Overview of the Assessment Process
According to Massachusetts General Laws, assessments must undergo a recertification program every fifth year that is audited and certified by the Department of Revenue (DOR). Additionally, Lexington annually updates all real estate assessed values. These updated values must be approved by the DOR each year. Values are adjusted annually to reflect market values as of the assessment date.
By utilizing mass appraisal techniques, the Board of Assessors ensures that all real and personal property within the Town is assessed at its full and fair cash value. This results in each property owner assuming a fair share of the property tax, the largest single source of revenue for the Town.
The Assessor's real property database is "frozen" prior to when the Collector's Office mails out the January tax bills: The fiscal year (FY) 2023 valuation of all Lexington property was determined by the Assessor's Office last Fall; subsequently our overall valuation methodology and our assessed values were approved by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (MA DOR).
During January 2023, the data for each property was displayed on the website of our software vendor, (VGSI) website. Other public access to our frozen FY 2023 database are via: 1) printed property record cards available at our front counter and the online database, 2) on our webpage, and 3) in summary form as the 200-page GBC-bound "Street Listing" booklet, available on our website (below) and at our front counter during regular Town Hall Office hours.
Coupled with the timing of "freezing" the FY 2023 database, we opened up our new FY 2024 database for our own new data entry. In that new file, we increase or decrease individual property values as driven by newly input data (abatement reviews, permit inspections, etc.) throughout the year.
The resulting assessed value during the active year - at any given time - is the confluence of contributing market factors concerning ownership, use and changing land and building factors. So, for 12 full months, the new FY 2024 database is our "work-in-progress file" and is not a public record until January, 2024. Later in the calendar year, our work on this file is concluded; it is then reviewed and approved by the MA DOR after which time it becomes public record.
Information About Abatements
If you feel that your property has been overvalued, disproportionately assessed, incorrectly classified, or is exempt from taxation, you may submit an Abatement Application to the Assessors Office.
Abatement applications, which must be filed for each property in each fiscal year being contested, must be filed and received in the Assessor's Office after the 3rd quarter tax bills have been mailed but no later than the due date as noted on the back of your bill. The abatement process is defined in M.G.L. Chapter 59,§§59-63. State law prohibits Assessors from acting on an application that is filed late.
Before filing for an abatement, ask the following questions:
- Is the information on my property correct?
- Does my value reflect the sale prices of comparable properties in my neighborhood?
- Is my value in line with comparable properties in my neighborhood?
- For additional information regarding inspections, please view our Residential Data Collection Manual (PDF) utilized by the Assessing Department.
- Please view The Assessment Calendar (PDF) as it provides important dates throughout the fiscal year.
- The South Middlesex Registry of Deeds is the guardian of all deeds for the Town of Lexington. You may obtain a copy of your deed through the MA Registry of Deeds.