About the Treasurer/Collector
The primary function of the Treasurer/Collector’s Office is to preserve, protect and manage the financial resources of the City. The Treasurer/Collector is responsible for receipt, accurate accounting, and prudent investment of all City funds in order to maximize yields while maintaining adequate liquidity and ensuring compliance with Massachusetts General Laws, City of Somerville ordinances, and any other applicable financial mandates. The Treasurer/Collector is also responsible for negotiating all municipal borrowings (both short and long term), collecting committed taxes (Real Estate, Personal Property, and Auto Excise), and providing prompt and courteous assistance to the taxpayers and residents of the City.
MLC Request Fee Schedule
Newly Developed Condominiums
Delinquent Tax Payment Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Visit somervillema.gov/Payments to:
- Pay parking tickets
- Pay tax bills
- Pay library fees
- And more
Real Estate and Personal Property Tax Credits
At the end of the Fiscal Year (July 1 – June 30) credits on real estate tax or personal property tax bills will be refunded automatically to the January 1 record owner as appearing on the tax bill. Credits do not move forward to the next fiscal year.
Typically refunds are not issued during the fiscal year as more bills will be forthcoming (due dates are Aug 1, Nov 1, Feb 1 and May 1) and overpayments will roll forward to the next bill, however, if a hardship is created, a refund may issue provided the City is supplied with proof of payment, and provided there are no other outstanding taxes or water bills due and payable to the City from any other year or on any other property owned by the taxpayer.
Check copies, both front and back, are required to ensure that payments made to your account were made by you, or made by your bank or mortgage company on your behalf. To guard against mistakes made by third parties applying payments to the wrong accounts, City policy requires check copy review to ensure refunds (or transfers) are issued to the party that made payment.
A written request for a refund must be accompanied by canceled check copies or other acceptable proof of payment. If a mortgage company made payment, obtain a copy of their canceled check along with the disbursement sheets that accompany the payment. If you paid by cash, receipt copies must be provided.
Your letter of request must include your name, the property address, the Parcel ID number and your signature. Provide a current mailing address and telephone number and submit to: City of Somerville Treasury, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143, or email to [email protected]
If the credit was caused by an abatement or tax exemption, a refund will automatically issue at the end of the fiscal year to the January 1 record owner as it appears on the tax bill. If the property transfers during the fiscal year, the date of transfer may determine refund eligibility; however, such matters should be handled at closing.
Motor Vehicle Excise Tax Credits
If an abatement causes a credit balance a refund will issue automatically. Contact the assessing department for additional abatement information: (617) 625 6600, ext. 3100 or e-mail: [email protected].
Water Bill Credits
In most cases, a water bill credit balance will not result in a refund because it will roll forward to the next bill. If the property is sold, best practice dictates a final water read and the issue should be handled at closing. If a water credit balance will not be depleted within two billing cycles, the property owner may request a refund. Submit refund request with proof of payment to:
City of Somerville Treasury, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143, or email [email protected]
MLC Request Fee Schedule
|101||$60.00||Single Family Residence (Condo Not Included)|
|104||$60.00||Two Family Residence|
|105||$60.00||Three Family Residence|
|106||$60.00||Land Improved (Shed or Garage)|
|109||$60.00||Multi Homes on One Lot|
|111||$200.00||Four through Eight Family Residence|
|$250.00||Four through Eight Family Residence with Store Front|
|112||$200.00||Apartment (More Than 8 Units)|
|013-0413||$250.00||Mixed Use Residence/Commercial|
|300-389||$250.00||Commercial and Commercial Condo|
|$60.00||Condo Main Bldg. Divided into Indiv. Condo|
|$60.00||Condo Parking Space|
|900-906||$60.00||Tax Exempt Property|
|$60.00||Tax Exempt (Chap. 121A)|
Fiscal Year July 1 to June 30
|1st Quarter||July 1st through Sept. 30||Estimated RE Taxes|
|2nd Quarter||Oct. 1 through Dec. 31||Estimated RE Taxes|
|3rd Quarter||Jan. 1 through March 31||Actual RE Taxes - Lien for unpaid water & sewer and/or tickets gets added to 3rd Q bill|
|4th Quarter||April 1 through June 30||Actual RE Taxes - $30.00 demand fee gets added when bill is not
paid on time
Newly Developed Condominiums
If you recently purchased a newly developed condominium, the assessing department may not have split the master parcel into individual condominium units. This means the entire building may be sharing one (1) real estate tax bill. Copies of tax bills are available on our website somervillema.gov at the “pay a bill” link.
It is your collective responsibility as an association to work together to ensure the shared master parcel tax account has a zero balance at each quarterly due date in order to avoid interest, fees, and a possible tax taking on the building. Fiscal year due dates are Aug 1, Nov 1, Feb 1 and May 1. Bills are issued one month before the due date. If back taxes are owed, seek legal advice. See our FAQS for more billing and collection information.
A Unit Deed and the Condominium Master Deed should state the percentage interest of each unit in the common areas. Typically tax payments are based on the proportionate interest the condominium unit has in the master deed.
