Guidelines for Preparing an Abatement Application

The following provides abatement appellants with information on how best to fill out an application for Abatement. Note: that "best" presentation of a case does not in any way commit the Board of Assessors to grant an abatement. Each case will be decided on its own merits.

Considerations


  • Carefully consider whether you really have a valid case. Stating "My taxes are too high" is not a reason for granting an abatement. The overall Merrimac budget is determined by Town Meeting and in some cases by Proposition 2 1/2 override elections as the final approval in a process involving the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, and the Finance Committee. The Board of Assessors only determines the assessed valuations which are the basis for apportioning the tax burden equitably.
  • Be sure to use the Department of Revenue (DOR) approved form available at Town Hall and at the Assessors office. The space on the form for "Reason(s) Abatement Sought" is limited, you may also add attachments. If you do add attachments a simple statement "Please see attachments" is the only text that needs to be in that section.

Justifications


Clearly state the reason for the application. There are 3 basic justifications for granting an abatement. Any or all of them may exist in a given problem assessment.
  1. Data Error: There has been an error in the factual basis for the assessment. The basic dimensions or status of a house or land may be in error. Deed restrictions, factors relating to location, house style, and more are also appropriate items to consider. All of the factors involved in determining values are shown on the Property Record Card, which can be obtained from the Assessing Office in the Town Hall. The current fiscal year values are available now and detail property information can be accessed and listings are available in the Assessors office. Also available in the Assessors office is a guide to understanding these factors.
  2. Overvaluation: It may be possible to demonstrate, by analysis of sales of comparable properties, that your house is over-assessed. Creating a table of the sales prices of comparable properties may be useful. Try to have at least 3 comparables. Such a table should provide details of your property and of the properties chosen for comparison, including such items as price, date of sale, lot size, house size, house style, year built, condition factors, neighborhood factors, etc. Use properties which very closely match your own property. The better the match, the stronger your case will be if the comparable properties sold for significantly less than your assessment. Information on relevant sales may be found on the Town of Merrimac's website, in the Assessing Department section. Note: as an example, sales from calendar year 2007 are the basis for FY2009 values.
  3. Inequitable Assessment: There may be an inequity when the assessed value of your property is compared with the assessed values of very similar properties, such as, similar in neighborhood, size, style, etc. As in item 2 above, a table showing data for your property and data for the comparable properties is helpful in effectively presenting your case. Data on other properties in Merrimac may be found on the Town of Merrimac's website in the Assessing Department section.
Be sure to sign the oath and include a valid phone number. Please note that the law directs the Board of Assessors only to act on an abatement application within 90 days of receipt. In the course of acting on the application, Assessing Department staff and/or the Assessors may speak with the applicant, visit the property, or even allow the applicant to address the Board at a public meeting, but this is not required. Learn more about the Abatement Application Process, available from the Assessors office.

Contact Us


Please contact the Board of Assessors:
Heather Roche, Clerk
6 School St
Merrimac, MA 01860
Phone: 978-346-9022
Fax: 978-346-9022
Email

Please schedule appointments 1 week in advance

Office Hours


Mon/Tues 10am-4pm
Wed/Thurs 8am-2pm
Fri 8am-12pm or 12pm-4pm (alternate weeks)