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Exemptions

Real Property Tax Exemptions and Deferral Information

If you are an older citizen, surviving spouse – husband or wife – or minor whose parent is deceased, you may be more vulnerable than most citizens to high property taxes.

Fortunately, there are programs to help you meet your tax obligations. These programs, which provide either property tax exemptions or a deferral of taxes, are set forth in different clauses of Chapter 59: Section 5 of the Massachusetts General Laws. Those specifically geared for you are variations of Clause 17 or Clause 41 or the Clause 41A tax deferral. Tax exemptions and deferrals are granted to those individuals who meet the eligibility requirements of age, assets, income, ownership, > 10% disabled veteran, blind, widow or widower.

In addition, a senior may volunteer to participate in a work-off program to reduce their taxes. Programs and eligibility requirements are listed in the following document: Nahant Programs For Tax Assistance available for download on our Documents and Forms page.

Visit the Citizen Information Service website for additional details.

Clause 17D Property Tax Exemption

Benefits

If you qualify under one of the Clause 17 exemptions, your assessor will grant you a deduction of $175 from your tax bill.

If you qualify for one of the Clause 41 exemptions, instead, you will receive a deduction of $500 from your tax bill.

Clause 17 exemptions are geared to older citizens, surviving spouses of any age and to qualified minors who have a deceased parent. Senior citizens who are 70 and over and who ineligible for one of the Clause 41 exemptions may qualify for one of the Clause 17 exemptions due to no income limitations.

*Acceptance by a city or town means approval by the town meeting in a town, the city council subject to the provisions of the city charter in a city and the town council in a municipality having such form of government. All cities and towns are subject to the provisions of Clause 17 and Clause 41 unless they have a accepted a more recently enacted clause. When they accept such a clause, the provisions of the clause which was in effect are no longer applicable.

Eligibility Requirements

Age and Status
You are single, or if married, your spouse is not an owner. You must be 70 years or older before the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, for which an exemption is sought. You and your spouse are joint owners. Either spouse must be 70 years or older before the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, for which an exemption is sought. You are a surviving spouse of any age or a qualified minor, that is, a minor who has a deceased parent.

Ownership and Occupancy
Those 70 years of age, as defined above, must have owned and occupied the property as domicile in Massachusetts for not less than ten years for not less than five years, Clause 17D, and must own and occupy the property on July 1 in the year of application. A surviving spouse or qualified minor must be the present owner and occupant.

Real Estate and Personal Property
A person may have a total worth of $40,000, excluding the assessed valuation of the domicile as of July 1 in the year of the application. Only the portion which produces income and which exceeds two dwelling units must be included. Any unpaid mortgage balance on that property is excluded.

Income Eligibility
Yearly income is not considered in determining eligibility for Clause 17D.

How to Apply for a Tax Exemption

Contact your local Board of Assessors for an application form. You must apply each year for an exemption or a deferral. Generally, you can receive only one exemption, so submit the application for the exemption which will give you the greatest benefit. However, since Clause 41A is a deferral of taxes, you may use a Clause 41A deferral in conjunction with a tax exemption for which you qualify.

Applications under Clause 17D must be virtuald with the Board of Assessors on or before December 15 of each year. If the actual (not preliminary) property tax bill is mailed after September 15, you have three months from the date the bill is first mailed in which to apply.

In addition to your local Board of Assessors, your local Council on Aging may be able to help you fill out the forms. Some councils employ tax specialists to provide such assistance.

Joint Ownership

If two or more people own property, each of whom is entitled to a different exemption, each can apply and if the person is qualified, each will be entitled to his/her exemption. Consult you local Board of Assessors.

Clause 41A Property Tax Deferral

If you are unable to qualify for an exemption under any of the clauses described in previous pages, or if these exemptions do not help you enough in paying your real estate taxes, you might consider applying for a tax deferral under Clause 41A. A deferral permits you to delay payment on property taxes.

If you qualify for a Clause 41A tax deferral, you enter into an agreement with your local assessor to defer payment of all or part of your taxes plus eight percent interest up to fifty percent of your interest in the property valuation.

Taxes in every year may be deferred until you reach a point where the unpaid taxes plus interest due are equal to fifty percent of your interest in the property at full and fair cash value. When that point is reached, although you may no longer defer payment on current and future taxes, the unpaid taxes and interest to date together with interest which will continue to accrue on the unpaid taxes may remain unpaid until the property is sold or until one’s death. Upon one’s death the deferral may be continued by your surviving spouse, if he/she qualifies, or the taxes may be paid by your heirs or your estate. You can, of course, repay total deferred taxes at any time before then. Upon your death, if your surviving spouse does not continue to defer, or if the property is sold prior to your death, the interest rate goes up to sixteen percent, and the taxes must be paid in order to release the lien that was placed on the property while there were unpaid deferred taxes. If the taxes are not paid within six months of death or sale, the local treasurer may seek to foreclose the lien on the property if the deferred amount remains unpaid.

