Property Tax Assistance

EXEMPTIONS ♦ TAX-ADE ♦ SENIOR WORK-OFF PROGRAM

  

What is an EXEMPTION?

Massachusetts General Laws provide for a reduction of the tax for property owned and occupied by individuals who meet certain exemption qualifications.  The City of Chicopee may grant exemptions to homeowner-occupants who are Elderly, Blind, Surviving Spouses of Deceased Taxpayers, Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities, and Elderly Taxpayers with documented extreme Hardship.

  • Exemptions are not automatic. 
  • Each applicant must apply and qualify each year. 
  • The qualifying date is July 1 of the fiscal year.
  • Information given to the Board of Assessors must be certified with the signature of the applicant under the penalties of perjury
  • Filing an application does not mean you can postpone the payment of your tax bill.

 

Assessors do not decide

who is entitled to relief through exemption.

They must follow the state laws.

 

 

Which Exemptions are available?

Clause 41D  - Elderly Exemption
The Exemption amount for a qualified Senior Citizen is $500.

1. Must be over 65 years old as of July 1 of tax year and
2. Must have been continuously domiciled in Massachusetts for the 10 years preceding the application and
3. Owned and occupied property for 5 years and must have occupied the property as of July 1 of the tax year and
4. Contact the Assessors' Office for the Income & Asset limits as they are subject to change annually.

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Clause 17C½ - Elderly Citizens, Surviving Spouse, Minor Child
The Exemption amount is $175

1. Must be over 70 years of age as of July 1 of tax year
    or be a surviving spouse or surviving minor child
2. Must have owned & occupied the property for 10 years and
3. Must have a whole estate (less the domicile value) of less than $40,000.  Income is not considered.

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Disabled Veteran
Clauses 22, 22A, 22B, 22C, 22D, and 22E of Secion 5 of Chapter 59 provide exemptions to certain veterans and their spouses, surviving spouses or surviving parents.  The Exemption amount varies according to the degree of disability as determined by the Veterans Administration or the branch of service from which separated.

A veteran must have been domiciled in Massachusetts 6 months prior to entering the service or have been a Massachusetts resident for at least 5 consecutive years after discharge prior to filing for exemption. 

Please contact the Assessors' Office for more detailed information as each Clause has its own guidelines.

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Clause 56 - National Guard and Military Reservists Abatement
Abatement amount $1,000

Applicable during Fiscal year 2015 and 2016

 

  • Applicant must be member of the Massachusetts National Guard or Military Reservists who is, or was on active duty and serving in a foreign country, may receive a reduction of their real estate taxes.  They must have served at any time between July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2016.  
  • In the absence of the member, a spouse or other person (with durable power of attorney) may file the application.
  • Under this program, the qualifying member may earn a real estate tax abatement in the amount of $1,000 for the fiscal year in which they served.
  • The guard member or reservist must be the assessed owner of the property as of July 1st of the fiscal year in which the abatement is sought.
  • The member must be able to provide the Board of Assessors with a copy of their certified orders and a letter of deployment dates signed by the Unit Commander.
  • The member must file within 30 days from the date of mailing of the tax bills on the special National Guard and Military Reservists Abatement form.  The Assessors have discretion to extend this deadline for cause and under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
  • The member must apply to the Assessors each fiscal year for which an abatement is sought.
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Clause 18 - Age and Infirmity,  Extreme Financial Hardship
Exemption amount varies
 
An applicant must be aged and infirm and impoverished in order to be eligible for this exemption.  All three must be fulfilled in order for a hardship to be granted.  To qualify, the applicant must present evidence to the Board of Assessors that corroborates the individual's inability to pay the assessed taxes as well as documentation on the individual's infirmity and the individual's age. Household income and other family resources are reviewed.

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Clause 37A - Blind Persons
Exemption amount is $500
 
1. Must be a legal resident of Massachusetts
2. Must own and occupy the property as their domicile
3. Must file Certificate from the Commission for the Blind attesting to a condition of legal blindness.
4.  No Income or Asset requirement

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Clause 41A - Tax Deferral
Tax amount varies
 

A taxpayer who qualifies may defer payments of all or a portion of the taxes each year at 4% interest, provided the deferred taxes and accrued interest do not exceed 50% of the applicant's proportional share of the fair cash value of the property.

To qualify a taxpayer must:
1. Must be 65 years of age as of July 1of the tax year and 
2. Must have had a domicile or legal residence in Massachusetts for the preceding ten years     and 
3. Must have owned and occupied the subject property or other real property in the Commonwealth as a domicile for at least 5 years and 
4. Whole estate (less the value of the home) cannot exceed $49,000 if single or married.


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for Exemption?
A taxpayer may file an application if they meet all qualifications for a personal exemption as of July 1st.  You may also apply if you are the administrator or executor of the estate of a person who qualified for a personal exemption as of July 1st.


When can I file for Exemption?
The Board of Assessors accepts exemption applications beginning in July.  The deadline for most applications is December 15 each year or three months after the mailing of the first actual tax bill of the fiscal year. (Usually the fall tax bill). 

