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February 21, 2024 Clouds | 30°F
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE TOWN OF SHUTESBURY TO ESTABLISH A MEANS-TESTED SENIOR CITIZEN PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
     SECTION 1. With respect to each qualifying parcel of real property classified as class one, residential in the town of Shutesbury, there shall be an exemption from the property tax in an amount to be set annually by the select board as provided in section 3. The exemption shall be applied to the domicile of the taxpayer only. For the purposes of this act, “parcel” shall mean a unit of real property as defined by the board of assessors under the deed for the property and shall include a condominium unit. The exemption provided for in this section shall be in addition to any other exemptions allowed pursuant to the General Laws.
     SECTION 2. The board of assessors of the town of Shutesbury may deny an application for exemption if the board finds that the applicant has excessive assets that place the applicant outside of the intended recipients of the senior exemption established pursuant to this act. Real property shall qualify for the exemption pursuant to section 1 if the following criteria are met: (i) the qualifying real property is owned and occupied by a person whose prior year’s income would make the person eligible for the circuit breaker income tax credit pursuant to subsection (k) of section 6 of chapter 62 of the General Laws; (ii) the qualifying real property is owned by a single applicant who was 65 years of age or older at the close of the previous year or jointly by persons who are 60 years of age or older; provided, however, that at least 1 joint owner was 65 years of age or older at the close of the previous year; (iii) the qualifying real property is owned and occupied by the applicant or joint applicants as their domicile; (iv) the applicant, or at least 1 of the joint applicants, has been domiciled and owned a home in the town of Shutesbury for not less than 10 consecutive years before filing an application for the exemption; (v) the maximum assessed value of the domicile is not greater than the prior year’s maximum assessed value for qualification for the circuit breaker income tax credit pursuant to said subsection (k) of said section 6 of said chapter 62, as adjusted annually by the department of revenue; and (vi) the board of assessors has approved the application for the exemption.
     SECTION 3. The select board of the town of Shutesbury shall annually set the exemption amount provided for in section 1; provided, however, that the amount of the exemption shall be not less than 50 per cent and not more than 200 per cent of the amount of the circuit breaker income tax credit pursuant to subsection (k) of section 6 of chapter 62 of the General Laws for which the applicant qualified in the previous year. The total amount exempted by this act shall be allocated proportionally within the tax levy on all residential taxpayers.
     SECTION 4. A person who seeks to qualify for the exemption pursuant to section 1 shall, before the deadline established by the board of assessors of the town of Shutesbury, file an application on a form adopted by the board of assessors with the supporting documentation of the applicant’s income and assets as described in the application. The application shall be filed each year for which the applicant seeks the exemption.
     SECTION 5. No exemption shall be granted pursuant to this act until the department of revenue certifies a residential tax rate for the applicable tax year where the total exemption amount is raised by a burden shift within the residential tax levy.
     SECTION 6. The exemption provided in this act shall expire 3 years after the effective date of this act; provided, however, that the town of Shutesbury may reauthorize the exemption for additional 3-year intervals by a vote of the legislative body of the town.
     SECTION 7. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved, November 7, 2022.