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General Laws

Section 3. (a) Sections 3 to 7, inclusive, shall take effect in any city or town upon the approval by the legislative body and their acceptance by the voters of a ballot question as set forth in this section.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of chapter 59 or any other general or special law to the contrary, the legislative body may vote to accept sections 3 to 7, inclusive, by approving a surcharge on real property of not more than 3 per cent of the real estate tax levy against real property, as determined annually by the board of assessors. The amount of the surcharge shall not be included in a calculation of total taxes assessed for purposes of section 21C of said chapter 59.

[Subsection (b1/2) applicable as provided by 2012, 139, Sec. 218 as amended by 2012, 239, Sec. 48.]

(b1/2) Notwithstanding chapter 59 or any other general or special law to the contrary, as an alternative to subsection (b), the legislative body may vote to accept sections 3 to 7, inclusive, by approving a surcharge on real property of not less than 1 per cent of the real estate tax levy against real property and making an additional commitment of funds by dedicating revenue not greater than 2 per cent of the real estate tax levy against real property; provided, however, that additional funds so committed shall come from other sources of municipal revenue including, but not limited to, hotel excises pursuant to chapter 64G, linkage fees and inclusionary zoning payments, however authorized, the sale of municipal property pursuant to section 3 of chapter 40, parking fines and surcharges pursuant to sections 20, 20A and 20A1/2 of chapter 90, existing dedicated housing, open space and historic preservation funds, however authorized, and gifts received from private sources for community preservation purposes; and provided further, that additional funds so committed shall not include any federal or state funds. The total funds committed to purposes authorized under this chapter by means of this subsection shall not exceed 3 per cent of the real estate tax levy against real property, less exemptions, adopted. In the event that the municipality shall no longer dedicate all or part of the additional funds to community preservation, the surcharge of not less than 1 per cent shall remain in effect, but may be reduced pursuant to section 16.

(c) All exemptions and abatements of real property authorized by said chapter 59 or any other law for which a taxpayer qualifies as eligible shall not be affected by this chapter. A taxpayer receiving an exemption of real property authorized by said chapter 59 or any other law shall be exempt from any surcharge on real property established under this section. The surcharge to be paid by a taxpayer receiving an abatement of real property authorized by said chapter 59 or any other law shall be reduced in proportion to the amount of such abatement.

(d) Any amount of the surcharge not paid by the due date shall bear interest at the rate per annum provided in section 57 of said chapter 59.

(e) The legislative body may also vote to accept one or more of the following exemptions:

(1) for property owned and occupied as a domicile by a person who would qualify for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the city or town;

[Paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (e) applicable as provided by 2012, 139, Sec. 218 as amended by 2012, 239, Sec. 48.]

(2) for class three, commercial, and class four, industrial, properties as defined in section 2A of said chapter 59, in cities or towns with classified tax rates;

(3) for $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property; or

[Paragraph (4) of subsection (e) applicable as provided by 2012, 139, Sec. 218 as amended by 2012, 239, Sec. 48.]

(4) for $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class three, commercial property, and class four, industrial property as defined in section 2A of said chapter 59.

(f) Upon approval by the legislative body, the actions of the body shall be submitted for acceptance to the voters of a city or town at the next regular municipal or state election. The city or town clerk or the state secretary shall place it on the ballot in the form of the following question:

“Shall this (city or town) accept sections 3 to 7, inclusive of chapter 44B of the General Laws, as approved by its legislative body, a summary of which appears below”

(Set forth here a fair, concise summary and purpose of the law to be acted upon, as determined by the city solicitor or town counsel, including in said summary the percentage of the surcharge to be imposed.)

If a majority of the voters voting on said question vote in the affirmative, then its provisions shall take effect in the city or town, but not otherwise.

(g) The final date for notifying or filing a petition with the city or town clerk or the state secretary to place such a question on the ballot shall be 35 days before the city or town election or 60 days before the state election.

(h) If the legislative body does not vote to accept sections 3 to 7, inclusive, at least 90 days before a regular city or town election or 120 days before a state election, then a question seeking said acceptance through approval of a particular surcharge rate with exemption or exemptions, may be so placed on the ballot when a petition signed by at least 5 per cent of the registered voters of the city or town requesting such action is filed with the registrars, who shall have seven days after receipt of such petition to certify its signatures. Upon certification of the signatures, the city or town clerk or the state secretary shall cause the question to be placed on the ballot at the next regular city or town election held more than 35 days after such certification or at the next regular state election held more than 60 days after such certification.

(i) With respect to real property owned by a cooperative corporation, as defined in section 4 of chapter 157B, that portion which is occupied by a member under a proprietary lease as the member’s domicile shall be considered real property owned by that member for the purposes of exemptions provided under this section. The member’s portion of the real estate shall be represented by the member’s share or shares of stock in the cooperative corporation, and the percentage of that portion to the whole shall be determined by the percentage of the member’s shares to the total outstanding stock of the corporation, including shares owned by the corporation. This portion of the real property shall be eligible for any exemption provided in this section if the member meets all requirements for the exemption. Any exemption so provided shall reduce the taxable valuation of the real property owned by the cooperative corporation, and the reduction in taxes realized by this exemption shall be credited by the cooperative corporation against the amount of the taxes otherwise payable by or chargeable to the member. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to affect the tax status of any manufactured home or mobile home under this chapter, but this subsection shall apply to the land on which the manufactured home or mobile home is located if all other requirements of this clause are met. This subsection shall take effect in a city or town upon its acceptance by the city or town.

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