Eligibility Requirements

Age and Status
You are single, or if married, your spouse is not an owner. You must be 70 years or older by July 1 of the year in which application is made. You and your spouse are joint owners. Either spouse must be 70 years or older by July 1 of the year in which application is made. You, age 70 or older, or you and your spouse, either of whom is 70 years or older by July 1 of the year in which application is made, own property jointly with other person(s). You are a single person who is a joint owner sharing ownership with other person(s). You must be 70 years or older by July 1 of the year in which application is made.

Ownership and Occupancy
Applicant(s) must have owned and occupied as your domicile any real property in Massachusetts (including present property) for five years. Massachusetts must have been your domicile for the preceding ten years.

Real Estate and Personal Property
Not applicable.

Income Eligibility
From all sources in calendar year preceding year in which application is made, not to exceed $20,000. A community may adopt a higher maximum qualifying gross receipts amount but such amount shall not exceed $40,000.

Surviving Spouse Deferral
A surviving spouse inheriting property must have occupied it or other real property for five years. The surviving spouse who otherwise qualifies may choose to continue to defer taxes. However, the total of taxes deferred by both spouses together with interest thereon may not exceed fifty percent of their interest in the property valuation.

Payment of a deceased spouse’s deferred taxes shall not be required during the life of a surviving spouse of any age who inherits the property and who enters into a tax deferral and recovery agreement.

If you or your spouse own property jointly with other individuals you may apply for the deferral. The deferred taxes with interest at eight percent in this case are not to exceed one half of the full and fair cash value of the proportion of this property owned by you or you and your spouse.

Clauses 41A

How to Apply for a Tax Deferral
Contact your local Board of Assessors for an application form. You must apply each year for an exemption or deferral. Generally, you can receive only one exemption, so submit the application for the exemption which will provide the greatest benefit. However, since Clause 41A is a deferral of taxes, you may use a Clause 41A deferral in conjunction with an exemption for which you qualify.

Applications under Clause 41A and Clause 41C must be filed with your local Board of Assessors on or before December 15 in each year. If the actual, not preliminary, property tax bill is mailed after September 15, you have three months from the date the bill is first mailed in which to apply.

In addition to your local Board of Assessors, your local Council on Aging may be able to help you fill out the forms. Some councils employ tax specialists to provide such assistance.

Joint Ownership
If two or more people own property each can apply, and if the person is qualified, each will be entitled to his or her exemption. Consult your local Board of Assessors.

Clause 41C Property Tax Exemption

Benefits

If you qualify under Clause 41C exemption, your assessor will grant you a deduction of $500 from your tax bill. These exemptions provide the greatest benefit to a senior citizen homeowner.

If you do not qualify for one of the Clause 41exemptions, you may be eligible for one of the Clause 17 exemptions. These would provide you with a deduction of $175 from your tax bill.

Eligibility Requirements

Age and Status
You are a single person who is a sole owner or a joint owner who shares ownership with other person(s). You must be 70 years or older before the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, for which an exemption is sought.

You and your spouse are joint owners. Either spouse must be 70 years or older before the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, for which an exemption is sought.
You are a married person who is a sole owner. You must be 70 years or older before the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, for which an exemption is sought.

Ownership and Occupancy
You must have owned and occupied as principal residence any real property in Massachusetts for five years including ownership and occupancy of present property on July 1 in the year of application. Massachusetts must have been your place of domicile for the preceding ten years. A surviving spouse inheriting the property must have occupied the property for five years.

Real Estate and Personal Property
Total worth may not exceed one of two options.

Option 1 allows a total worth of $17,000 for a single person or $20,000 for a married couple, excluding assessed value of domicile as of July 1 in year of application.

Option 2 allows a total worth of $40,000 for a single person or $45,000 for a married couple, including the assessed value of the domicile. If there is joint ownership with a person not a spouse, the whole estate, real and personal, of each joint tenant or tenant in common must be less than $12,000 for a single person or not exceed $15,000 if married, including the assessed value of the domicile.

Clause 41C

For a single person who is a sole owner or a joint owner who shares ownership with others, total worth should not exceed $28,000 (if married – $30,000), excluding assessed value of domicile as of July 1 in the year of application. Only the portion, if any, which produces income and exceeds two dwelling units must be included.

Income Eligibility
For single person – less than $13,000
For married couple – less than $15,000

You may deduct the minimum annual social security payment* from your gross income receipts if your gross receipts include payments from social security, railroad retirement or a federal, state, county, municipal or district retirement or pension plan. Ordinary business expenses and losses may be deducted from gross income receipts, but not personal or family expenses.

*The minimum annual social security payment rate changes yearly. It is determined by the Department of Revenue and is available from your Board of Assessors.

Joint Ownership
Joint ownership with persons not your spouse. If you or you and your spouse own property jointly with other person(s), you may apply for that portion of the exemption which corresponds to the proportion of the property that you or you and your spouse own. However, unless each joint owner meets the requirements for income and total worth for a single person or married couple, whichever is applicable, no joint owner is eligible.

If you are unable to qualify for an exemption under any of the clauses described in previous pages, or if these exemptions do not help you enough in paying your real |estate taxes, you might consider applying for a tax deferral under Clause 41A.
A deferral permits you to delay payment on property taxes.

