Thursday, February 12, 2015

Seeking to Extend Tax Abatement Application Deadlines

On Monday, Representative Hill and I distributed the following press release regarding a measure we are filing to allow municipalities to extend the application deadline for property tax abatements:

Senator Tarr, Rep. Hill Seek Tax Abatement Extension Measure
Amendment Would Allow Communities to Extend Abatement Application Deadlines

Boston – Over the past 14 days, much of Massachusetts has been blanketed with historic amounts of snow that has periodically shut down most municipalities across the state, causing residents to miss important deadlines such as the filing of applications for property tax abatements. While a community has the option to waive late fees on taxes if residents weren’t able to pay on time due to municipal offices being closed because of inclement weather, communities don’t have similar authority to delay or extend tax abatement application deadlines, according to the Department of Revenue.

Seeking to remedy the issue, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich) have crafted legislation that will be filed as an amendment to a bill sponsored by Governor Baker that aims to close a major budget gap, which is expected to come before the House on Wednesday.  Following the House debate, Senator Tarr will file the amendment once the bill reaches the Senate for consideration.

“The severe amount of snowfall the region has had to endure has already put a major strain on municipalities and the residents who resident in them,” said Senator Tarr.  “The legislature has a great opportunity to alleviate some of the stress many households are feeling by quickly fixing this oversight in the law.”

A separate amendment currently being drafted by Senator Tarr and Representative Hill would make the measure retroactive, meaning that if passed, a community could still extend a tax abatement application deadline that had already passed.

“During a snow emergency, the last thing a resident needs to worry about is whether or not a municipal office is open in order to file a property tax abatement application,” said Representative Hill.  “As legislators, we have a responsibility to act expeditiously when issues like these arise, in order to ensure constituents aren’t penalized for reasons of no fault of their own.”