If a mortgage company pays your taxes, inform them of your percentage interest in the master parcel to ensure they pay only your portion of the tax bill and not the bill for the whole parcel. If you or your mortgage company overpaid in one quarter, deduct that overpayment from the amount you owe in the next quarter. Inform your neighbors of same. Please work together as a condominium association to ensure a zero balance throughout the fiscal year.
When paying taxes under the master parcel's account number keep accurate records of all of your payments. Parcel ID and unit number should be on the front of your check. Mail payment to: City of Somerville Treasury, 93 Highland Avenue, Somerville MA 02143. Payments sent to the lockbox service (P.O. Box 197) must be accompanied by a bill copy or they cannot be processed.
Delinquent Tax Payment Information
To obtain your payment history, a signed letter of request, a self-addressed stamped envelope (an envelope addressed to you) with 2 stamps on it, and a $5.00 fee should be forwarded to our office. Requests are processed in the order of receipt. If you visit our office to drop off your request, please have your written request, the $5.00 fee, and your self addressed stamped envelope (2 stamps) with you when you arrive. We will mail you the researched information at our earliest convenience, normally within 5 business days. Cashiers are primarily responsible for accepting payments, so please be understanding and do not expect our cashiers to engage in researching your payment history for you while you wait.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Frequently Asked Questions
When are taxes due?
The City of Somerville is on a quarterly tax system and taxes are due 4 times per year. Tax due dates are August, November, February and May 1st. If the first falls on a weekend or holiday, taxes are due the following business day.
What is the period covered in the Fiscal Year?
Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19): July 1, 2018 and ends June 30th, 2019.
What are the monthly periods covered by the tax bill?
- The bill due August 1st (quarter 1) covers July 1st through September 30th. (Preliminary Tax bill)
- The bill due November 1st (quarter 2) covers October 1st through December 31st. (Preliminary Tax bill)
- The bill due February 1st (quarter 3) covers January 1st through March 31st. (Real Estate Tax bill)
- The bill due May 1st (quarter 4) covers April 1st through June 30th. (Real Estate Tax bill)
What is a Preliminary Tax?
Preliminary tax bills are estimated bills. The estimate is based on the actual net tax bill of the previous fiscal year. The preliminary tax is due in two installments (August and November). Formula: Actual for previous FY x 2.5% = X. (Actual + X) divided by 4.
What is Real Estate Tax?
Real estate tax is the actual tax for the Fiscal Year. In December, the Assessing Department assesses the tax for the year and the amounts paid on the Preliminary bills are subtracted from the tax. The RE tax is due in two installments (February and May).
Do you accept postmarks for payment date receipt?
No. Bills are considered paid when received by the Treasurer. Postmark dates on envelopes are not accepted as the date of payment. All payments are to be received by the Treasury office by the due date. Late payments will incur interest/penalties.
What are the interest rates for past due bills?
Real Estate, Personal Property, and Water outstanding balances are subject to 14% interest according to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 59, sections 57 and 57C. The Tax Title interest rate is 16% under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 60, section 62. Excise interest rate is 12% under MGL 60A, section 2.
How do I change or update my billing address?
The Assessing Department maintains the tax bill mailing address database. The Water department maintains the water bill mailing address database. Contact each respective department for their requirements. Treasury does not maintain mailing address databases. Do not send address changes with your payment.
Can I pay my bills by phone?
No, but you can pay online at the city’s website: www.somervillema.gov/PayOnline
What if a payment check is returned?
If payment is returned for non-sufficient funds a $25.00 fee will be applied to the account, If said payment exceeds $2,500.00, a 1% fee will be put to the account per Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 60, section 57A.
What if I did not receive a tax bill?
Failure to receive your property tax bill does not excuse you from payment of taxes, or from the interest and fees that accrue on the outstanding balance(s). A tax bill is generated and mailed for every parcel in the City. It is the responsibility of the property owner to pay taxes regardless of receipt of a bill. Contact the Treasury Department to have a duplicate bill mailed to you. By operation of law, the name of the record owner as of January 1 of the previous fiscal year must be on the tax bill. New property owners can have their name added to the bill (shows as “c/o” on the bill) by contacting the Assessing Department [email protected].
My mortgage company pays my taxes, why did you send me a bill?
A tax bill is generated for every parcel in the City. Please note that mortgage companies typically take tax payment funds from your escrow account a month before the tax due date in order to pay your taxes on time. Look at your mortgage statements a month before the tax due date and compare it with the amount the city has billed you. Mortgage companies and tax servicing companies receive an electronic file from the City, they choose the accounts they wish to pay upon and return the marked file to the city with their remittance. The city posts the file, updating the real estate tax accounts as paid.
I sold my property and still received a real estate tax bill. What should I do?
By operation of law, the name of the owner of record as of January 1 will appear on the tax bill for the next fiscal year (4 bills per fiscal year). If you sold your property on a date that is close to a tax due date, verify that your mortgage company did not make a tax payment on your behalf in addition to the closing attorney that handled the sale. The new owner should contact the Assessing Department to have his/her name and address “added” to the tax bill in the “c/o” field of the address for the remainder of the Fiscal Year. You may return the bill to the City, forward it to the new owner, or discard the bill. The Treasury Department/Tax Collector’s Office does not maintain the tax bill address database as this is an Assessing Department function.