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Basics of Real Property Tax

Property tax is commonly based on the value of real property, even though there are different kinds of property subject to real property tax. "Real property" is land and anything permanently attached to the land, like a building. Examples of real property include offices, apartments, homes, and commercial buildings. Taxing land and buildings are a chief source of revenue for local governments like Boston's, and state law provides municipalities with the power to levy property taxes.

An MA real estate lawyer can explain the all the details on property taxes for Boston homeowners. Generally, property tax entails three phases: levy, appraisal, and collection. Taxing authorities, like a city or hospital, within local governments are responsible for administering the three parts of property tax.

"Ad valorem" taxes are derived from a proportion of the value of the property being taxed. Most property taxes are ad valorem taxes and based on the ownership of property or a home. Periodic appraisals on the property's value help determine the accurate amount of tax on a person's home. If the assessed or appraised value changes, the property value of a homeowner's house also changes.  Property owners are required to pay these taxes, regardless of whether or not they actually use the property.

To learn more about real property taxes, talk to an MA real estate lawyer who can help figure out what taxes apply to your home and what taxes you may be exempt from. Browse through the Related Resources links for general information on taxes and homes.

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