Topsfield Assessor's Office
The Board of Assessors is required by statute to assess at full and fair cash market value. The Board updates its records on an annual basis by reviewing all permits, lot splits and subdivisions plans and sales. Valuation adjustments are made annually if sales analysis indicates that assessed values do not meet statutory requirements. The state conducts a detailed review in all communities every third year to ensure compliance with regulations and guidelines.
The Board of Assessors sets the tax rate(s) after the Board of Selectmen determine what portion of the levy each property class will bear. The levy (amount of revenue raised through the real and personal property tax) is a net figure being the difference between the gross amount to be raised (town meeting action, state assessment charges, overlay, prior year deficits) and estimated receipts and revenues from state and local sources. The result is divided by the total assessed taxable value of the town to determine the tax rate.
The assessment date is January 1st of each year for the fiscal year that begins on the following July 1st. If a taxpayer is aggrieved by his or her valuation, he or she may appeal to the Board by filing an application for abatement State Tax Form 128. Applications for abatement of real and personal property must be filed with assessors not later than due date of actual (not preliminary) tax payment for the fiscal year. Information regarding the appeal process is printed on back of the tax bills.
If an owner is aggrieved by the Board's decision, he or she may further appeal to the Appellate Tax Board.
Information regarding an appeal: Fundamentals of Appealing your Property Assessment.
Literary, temperance, benevolent, charitable or scientific organizations that may be entitled to an exemption from real and personal property taxes under General Laws Chapter 59, Section 5, Clause 3 must file State Tax Form 3ABC listing all property that they own or hold for these purposes on January 1st.
It is the statutory obligation of the town (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, Section 11) to mail the tax bills to the assessed owner of record as of January 1st. Every effort is made to mail a copy of the tax bill to the new owner. As a new owner, if you have not received a copy of the tax bill, please contact the Tax Collector (978-887-1511).
Real and Personal Property tax bills are mailed twice a year and are due quarterly as follows:
- First Quarter Preliminary Bill is due on August 1st
- Second Quarter Preliminary Bill is due on November 1st
- Third Quarter Actual Bill is due on February 1st
- Fourth Quarter Final Payment for Fiscal Year is due on May 1sT
A change of address must be made in writing and mailed to the Board of Assessors. Download the Change of Address Form.
If you have any questions, please contact the Assessors' Office (978-887-1514).