My tax bill has gone up more than 2.5 percent. Doesn’t Proposition 2 and half limit the tax increase?

Proposition 2 and a half limits the City of Leominster, and all other Massachusetts communities, the amount of citywide taxes that can be raised. Proposition 2 and a half limits a community to raising citywide taxes by 2.5 percent from the previous year's levy limit. Allowing for new growth can then increase this levy limit. New growth consists of property tax increases caused by new construction, renovations or land use changes. Proposition 2 and a half does not limit any individual property tax increase or decrease. For example, in Fiscal Year 2020, the Mayor and the City Council approved a budget that included a tax levy of $75,076,958. The levy limit for Fiscal Year 2020 was $80,298,856. So, the maximum amount of taxes that can be budgeted by the Mayor and City Council for Fiscal Year 2021 is $80,298,856 times 102.5 percent is $82,306,327 plus certified new growth. (The 102.5 percent number is increasing the previous year's limit by 2.5 percent). The new growth, which was certified by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, is $1,139,963. Therefore, the maximum amount of taxes which can be levied for Fiscal Year 2021 is $80,298,856 plus $2,007,471 plus $1,139,963 is $83,446,290. This figure is the levy limit, which will be used to determine next year's maximum tax levy. A community may increase the property tax levy less than 2.5 percent, but that is a determination made by the budgetary requirements of the city as determined by the Mayor and the City Council. A community may not increase the tax levy greater than 2.5 percent without approval of the voters.

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1. What do the assessors look at when determining an assessment?
2. Why did my assessment change a different percentage than the assessment on my neighbor’s house?
3. What does my assessment represent?
4. My tax bill has gone up more than 2.5 percent. Doesn’t Proposition 2 and half limit the tax increase?
5. My assessment increased more than 2.5 percent. Doesn’t Proposition 2 and a half limit the amount my assessment can increase?
6. I am elderly and cannot afford this tax bill. Can’t the assessors lower this assessment because I am elderly?
7. I am a young person who grew up in Leominster and cannot afford this tax bill. Can’t the assessors lower this assessment because I can’t afford to live in Newton?
8. My neighbor told me not to let a representative from the assessors’ office into my house. Do I have to let the assessors into my house?
9. My neighbor does not allow the assessors in and I do. Am I being penalized?
10. Why do the assessors want to see the interior and exterior of my property?
11. Why did my assessed value increase when I did not do anything to the property in 5 years and I am not selling the property?
12. Why could my assessment change every year?
13. The taxes are too high. Soon I will not be able to afford to live in Leominster. Why are you raising my taxes every year?
14. My assessment increased 20 percent. Does that mean my taxes will increase 20 percent?
15. I think my assessment is out of line with my neighbors’ property, whose property is assessed lower. How do I get my assessment to be as low as theirs?
16. Do I have to apply for an abatement every year if I received one in the past?
17. What is the difference between an abatement and an elderly exemption?
18. My neighbors’ house assessment used to be higher than mine, now my assessment is higher than theirs. Why?
19. My neighbors have a two-family property and I have a single-family property. Why is my single-family property assessed higher than their two-family property?
20. A house three times larger than mine sold up the street from me for $250,000. Will that make my assessment go up?
21. What will happen to my assessment if I put an addition on my property?
22. Why is the previous owner’s name still appearing on the tax bill?
23. My assessment went up 25 percent, is that good news or bad news?
24. My next door neighbors have done work on their house, a new kitchen, new bathroom and an addition. How come their assessment has not gone up?
25. I have a new house and recently I received a supplemental tax bill for the same fiscal year. Why did I receive more than one tax bill for the same property for the same fiscal year?