Real Estate & Personal Property FAQs

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What if I did not receive a tax bill?
Failure to receive your property tax bill does not excuse you from payment of taxes, or from the interest and fees that accrue on the outstanding balance(s). A tax bill is generated and mailed for every parcel in the City. It is the responsibility of the property owner to pay taxes regardless of receipt of a bill. Contact the Treasury Department to have a duplicate bill mailed to you. By operation of law, the name of the record owner as of January 1 of the previous fiscal year must be on the tax bill. New property owners can have their name added to the bill (shows as “c/o” on the bill) by contacting the Assessing Department assessing@newtonma.gov (617) 796-1160.


How do I obtain a duplicate Tax or Water bill?
Contact Treasury/Tax Collection treasury@newtonma.gov. A request for a duplicate bill will not change your address for future bills. Tax bill address changes must be submitted to the Assessing department. Water bill address changes to the Water/Sewer department. Contact the respective department for their formal requirements. Treasury does not maintain address databases. Do not send address changes with your payment.


My mortgage company pays my taxes, why did you send me a bill?
A tax bill is generated for every parcel in the City. Please note that mortgage companies typically take tax payment funds from your escrow account a month before the tax due date in order to pay your taxes on time. Look at your mortgage statements a month before the tax due date and compare it with the amount the city has billed you. Mortgage companies and tax servicing companies receive an electronic file from the City, they choose the accounts they wish to pay upon and return the marked file to the city with their remittance. The city posts the file, updating the real estate tax accounts as paid. We do not bill mortgage companies. For more information see the FAQ: Someone else paid my real estate taxes, what should I do?


I sold my property and still received a real estate tax bill. What should I do?
By operation of law, the name of the owner of record as of January 1 will appear on the tax bill for the next fiscal year (4 bills per fiscal year). If you sold your property on a date that is close to a tax due date, verify that your mortgage company did not make a tax payment on your behalf in addition to the closing attorney that handled the sale. The new owner should contact the Assessing Department to have his/her name and address “added” to the tax bill in the “c/o” field of the address for the remainder of the Fiscal Year. You may return the bill to the City, forward it to the new owner, or discard the bill. The Treasury Department/Tax Collector’s Office does not maintain the tax bill address data base as this is an Assessing Department function.


I received a Personal Property tax bill but no longer own a business in Newton.
The Collector collects what the Assessor assesses. By law we must send a tax bill. If you believe you were billed in error, please contact the Assessing Department assessing@newtonma.gov 617-796-1160.


How do I obtain a refund of a credit on my tax account?
Please see the Refund Policy available on our Treasury web-site page entitled ”Refund Requests for credit Balances.” The policy explains what is needed to receive a real estate tax refund.


I just bought a newly developed condominium, what should I know?
If you recently purchased a newly developed condominium (one unit of a two- family or three-family, or new construction for example), you should realize that the tax collector’s office may not have your unit listed as a condo, and that your property may still be assessed as a master parcel. If so, you are sharing a tax bill with your neighbors until the Assessing department splits the parcel giving you your own parcel ID. Contact Assessing to determine when your unit will be separately assessed.


What if my check is returned?
If your check bounces, you will be responsible for a $25.00 fee in addition to the amount of the check that is returned, plus any accrued interest/fees.


I paid my taxes and should not have because my mortgage company pays my taxes, what should I do?
Credit balances are generally not refunded during the middle of the fiscal year because all bills have not yet been issued or paid. A double payment or overpayment will be credited towards the next quarter tax due. If there is an overpayment on the May installment (4th quarter), or a credit balance exists after the May 1 tax installment is paid, please read and follow the instructions of our Refund Policy on our website. In most cases a refund will automatically be refunded to the record owner at the end of the fiscal year. Credits do not automatically move forward from one Fiscal Year to another.


I received a tax bill from the City, but my mortgage company pays my taxes.
By operation of law, tax bills are mailed to the address of the property owner listed in the Assessor’s database. Compare the information your mortgage company provided to you on your statement regarding City Tax Paid (the actual amounts not the projections) with the amount the City is billing. Mortgage companies typically take funds from your escrow account a month before the tax due date and credit funds to the City on the due date. If the amount the mortgage company took from your escrow account is not the amount the City has billed you for taxes, contact your mortgage company and inform them of their mistake. If you want to know if your mortgage company paid your taxes, look to your mortgage statement before the due date, look to the next quarter tax bill for any outstanding or delinquent tax amounts, or contact the Collector’s office two weeks after the due date (to allow time for all payments to be posted).


