Wendell, Massachusetts      Flag of the town of Wendell Massachusetts width=

The Board of Assessors are members of Wendell’s finance team. Our responsibilities include maintaining the property database, valuing and classifying property, committing taxes, granting abatements and exemptions, managing special assessments and betterments, and administering the motor vehicle and trailer excise tax. The tax rate for FY20 was $23.48. The FY21 tax rate will be set before the final FY21 tax bills are issued.

The Board Assessors' primary goal is the equitable valuation and classification of property in accordance with standards set by Massachusetts General Laws. We strive to practice policies and procedures that maintain equity, accuracy, and fairness.

We welcome the opportunity to serve the public by answering questions and providing explanations. The Assessors recommend and encourage all property owners to review the data on their Property Record Card periodically and contact our office with any questions.

The Board meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

Records and Services Available from the Assessors' Office Include:

Property Record Cards

Each parcel in Wendell is identified by a Parcel ID which consists of the map and lot numbers. The Assessors maintain a database of Property Record Cards, aka field cards, that contain data about the parcels' values, use, land area, owner name and address, sales, and improvements (buildings, yard items, special features). Property owners may request a copy of their Property Record Card at any time for no fee.

Maps

Maps are maintained in GIS format and are annually updated as of January 1st with new recorded splits, subdivisions, surveys, and data changes. The Town of Wendell is divided into 14 maps that show lot lines and land areas only (no building or septic data is shown). Maps are for assessment purposes only and are not valid for legal description or conveyance. The most current maps are located outside of the Assessors Office in the Town Offices. Property owners can request a copy of a map for no fee.

Maps can also be found online at:
https://maps.massgis.digital.mass.gov/MassMapper/MassMapper-Wendell.html

Deeds

Deeds and other legal documents for land in Wendell are managed by the Franklin County Registry of Deeds in Greenfield. The following link enables you to search for plans, deeds, etc.:
http://www.masslandrecords.com/Franklin

Requests for information can also be sent to:br/ Registry of Deeds
43 Hope St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
(413) 772-0239

Abutter's Lists

A certified abutter's are available upon written request. Include the specific location of the property and within how many feet abutters are needed (direct, 100, 300). Please allow a period of two weeks for us to complete these requests.

Why Valuations Change

State law requires assessors to estimate the fair market of all properties within their jurisdiction. With this mandate comes the requirement that assessors conduct annual revaluations. Revaluations not only respond to the ever changing real estate market, but are opportunities for assessors to improve the quality of property data and the underlying valuation methods used to estimate values.

If you observe a change in your valuation, the difference can be attributed to one or more of the following:

  • Market appreciation or depreciation

  • Building permit related construction and improvements

  • Inspections made as part of our periodic inspection program in which features listed on assessment records are updated.

  • Internal data quality reviews designed to insure consistent recording of property features

  • Changes resulting from our annual assessment studies that identify areas where our valuation models and underlying tables must be adjusted to improve assessment uniformity

  • Re-balancing of land and building values (for example: sales)

  • Response to new legislative enactments and Department of Revenue guidelines

Assessed valuations are not intended to predict what a property might sell for in the future. Assessors are only concerned with what properties were worth on the assessment date - the January 1st preceding the fiscal year of taxation. Properties having sold in the 12-month period preceding the assessment date influence our valuation model. Our office monitors the correlation between assessments and sale prices on sold properties to insure that all property owners are assessed fairly and that no class of property is over or under assessed.

All assessments are estimates that approximate market value. Many factors influence what a buyer might pay for a property, but only those that are readily quantifiable are used in estimating your valuation. For example, your assessment is based on features like location, land area, building area, type and grade of construction, age and condition, and amenities like garages, swimming pools and finished basements. Examples of property features not considered in your assessment include curb appeal, home décor, landscaping, and even annoying neighbors. We recognize that these latter features might well impact on sale price, but are not readily measured and difficult to defend.

The Wendell Board of Assessors contracts with Regional Resource Group (RRG)

The Wendell Board of Assessors, with the support of the Select Board and Finance Committee, has decided to enter into a three-year contract with Regional Resource Group (RRG) for comprehensive assessing services. A multi-year contract with RRG is a good way to control Wendell's assessing costs while providing excellent assessing services to the town. This will also save money by eliminating the need for hiring and training an Administrative Assessor and for costly consultants.

TAXPAYER INFORMATION ON PRELIMINARY TAX PAYMENT SYSTEM

 

TAXPAYER INFORMATION ON PRELIMINARY TAX PAYMENT SYSTEM

Wendell has adopted a semi-annual preliminary tax payment system, which will affect your property tax bills for Fiscal Year 2011 (July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2010). The following explains how this new system will work.

BENEFITS FROM THE NEW SYSTEM

Under the old system, property tax payments were due twice a year, ideally November 1 and May 1. In practice, communities frequently issued their tax bills at different times during the year. As a result, taxpayers were often uncertain when their bills would be issued and had difficulty in planning their payments. Also, communities were forced to borrow money to have sufficient funds to meet their bills.

The new preliminary billing system has been shown in a number of other Massachusetts communities to provide the following advantages:

• Greater certainty in payment due dates for taxpayers.

• More even distribution of income for cities and towns.

• Significant reduction -- even elimination -- of costly municipal borrowing in anticipation of tax revenues.

