To effectively and equitably allocate your portion of all Town obligations, your property's assessed value is meant to reflect the market conditions for similar properties during the recent year analyzed (not the "current" market). Please be aware that your recent tax bill may have increased even if your property's market value decreased during the year analyzed.
Nevertheless, as a Lexington property owner, you have the right to "contest" your property valuation (assessment) by filing a written and signed application for the additional review of your own local tax assessment.
Abatement applications are available in the Assessors' Office at Lexington Town Hall during the month of January and online. Filing for abatement is an option only during the 30 days after the Town has mailed your Third (Fiscal) Quarter tax bill, which property owners normally receive in early January.
If you think your property's assessed value is "incorrect" you must specify your preferred valuation method or rationale and your differing opinion of value in a timely-filed abatement application. The Lexington Board of Assessors will have three months (approximately 90 days) to review your abatement application. Following its review, the Board of Assessors will send out written notification of its action within ten days.
Filing for local abatement does not alter your obligation to pay your tax bill. Each tax bill payment must be received timely by the Lexington Collector of Taxes in order to protect your further rights to appeal.
Your abatement review obligations: You must correctly and timely file your application. Thereafter, regardless of the rationale of your application, you must allow a Town employee full access to all areas of the interior and exterior of your property during weekday business hours during the week or weeks offered.
Assessors database is "frozen" prior to January tax bill mailing: The fiscal year (FY) valuation of all Lexington property was determined by the Assessors Office in the previous fall; subsequently our overall valuation methodology and our assessed values were approved by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (MA DOR). Thereafter, the approved assessment database was "frozen" by our software vendor and during January, the data for each property was displayed on its website. The other public faces of our frozen database are 1) property record cards available at our front counter and the online database 2) on our webpage and 3) in summary form as the 200 page GBC-bound "Street Listing" booklet, available online and at our front counter.
Coupled with "freezing" the database, we open the new FY database. In that new file, we increase or decrease individual property values as driven by newly input data (abatement reviews, permit inspections, etc.) throughout the year. The resulting assessed value during the active year - at any given time - is the combination of contributing market factors from real estate transactions, use and changing land and building factors. For 12 months, the new FY database is a "work-in-progress" file and is not a public record. Later in the calendar year, our work on this file is concluded; it is then reviewed and approved by the MA DOR after which time it becomes public record.
Your right to appeal the local Board action: If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your local abatement request, you may have the right to appeal for a courtroom hearing at the Massachusetts State Appellate Tax Board. This appeal must be prepared within three months of the Assessors action.