A tax exemption is a discharge from the obligation to pay all or a portion of a tax. Exemptions are conferred by the Legislature on particular categories of persons or property.
Clause 22 and 22E of Section 5 of Chapter 59 provide exemptions to certain veterans who were not dishonorably discharged and who meet certain residency requirements, and their spouses, surviving spouses or surviving parents. All eligibility requirements must be met as of July 1st of the tax year.
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Applications must be filed annually with the Board of Assessors on or before December 15th, or three months after the actual tax bills are mailed, whichever is later. Filing an application does not entitle the applicant to a delay in tax payment.
Residency of Requirements
A veteran must (1) have been a Massachusetts domiciliary for at least six months before entering the service OR (2) have lived in Massachusetts for at least 5 years unless the town has accepted an alternative local option provision. If that option is accepted, a veteran not domiciled in Massachusetts for at least six months before entering the service must have lived in the state at least 1 year.
An applicant for an exemption must provide to the assessors whatever information is reasonably required to establish eligibility. This information may include, but not be limited to:
- Certification of a service connected disability from the Veterans Administration or the branch of service from which separated.
- Evidence of ownership, domicile or occupancy.
The veteran, or if deceased, the veteran's surviving spouse or parent, must occupy the property as his or her domicile as of July 1st of the tax year.
- A qualifying applicant must possess a sufficient ownership interest in the domicile as of July 1st of the tax year. This ownership requirement is satisfied if the person's ownership interest is worth at least an amount ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the exemption. The person may own this interest solely, as a joint owner or as a tenant in common.
- The holder of a life estate satisfies the ownership requirement.
- If the domicile is held in a trust, a person can only satisfy the ownership interest if he or she:
a) Is a trustee or co-trustee of that trust, and
b) Possesses a sufficient beneficial interest in the domicile through that trust.
Eligibility Requirements and Exemption Amounts
Clause 22 - $400 - This clause is available to the following persons:
- Veterans with a service connected disability of 10% or more as determined by the Veterans Administration or the branch of service from which separated.
- Veterans who have been awarded the Purple Heart.
- Gold Star Mothers and Fathers.
- Spouses (where the domicile is owned by the veteran's spouse) and surviving spouses (who do not remarry) of veterans entitled to exemption under this clause.
- Surviving spouses (who do not remarry) of World War I veterans so long as their whole worth. less any mortgage on property, does not exceed $20,000.
Clause 22E - $1,000 - This exemption is available to veterans who suffered total disability in the line of duty and are incapable of working, and their spouses or surviving spouses.
If the subject property is greater than a single-family house, only that fraction of the $1,000 that corresponds to the part occupied by the veteran, or if deceased, the surviving spouse, is allowed.