HOW PRELIMINARY TAX PAYMENT SYSTEM WILL WORK

Under the preliminary tax payment system, you will be sent a preliminary tax bill each year, ideally by July 1. Your preliminary tax will be based on the adjusted net tax owed (including any betterments, special assessments and other charges added to the tax) on your property for the prior fiscal year and as a general rule will be no more than half (50%) of that amount. Adjustments are made for any abatements or exemptions granted in the prior year, and any tax increases allowed under Proposition 2-1/2 for the current fiscal year. Your preliminary tax will be payable in a single installment due on October 1.

Example: If your Fiscal Year 2010 tax was $2000 (including any betterments, special assessments and other charges added to the tax), and you were granted an abatement of $400, your FY10 net tax due was $1600. After a tax increase adjustment of 2.5%, your adjusted FY10 net tax due would be $1640 and your Fiscal Year 2011 preliminary tax would in most instances be no more than $820. This $820 would be payable in a single installment due on October 1, 2010.

If for some reason preliminary tax bills were mailed after August 1, you would have until November 1 (or 30 days after the bills are mailed, if later) to pay the entire $820.

Your actual tax bill will then be sent to you on or about December 31. This bill will show the assessed valuation of your property, the tax rate and the amount of property taxes you owe for the fiscal year, including any betterments, special assessments or other charges that are added to the tax. The tax bill will also show the amount of the preliminary tax billed earlier as a credit against your actual tax for the year. The balance of your tax must be paid by April 1.

Example: If your actual Fiscal Year 2011 tax bill is $2100 and you had previously been billed $820 in preliminary taxes for the year, you would have a remaining balance of $1280. This $1280 balance would be payable on April 1, 2011.

If for some reason actual tax bills were mailed after December 31, you would have until May 1 (or 30 days after the bills are mailed, if later) to pay the entire balance of $1280.

LATE PAYMENTS

Under the preliminary tax payment system, interest on late tax payments will be charged for the number of days that the payment is actually delinquent. For example, if the actual tax is due on April 1 and it is not timely paid, interest will be charged from that date until the date the payment is made.

ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT PRELIMINARY TAX SYSTEM

Will the new system affect the amount of property taxes I pay for the year? No. The amount you pay is the same under either system. Either way, the amount is based on the valuation of your property and the tax rate. The tax rate reflects the level of taxes needed to fund local budget decisions and must still be within the limits of Proposition 2-1/2.

Will the new system affect my right to seek an abatement or exemption? No, these rights are unchanged. Once the actual tax bills are mailed, you will still be able to file an abatement application with the assessors if you wish to contest your assessment. Applications for abatement must be filed on or before April 1, 2011 unless the actual bills are mailed after December 31, 2010. In that case, abatement applications must be filed on or before May 1, 2011, or the 30th day after the bills are mailed, whichever is later. Applications for personal exemptions and the residential exemption must be filed within three months of the date the actual tax bills were mailed. All other exemption applications are due the same date as abatement applications.

If you have additional questions, you should contact the Assessors' or Collector's Office.

Elderly Tax Exemption

If you are a Wendell resident and property owner who is over 70 with limited assets and income, there are two exemptions offered by the Town of Wendell which might benefit your situation. An exemption is a reduction of property tax for the fiscal year.
 
A 17-D exemption is for a reduction of $175 from your taxes. The age requirement for this exemption is that you must have reached age 70 by July 1, 2008 for a FY09 exemption.   There are no income restrictions, however, your total assets cannot exceed $40,000, excluding house. There are no income restrictions for this exemption. You must also have owned and occupied for at least five years.
 
A 41-C exemption is for a $500 reduction of your total tax liability. The age requirement is the same as for the 17-D. To qualify for the 41-C your total assets, excluding house, cannot exceed $28,000 (if single) or $30,000 (if married) and income cannot exceed $13,000 (if single) or $15,000 (if married). Social Security income up to $6237 (married) is excluded from total income. You must also have lived in Massachusetts for the last 10 years and owned and occupied for the last five years.
 
Exemptions do require documentation and assessors may ask you for your federal or state tax returns and bank statements, birth certificate, etc., to verify your application  All financial information is confidential and never released to parties outside the assessors’ office.
 
Applications may be obtained from our office during normal office hours. Any application for 2009 must be received no later than December 3rd of this year.
 

Personal Property Form

Why did I get a Personal Property form ("Form of List")?

Owners of unincorporated businesses in Massachusetts must report their business equipment and stock-in-trade annually to their local boards of assessors.

Similarly, owners of "second" homes must report furnishings and equipment at that home.

In recent years it has become apparent that certain Wendell businesses and second-home owners have reported responsibly, while others seem to have forgotten. To be fair to those who do report, and, in fact, to all Wendell taxpayers, the board of assessors has found it necessary to be proactive in this matter.

To help ensure that this "personal property" (as it is called) is assessed fairly, we have taken the extra step of mailing out Forms of List this year. If you have received a form, it is because the assessors have reason to believe that you may have taxable property used in a business (State Tax Form 2) and/or furnishings and equipment at a second home (State Tax Form 2HF). Those reasons include current deeds, information from the Town Clerk (d.b.a.'s), the advertising of goods or services on the internet and elsewhere, and other apparent indications.

Reporting your taxable property by returning Forms of List to the assessors is the best way to ensure that our values are correct. An exhaustively detailed list is not necessary, just a straightforward general description and your honest estimate of value, i.e., what you would expect to realize on an open-market sale.

The forms you return are not public records.

Wendell, Massachusetts

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