The Select Board in Concord instituted a “residential exemption” policy that will impact residents’ real estate taxes.
After looking into this policy, I found that only a limited number of communities have adopted this policy in Massachusetts; those with a high number of rental units (Boston and surrounding communities) and communities with many seasonal residents (Cape & Islands). In those communities the objective is to transfer real estate taxes from full-time residents to rental properties and second homeowners.
As Concord has a limited number of seasonal and rental properties, one of the effects of the policy will be the transfer of real estate tax obligations from some residents to other residents based on assessed property values, without consideration of income or ability to pay. It is also reasonable to believe that rental rates in Concord will increase, as rental properties are not eligible for the exemption and will see tax bills increase more than they would without the policy.
I have always viewed real estate taxes as equitable given that the homeowner with a higher assessed value pays higher real estate taxes, and vice versa. By instituting a residential exemption policy in Concord, some residents will pay more in real estate taxes and others will pay less than they otherwise would have without the policy.
I do not know what the result will be for my property, but I do know that I’m not comfortable either transferring a portion of my taxes to someone else or having a portion of someone else’s taxes transferred to me. The assessor’s office was very helpful in understanding the residential exemption. If you have concerns with this policy, I recommend contacting the Select Board, which will be setting the tax rate in November.