Can I apply for more than one Exemption?
Generally, an applicant can receive only one exemption.

Can a husband and wife each receive the same Exemption? 
Generally, NO. However, the Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that where two or more persons own and occupy the same domicile, if there is qualification under different exemption clauses, each owner would be entitled to his or her exemption.  (One should confirm their particular circumstance with the Assessors Office) 

I missed the Exemption filing deadline.  Can I still apply?
NO.  The deadline cannot be extended or waived by the Assessors for any reason.  If your application is not timely filed, you lose all rights to an exemption and the Assessors cannot by law grant you one.  An application is filed when received by the Assessors.

 
I received an Exemption last year.  Must I reapply each year?
Yes.  Each applicant must apply and qualify each year.  The Assessors will mail a renewal application in July.  If, for any reason, you don't receive your application you may stop by the Assessors office or you may call for another application.


Do I need special documents to qualify for Exemption?
Each Exemption Clause has its own set of requirements.  You may be asked to provide documents such as your birth certificate, discharge papers from the armed services, a certificate from the Commission on Blindness, a death certificate and others to establish your eligibility.  The Assessors will advise you at the time of application.


I was denied an Exemption.  Why?
Filing an Application does not guarantee that one will receive aid.  The statutory requirements of each exemption must be met to qualify.

Must I pay my taxes if I'm expecting to get an Exemption?
Yes.  Filing an exemption application does not stay the payment of your taxes. Failure to pay taxes may subject you to interest charges and collection action.  You should pay the tax bill.  If an exemption is granted and you have already paid the entire year's tax as exempted, you will receive a refund of any overpayment.


Which assets must I declared?
When declaring assets, stocks, bonds, CD's bank accounts, etc. must be declared.  If the person has a joint bank account with another person, the total money in the account must be declared since either joint owner has access to all of the money in the account.

I transferred my property to my children but retained a Life Estate.  Am I still eligible for the Elderly Exemption?
A life tenant who meets all statutory requirements is eligible for an elderly exemption. The Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a life tenant has sufficient interest in the property to meet the ownership requirement. Further, the property taxes are to be assessed to the owner of the life estate under Chapter 59, §11 of the General Laws.

Does a Trust Agreement affect my application for Exemption?
When property is held in trust, legal title is separated from the beneficial or equitable interest.  The person in whom legal title is vested, and to whom the property is ordinarily assessed, is the trustee.  The holder of the right to enjoy the property is the beneficiary.  Furthermore, the Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that the taxpayer, by placing their property in trust, voluntarily chooses to separate legal title and beneficial ownership. 


I received a Surviving Spouse exemption for many years.  I am now remarried.  Do I still qualify for the Exemption?
NO.  A person who remarries loses their status as a surviving spouse for purposes of property tax law.


My spouse died eight years ago.  I did not qualify for an Exemption because my assets were too high.  My financial picture is much different now.  Can I apply for Exemption during the next application period?
Yes.  One must apply for their exemption annually.  The information is updated each year as the qualifying data for an applicant may change.

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CITY OF CHICOPEE  TAX-ADE PROGRAM  


Disabled &  Low  Income Senior Citizens
Exemption amount not to exceed $500 

The City of Chicopee has accepted the provisions of MGL Ch 60, §3D to establish aid to the elderly and disabled through a taxation fund to be used for the purpose of defraying the real estate taxes of low income elderly and disabled citizens. The provisions of this program are administered by the Tax Aid to Disabled and Elderly Committee

  • Funded through voluntary contributions of taxpayers.
  • Must be 62 years of age and older or must receive Social Security Disability Income and /or other Disability Income. 
  • Must have owned and occupied the property as your primary domicile as of July 1 of the tax year and must have owned and occupied property in Chicopee as your domicile for the preceding 10 years.
  • Applications will be available in the Assessors' Office when the first tax bill of the fiscal year is mailed (the fall tax bill).  The completed application is due 30 days after the tax bill is mailed.
  • The Tax-ADE award is limited by the funds available. Maximum award not to exceed $500.
  • Contact the Assessors Office for Income & Asset limits as they are subject to change annually.

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SENIOR WORK-OFF PROGRAM

Under this program, participationg taxpayers, who must be over 60 years old, volunteer their services to the city in exchange for a reduction in their tax bills.  Seniors may earn a maximum reduction of $500 per year, based on a rate per hour of service that cannot exceed the Commonwealth's minimum wage. 

  • The program is administered by the Council on Aging and the Chicopee Board of Assessors.
  • The taxpayer must complete an application and participate in a lottery process for selection.
  • The selection to participate in the program is valid for one fiscal year.
  • Seniors may not participate in the program for two consecutive years unless insufficient applications are received in a given year, in which case prior senior volunteers would be allowed to apply.
  • Applicants who are selected by the drawing will be notified immediately by the Council on Aging Administrator that they have been selected and must complete a Criminal Records Information (CORI) check.  Other applicants will receive a letter that they have not been chosen.
  • Applicants/volunteers will be matched to city departments offering volunteer opportunities.