The residential tax rate in Boston rose slightly from last year with the tax rate set at $10.67 per $1,000.
However, it is not the tax rate that has East Boston residents fuming over their property taxes but the assessed values of their properties.
The Boston Assessing Department warned at the end of last year that in Fiscal Year 2021, property values would, “Reflect real estate sales activity that occurred prior to the January 1, 2020 assessment date. During this period, assessments continued to increase due to an active real estate market in most neighborhoods over the prior year.”
While the assessing department tried to cushion the blow for many property owners in Eastie ahead of the recently released assessments for FY2021 the upcoming tax bill was still a shock to many.
For example a single family home in Orient Heights saw its assessed value increase from $570,400 in FY2020 to $739,500 for FY2021–a nearly 30 percent increase.
Another home nearby went from an assessed val;ue of $490,000 in FY2020 to $676,000 for FY2021–a nearly 40 percent increase in one year.
“A million dollar property was built across the street from my house on Bennington and I know that has increased the property value of the neighborhood,” said one frustrated resident. “It’s great if you want to sell but unfair if you have no intentions to.”
A quick look through some other properties in Eastie and it is evident that many tax bills will increase around 30 percent on average for FY2021.
However, there is some relief for lowering your tax bill. The city’s Residential & Personal Exemptions may provide some tax relief. Taxpayers who owned and occupied their property as their principal residence on or before January 1, 2020 may be eligible for the residential exemption. In certain circumstances, taxpayers may also be eligible if they obtained their principal residence between January 1 and July 1, 2020.
Last year’s residential exemption saved qualified homeowners up to $2,879.79 off their tax bill and the City Council and Mayor Martin Walsh continue to choose the maximum exemption allowed by law consistent with the City’s commitment to keeping taxes affordable for homeowners.
Homeowners may also reduce their tax bill by qualifying for a personal exemption for taxpayers who are Elderly, Blind, Surviving Spouses or Minor Children of Deceased Parents, Veterans, or certain members of the National Guard. Each exemption has eligibility requirements such as age and income limits. While you may not receive more than one personal exemption, you will receive the exemption that most reduces your tax bill should you qualify for more than one personal exemption
At the end of 2019 the Boston Municipal Research Bureau (BMRB) reported that Eastie outpaced the rest of the city and the total taxable property value hit 5.052 billion in FY19. This was a growth of 2.48 billion since FY13 or 96.7 percent in the neighborhood.
Eastie was third only to Mission Hill and the Seaport, which reported a 110 and 181 percent increase in the total taxable property since FY13 respectively. Boston’s more affluent zip codes like Back Bay and Beacon Hill only saw a 72 percent increase between FY13 and FY19.