The Town of Pelham

Board of Assessors

Assistant Assessor Lori Turati has office hours at the Rhodes building Tuesday & Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. You may call Lori Turati at 253-0734 with your questions or problems; you may also call the Town of Amherst at 259-3024 with assessment questions. Please leave a message if she is unavailable, she will return your calls as soon as possible. Pelham property cards are now available and can be obtained from Lori Turati, from the Amherst Assessing Department. A fee of fifty cents per card is charged.

Follow this link for Pelham maps and property cards: http://gis.amherstma.gov/apps/pelham/

Click below to request an abutters list:
ABUTTERS APPLICATION FORM

The Town of Pelham has contracted with the Town of Amherst to provide assessment services in Amherst as well as at the Rhodes Building in Pelham. Over the next few months, with the aid of a grant from the Commonwealth, the Pelham assessment records will be scanned and made available on the Pelham website and a link will be established on this page. The records will also be available through the Town of Amherst web page. Office hours in Amherst will be Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm and Thursday noon - 4:30pm, and as stated above, there will also be hours on Tuesday and Thursday in Pelham. In the future a kiosk will be installed in the Rhodes Building so residents and others can print property record cards when the office is not staffed.

The Pelham Board of Assessors is scheduled to hold meetings on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhodes Building.

Pelham has a Board of Assessors comprised of three elected members. They are required by Massachusetts General Law to list and value all real and personal property. The valuations are subject to ad valorem taxation on the assessment roll each year, meaning that all property should be taxed "according to value". Assessed values in Massachusetts are based on "full and fair cash value", or 100 percent of fair market value.

Assessors are required to submit these values to the State Department of Revenue for certification every three years. In the years between certification, Assessors must also maintain the values. The Assessors review sales and the market every year and thereby reassess values each year. This is done so that the property taxpayer pays his or her fair share of the cost of local government, in proportion to the amount of money the property is worth, on a yearly basis rather than every three years.

Assessors do not raise or lower taxes. They do not make the laws which affect property owners. Assessors are required to annually assess taxes in an amount sufficient to cover the State and Local appropriations chargeable to the town.

The local Assessor's Office has nothing to do with the total amount of taxes collected. The Assessor's primary responsibility is to find the "full and fair cash value" of your property so that the taxpayer may pay only his/her fair share of taxes.

In addition, it is not the business of the Selectboard to address residents' issues regarding property taxes. It is the Department of Revenue's jurisdiction and the Town's Tax Collector who have the sole authority to address property tax issues.

What Your Property Assessment Means to You

Why are properties revalued each year?

State law requires all municipalities to assess all property uniformly at fair market value. Implementing an annual revaluation program will ensure that all taxpayers are treated fairly.

How is my property assessed?

Properties are appraised based on what comparable properties are selling for in the community.

How will I find out what my new assessment is?

The actual tax bill mailed to you at the end of December reflects the assessed value, current tax rate and annual taxes. The assessment of your house can change annually due to inflation and other normal factors that impact the real estate market. The assessed value reflects the changes in the real estate market from the time it was last valued.

If my assessment increases will my property taxes increase?

Higher property assessments do not cause higher taxes. The total municipal budget which is voted by town meeting is what determines the money to be raised from property taxes. The tax rate may stay the same or even decrease because of the overall increase in the total value of the community. Your tax bill is based on the spending of the Town. An increase in the assessed value does not necessarily cause an increase in taxes. Your tax bill is a direct result of the Town's budget.

If assessments increase and the tax rate stays about the same, why don't we leave the assessment the same?

The objective of an annual revaluation program is to ensure that everyone's assessment is fair and accurate. If all property is assessed at its market value individual taxpayers will be assured that they pay only their fair share of the tax burden.

Can I review my annual property assessment with someone after receiving the bill?

Yes. After the values are finalized you may access one of the public computer terminals and or reports we have available in our office. You may review the data and assessed values on all property in town if you wish. The office staff is available to offer assistance and explanations. You may also file an abatement application that will trigger a review by the board of Assessors. Abatement applications are accepted from date of mailing of 3rd quarter bills to the date 3rd quarter bills are due.

Doesn't Proposition 2 1/2 mean that my taxes cannot increase more than 2 1/2% per year?

No. Proposition 2 1/2 sets a limit on the entire tax levy for a jurisdiction. While there is a limit to the overall increase in property taxes, the revaluation program may result in increases or decreases in property taxes. Proposition 2 1/2 does not limit the amount by which an individual tax bill may change from year to year.

The revenue that is collected from the property tax is called the property tax levy.

The levy is limited as follows:

Limit 1 - Levy Ceiling

The property tax levy cannot exceed 2 1/2% of the total assessed value of the municipality. For example, if a municipality is valued at $100 million, it could only raise $2.5 million from property taxes.

Limit 2 - Levy Increase Limit

If the actual levy is less than the levy limit, the levy may only increase by 2 1/2% above the prior year's levy after making an adjustment for new growth.

Click here for more information on Proposition 2 1/2

You can also visit the Division of Local Services website at http://www.dls.state.ma.us for additional information. Abatement and Statutory Exemption application forms are available at http://www.dls.state.ma.us/PUBL/FORMS/abatement.PDF.