If you qualify for a Clause 41A tax deferral, you enter into an agreement with your local assessor to defer payment of all or part of your taxes plus eight percent interest up to fifty percent of your interest in the property valuation.

Taxes in every year may be deferred until you reach a point where the unpaid taxes plus interest due are equal to fifty percent of your interest in the property at full and fair cash value. When that point is reached, although you may no longer defer payment on current and future taxes, the unpaid taxes and interest to date together with interest which will continue to accrue on the unpaid taxes may remain unpaid until the property is sold or until one’s death. Upon one’s death the deferral may be continued by your surviving spouse, if he/she qualifies, or the taxes may be paid by your heirs or your estate. You can, of course, repay total deferred taxes at any time before then. Upon your death, if your surviving spouse does not continue to defer, or if the property is sold prior to your death, the interest rate goes up to sixteen percent, and the taxes must be paid in order to release the lien that was placed on the property while there were unpaid deferred taxes. If the taxes are not paid within six months of death or sale, the local treasurer may seek to foreclose the lien on the property if the deferred amount remains unpaid.

Age and Status
You are single, or if married, your spouse is not an owner. You must be 65 years or older by July 1 of the year in which application is made. You and your spouse are joint owners. Either spouse must be 65 years or older by July 1 of the year in which application is made. You, age 65 or older, or you and your spouse, either of whom is 65 years or older by July 1 of the year in which application is made, own property jointly with other person(s). You are a single person who is a joint owner sharing ownership with other person(s). You must be 65 years or older by July 1 of the year in which application is made.

Ownership and Occupancy
Applicant(s) must have owned and occupied as your domicile any real property in Massachusetts (including present property) for five years. Massachusetts must have been your domicile for the preceding ten years.

Real Estate and Personal Property
Not applicable.

Income Eligibility
From all sources in calendar year preceding year in which application is made, not to exceed $20,000. A community may adopt a higher maximum qualifying gross receipts amount but such amount shall not exceed $40.000.

A surviving spouse inheriting property must have occupied it or other real property for five years. The surviving spouse who otherwise qualifies may choose to continue to defer taxes. However, the total of taxes deferred by both spouses together with interest thereon may not exceed fifty percent of their interest in the property valuation.

Payment of a deceased spouse’s deferred taxes shall not be required during the life of a surviving spouse of any age who inherits the property and who enters into a tax deferral and recovery agreement.

If you or your spouse own property jointly with other individuals you may apply for the deferral. The deferred taxes with interest at eight percent in this case are not to exceed one half of the full and fair cash value of the proportion of this property owned by you or you and your spouse.

Contact your local Board of Assessors for an application form. You must apply each year for an exemption or deferral. Generally, you can receive only one exemption, so submit the application for the exemption which will provide the greatest benefit. However, since Clause 41A is a deferral of taxes, you may use a Clause 41A deferral in conjunction with an exemption for which you qualify.

Applications under Clause 41, Clause 41A, Clause 41B or Clause 41C must be virtuald with your local Board of Assessors on or before December 15 in each year. If the actual, not preliminary, property tax bill is mailed after September 15, you have three months from the date the bill is first mailed in which to apply. In the year of local acceptance of Clause 41C the community allows an additional 45 days from the date of acceptance to apply unless a later date for applying is allowed by another statute.

In addition to your local Board of Assessors, your local Council on Aging may be able to help you fill out the forms. Some councils employ tax specialists to provide such assistance.

Joint Ownership
If two or more people own property each can apply, and if the person is qualified, each will be entitled to his or her exemption. Consult your local Board of Assessors.

Clauses 41C

How to Apply for a Tax Exemption
Contact your local Board of Assessors for an application form. You must apply each year for an exemption or deferral. Generally, you can receive only one exemption, so submit the application for the exemption which will provide the greatest benefit. However, since Clause 41A is a deferral of taxes, you may use a Clause 41A deferral in conjunction with an exemption for which you qualify.

Applications under Clause 41C must be files with your local Board of Assessors on or before December 15 in each year. If the actual, not preliminary, property tax bill is mailed after September 15, you have three months from the date the bill is first mailed in which to apply. In the year of local acceptance of Clause 41C the community allows an additional 45 days from the date of acceptance to apply unless a later date for applying is allowed by another statute.

In addition to your local Board of Assessors, your local Council on Aging may be able to help you fill out the forms. Some councils employ tax specialists to provide such assistance.

Joint Ownership
If two or more people own property each can apply, and if the person is qualified, each will be entitled to his or her exemption. Consult your local Board of Assessors.

Clause 22C

Clause 22C – $1,500 This exemption is available to veterans who (1) suffered total disability in the line of duty and (2) who received assistance in acquiring “specially adapted housing” which they own and occupy as their domicile, and their spouses or surviving spouses.

If the subject property is greater than a single-family house, only that fraction of $1,500 that corresponds to the part occupied by the veteran or if deceased, the surviving spouse, is allowed.

Exemption Forms