value of all property in the City of Woburn. To accomplish this task, the Assessors gather pertinent property characteristics for each parcel of property and use this information to build appropriate valuation schedules for various classes of property. The uniform application of the valuation schedules results in an assessment being determined for each property.

Assessments

The assessments are used to determine the amount of property taxes each property will generate. The assessors maintain ownership information for each parcel of real estate and also determine whether taxpayers qualify for certain statutory exemptions such as: elderly, widow, blind, disabled veteran, etc.

Assessors 

The assessors are also responsible for managing the automobile excise tax system. The city issues approximately 50,000 excise bills annually. Many of these bills need to be adjusted due to the sale of the vehicle or its total damage resulting from accident or theft. The Assessors welcome taxpayers to make inquires over the phone or in person regarding any of the above programs

Tax Rates Fiscal 2018

Tax Rate
Residential
$9.89
Commercial
$24.95
Industrial
$24.95
Personal Property
$24.95

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The property characteristics the Assessors use to value you property are available for you to review online. Simply follow the link below and search for your home or business. You make look up a parcel entering its location, ownership or the parcel identification number. If you discover an error kindly notify this office so that corrections may be made.

No, Proposition 2.5 pertains to the total amount of monies raised by taxation also know as the tax levy. Generally speaking, the tax levy may not increase greater that 2.5 percent over the prior year’s levy. However, this limitation does not pertain to individual tax bills. Your bill may increase or decrease by any amount in any given year.

The Fiscal Year for the City of Woburn runs from July 1st to June 30th and the effective date for taxation is January 1st. Therefore, if a house is constructed after January 1st, then it is not included on the tax bill for that fiscal year. Conversely, a property damaged or demolished after January 1st is liable of the tax for the entire fiscal year since it was in place on the assessment date of January 1.

The City of Woburn issues tax bills on a quarterly billing cycle. The cycle begins with the determination of the Preliminary Tax Bill. The Preliminary bill is based upon one-half of the prior year’s net tax bill plus 2.5 percent. This amount is divided into two payments (Quarter 1 and Quarter2). The Third Quarter or actual bill contains the property assessment for the fiscal year and the new tax rate. Applying the tax rate to the assessment results in the total taxes for the year. The first two quarter bills (providing they have been paid) are then deducted from the total bill and this amount is in turn divided into two quarterly bills. The process is summarized below:

Quarter Bill Due Date
First (Preliminary) August 1
Second (Preliminary) November 1
Third (Actual Bill) February 1
Fourth (Final Bill) May 1

The Assessors are required by law to send the tax bill to the owner of record as of January 1 of the tax year. The tax year is a fiscal cycle which runs from July 1st to June 30th. Therefore, if you receive a tax bill in Quarter 1 which is due August 1st and you did not own the property as of January 1st the Assessors are obligated by statute to send the bill to the owner of record as of that date.
As a courtesy to new property owners, the Assessors may send the tax bill to the prior owner in care of the new owner such as:

Prior Property Owner (Owner as of Jan. 1st)
New Property Owner
123 Any Street
Woburn, MA 01801

If you are a new property owner kindly contact this office so that we can make the appropriate address correction.

Assessors are required by Massachusetts law to value all real and personal property within their community which includes every property from single-family residences to commercial and industrial enterprises.
Every three years Assessors must submit these values to the state Department of Revenue for certification. Assessors must also maintain the values in the years between certifications. This is done so that each property taxpayer in the community pays their fair share of the cost of local government – no more or less – in proportion to the amount of money the property is worth.

Assessors also have responsibility for the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax bills originated by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Assessors adjust excise bills on vehicles which may have been issued in error or where the vehicle has been traded-in or sold outright in no longer owned by the person assessed.

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. Assessors follow the procedures established by others to set the value of property. Value is actually set by buyers and sellers as they establish the worth of comparable properties through their transactions in the real estate marketplace.
Assessors do not determine taxes. The level of property taxation is determined by the municipality itself, through its City Council. Similarly, Assessors do not decide who is entitled to relief on their property tax bills through exemptions; rather they follow the state law.

In Massachusetts Valuation is based on “full and fair cash value” (“market value”) which is 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 taxable properties in their communities. Properties such as churches and educational institutions are also valued even though they are exempt from taxation.
Characteristics of land and buildings contribute to a properties’ (sp) value. Finding the “full and fair cash value” or “market value” of a residential properties involves discovering what similar properties sold for (both improved properties and vacant land), what the property would cost today to replace and what financial factors, such as interest rates, may be affecting the real estate market. Valuation techniques for commercial and industrial properties also include analysis from an investment perspective, since the purchase price the buyer is willing to pay depends in part on the return they expect to receive.

Assessors do not create value, rather they have the legal responsibility to discover and reflect the changes that are occurring in the marketplace.

The assessed value (or assessment) is the value of property to be used for local taxation, as determined by the Assessors according to Massachusetts law and regulations set by the Commissioner of Revenue.
Since assessments must be set at market value, rising real estate values in the community will be reflected in higher assessments. All properties, however, do not change in value to exactly the same degree. Many factors influence values and the value of some properties may well increase more rapidly than others.

Before Proposition 2.5 went into effect in Massachusetts in Fiscal Year 1982, the amount to be raised by the property tax in each community was basically determined by what the community decided to spend in the coming year. Basically, budgets were determined, and then tax rates were set to raise that amount.
With Proposition 2.5 in effect, the process is reversed. The tax limitation law sets the maximum amount a community may collect from the property tax; budgets must be made to fit within that limit (or within the increased limits of any overrides adopted by the voters).

The City Council adopts a budget that reflects the funds to be raised through the levy and the additional funds from other sources, such as state aid and local receipts from fees and user charges. The amount to be collected from the property tax (called the “levy”) is divided among the local taxpayers in proportion to the value of their property.

Once the Assessors have calculated the current total valuation of property and know the amount the City Council has voted to come from the levy, the Assessors prepare a document that shows how much of the value and how much of the proposed levy would come from each of the different classes of property (residential, commercial, industrial, open space and personal). They provide this document to the City Council members (and the Mayor) who must then vote on whether to apply the same tax rate or separate rates to the different property classes.
If the community officials choose to utilize different tax rates, a residential rate could, for example, be $10 per thousand of value and the commercial/industrial/personal property rate $22 per thousand of value. The tax rate is expressed in dollars per thousand of value. A tax rate of $25 per thousand then would result in a tax of $2,500 for a property valued at $100,000.

Next, the Assessors prepare various documentation which is submitted to the Department of Revenue for certification of the tax rate. Once the rate is certified, the tax bills are mailed.

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Posted on
2/2

Auto Excise Bills Mailed

Tax Rates Approved

Tue, Dec 19th
The city has received notice from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue that the fiscal 2018 tax rates have been approved.  The new rates are:

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