Residential exemption in MA

Updated: Apr 21



Credit: Ong-ad Nuseewor


If you are the owner and occupant of a property in the Greater Boston area, you may be eligible to receive a deduction in your real estate taxes. This deduction is not automatic: you will need to go to your city’s Assessor’s office or download the appropriate form to apply for the exemption. In many cities and towns, the application for Residential Tax Exemption must be filled out and submitted within three months of receiving your tax bill. Go to your city’s website for more detailed information.

How much could you save in property taxes with the residential exemption?

Here’s an example:

In the City of Cambridge the residential tax rate for the Fiscal Year 2017 is $6.49 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The residential exemption tax in Cambridge for Fiscal Year 2017 is $2,045.59.

For a property assessed at $500,000 without the residential exemption, you would pay $3,245 in real estate taxes:

(500,000 / 1,000) * 6.49 = $3,245

For the same property with the residential exemption, you would pay $1,199.41 in real estate taxes:

$3,245 - $2,045.59 = $1,199.41

(normal rate minus residential exemption tax)

To figure out what your property taxes could be, take the assessed value of your home and divide it by 1000. Then multiply that number by the residential tax rate in your city/town. Finally, if applicable, subtract the residential exemption tax from this number to get your tax rate. We’ve compiled a list of cities and towns in the Greater Boston area where we help people buy and sell a lot of homes; you’ll notice that some municipalities have residential exemptions and some don’t. When you’re looking to buy in a certain area, it may help to use our chart to get a general idea of what your property taxes will be.

Of course, your property taxes are only part of what will make a house the perfect home for you. Give us a call, and we'll put whatever number you come up with into perspective.

Fiscal Year 2017

Residential Tax Rates and Exemptions

(Per $1000 of Assessed Value of Home)

Municipality Tax Rate Res. Ex. Tax

Arlington $12.56 No exemption offered

Belmont $12.70 No exemption offered

Boston $10.59 $2,432.91

Brookline $9.88 $2,268.99

Cambridge $6.49 $2,045.59

Lexington $14.49 No exemption offered

Malden $14.14 30% of assessed value

Medford $10.56 No exemption offered

Melrose $11.80 No exemption offered

Newton $11.12 No exemption offered

Somerville $11.67 35% of assessed value

Waltham $12.56 $1,459.52

Watertown $13.89 $1,673.18

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