The Board of Assessors in each city and town in the state is required by Massachusetts law to list and value all real and personal property. Valuation is subject to ad valorem taxation on an assessment roll each year, which means that all property should be taxed "according to value." In Massachusetts, assessed values are based on "full and fair cash value," or 100% of the fair market value.
Assessors are required to submit these values to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue for certification every three years. In the years between certification, assessors must also maintain the values. Assessors review property sales each year to determine if changes in assessed values should be made. 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 only every three years.
The Holden Assessors Office must appraise and assess approximately 8,400 parcels of property.
The Assessor does not raise or lower taxes. The Board of Assessors does not make the laws that affect property owners. The Massachusetts Constitution requires that direct taxes on persons and property be proportionately and reasonably imposed. In addition, the Declaration of Rights, Part I, Article 10, requires each individual to bear his fair share of the public expenses.
The Board of Assessors is required to annually assess taxes in an amount sufficient to cover the state and local appropriations chargeable to the Town. These appropriations will include state and county appropriations, which have been duly certified to the Board of Assessors, and all appropriations voted at town meetings.
The Board of Assessors does not determine how much tax the Town must raise. The assessors primary responsibility is to find the "full and fair cash value" of your property, so that you may pay only your fair share of the taxes. The tax rate is calculated by the assessors using information collected from town meeting votes, various town officials, and state agencies. The tax rate is simply the result of dividing the net tax required (after all available receipts have been applied) by the taxable value (assessments) of the Town. Market activity determines assessments while Town meeting votes and other local obligations determine the tax levy (amount to be raised by taxation).