An abatement is a reduction in the level of taxation faced by an individual or company.
Examples of an abatement include a tax decrease, a reduction in penalties or a rebate. If an individual or business overpays its taxes or receives a tax bill that is too high, they can request an abatement from the Board of Assessors.
The Assessors can lower an assessment if there is an error in the factual data, or if a taxpayer can show that a property assessment is not in line with assessments for an improved property of similar style, age, square footage, amenities, etc.
A taxpayer can only seek an abatement from the time the third bill, known as the “actual” bill is mailed (usually one of the last days in December) until these bills are due to be paid on February (there are different guidelines if bills are mailed after December 31).
Note: The application must be in writing on an approved form.
Corrections to factual data can be made at any time however, the change in assessment is applied to the next year’s bill if it is not done through the abatement process (i.e. timely filed). The timing of when an assessment can be adjusted is prescribed by statute. This applies whether the change will increase or decrease the assessed value. It also applies if the Town made an error on the property card.
Again, whether the error is against or in favor of the owner, it can only be applied to the current or future tax year (if filed timely, or the next fiscal year). There are no retroactive abatements.