Does the City send a tax bill to my mortgage company?
The City of Newton mails tax bills to the mailing address the property owner has on file with the Assessing Department. The City does not send tax bills to individual mortgage companies. If your mortgage company requires a paper bill, send them the one you received. They may also contact our office for a duplicate bill, the fee of which is $1.00. Mortgage companies and tax servicing companies receive an electronic file containing all of the tax accounts in the City (approximately 30,000 accounts). They then choose the accounts upon which they wish to pay. They return the marked file to the City and remit payment to Treasury. Upon verification that the amount on the file equals the amount remitted, the City posts the electronic file, updating the individual tax accounts with the payment amount.


I received a pink Real Estate Demand notice, why?
Pink Real Estate Demand notices are the initial step towards Tax Title Foreclosure. Taxes have not been paid. If you received a Demand notice, you should not ignore this bill. Please see FAQ: What if my payment was not credited to my account?


My bill shows: “Prior Years Taxes Outstanding” above the mailing address at top portion of the bill.
If you received a bill and there is a statement of Prior Years Tax Outstanding, this means there are taxes due on the property from a prior year, or that there is a Tax Title on the property (Tax Title means lien). Contact our office for an exact pay-off amount as interest continues to accrue daily. Mail your payment on a separate check to the Tax Collector’s office indicating what you are paying Tax Title, 41A tax deferral, past due tax, etc. For betterments, contact the Assessing dept. for payoff information and then forward check and appropriate paperwork to Treasury. The PO box (our bank’s lockbox service) is for current bills only. Lockbox only processes current bills with a remit slip/collector’s portion of bill.

IMPORTANT: Do not send Prior Year Tax, Tax Title, Beterment, or 41a Deferral payoffs to the PO Box with your current year tax payment!

If your mortgage company pays your taxes, forward them a copy of the bill to put them on notice of the outstanding taxes or lien. Please also refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on both Tax Title and Certificates of Redemption.


What is CPA Tax?
The Community Preservation Act surcharge, approved by the voters of the City of Newton beginning in Fiscal Year 2002. This surcharge is 1% of the total property tax due for the parcel and is used for the acquisition and preservation of open space, recreational land, affordable housing, and historic properties. See Assessing FAQs for more detailed information.


What is an Abatement?
 An abatement is a reduction in a real estate valuation based on a correction to the assessed valuation. Contact Assessing for abatement information.


What is an elderly exemption?
An elderly exemption is a reduction in a real estate tax due based on certain age and income requirements set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Contact Assessing for elderly exemption information.


What is Tax Title?
 
When real estate taxes are not paid on time and in full, a lien is placed on the property by operation of law. The City of Newton perfects this lien by commencing Tax Title procedures. Thereafter, an Instrument of Taking is filed at the Registry of Deeds (or Registry District). Now, a matter of public record, the City’s interest in those unpaid tax dollars, interest fees and costs constitute a recorded lien on the property. This lien is a cloud on the title. This means that when the property is re-financed or sold, the City’s lien must be paid to have good title to the property. Usually, the lien amount (with 16% interest) is paid by the Settlement Agent/Closing Attorney. Upon payment of the Tax Title lien in full, a certificate of Redemption is issued by the City. This document must be filed at the Registry of Deeds (or Registry District) to remove the cloud on the title. The certificate of Redemption removes the lien and clears the title to the property. See Mass. General Law, Chapter 60, Section 53 for more information.


How do I get a certificate of Redemption or a Release?
A certificate of redemption is given if requested after providing a legible copy of the taking, proof of payment and a $25.00 fee. Please contact the Treasury Department @ treasury@newtonma.gov for assistance with takings, redemptions and releases.


I received a letter in the mail stating my taxes were “Overdue Please Pay” and “Your failure to pay will result in a lien on property”.
After the pink Real Estate Demand bill is issued and not paid, this letter is mailed to the taxpayers as a courtesy. Failure to pay will lead to a Notice of Tax Taking advertisement in the Newton Tab, and a public notice posting in City Hall and the Main Library. By operation of law the City must advertise and post notices. The fee for the advertisement is added to the outstanding tax bill. If not paid, a lien is placed on the property and the fees associated with recording the lien are added to the bill. In addition to the pink Demand bill, the courtesy mailing, the newspaper advertisement, and the posting in public places, all subsequent real estate tax bills have a dialog box that serves to give notice to property owners of any Prior Year Tax Outstanding amounts or Tax Title amounts outstanding. For more information, see Mass. General Law, Chapter 60, §§ 37, 53, 54, 55 and 60 and the FAQs on Tax Title and Certificates of Redemption.