What do Assessors do? Assessors are required by Massachusetts law to value all real and personal property within their community. This includes every property from single-family residences to commercial and industrial enterprises. Every year, the Assessors must submit these values to the Department of Revenue for certification. Assessors must also maintain the values at 100% market. This is done so that each taxpayer in the community pays their fair share of the cost of local government no more or less in proportion to the amount of money the property is worth. The Assessors also have a responsibility to assess business personal property which is taxed at the same rate as the commercial and industrial rates.
Do Assessors determine taxes? No, Assessors do not determine taxes. The level of property taxation is determined by the municipality itself, through the City Council and the annual City Meeting (Classification Hearing).
What is the purpose of the Classification Hearing? The purpose of the public classification hearing is for the City Council to determine the allocation of the local property tax to be borne by the four classes of real property plus personal property for the fiscal year. In deciding the allocation, the Councilors must adopt a residential factor, which is used in calculating the percentage of the tax levy to apply to each class of real and personal property.
How do Assessors determine assessed value? In Massachusetts, valuation is based on “full and fair cash value” (“market value”) which is the amount a willing buyer would pay a willing seller on the open market. Assessors must collect, record and analyze a great deal of information about property and market characteristics in order to estimate the fair market value of taxable properties in their communities. Finding the “full and fair cash value” or “market value” of residential properties involves discovering what similar properties sold for (both improved properties and vacant land). Valuation techniques for commercial and industrial properties also include what the property costs to build today, minus depreciation, what financial factors, such as interest rates are affecting real estates and analysis from an investment perspective, since the purchase price the buyer is willing to pay depends in part on the return they expect to receive (Income Approach). Assessors do not create value; rather they have the legal responsibility to discover and reflect the changes that are occurring in the marketplace.
How do I verify my property information is correct? You should review your property record card to ensure all information is correct. If there are questions or concerns about the information please contact the Assessors Office 413-572-6223. Property Information
If I feel the assessed value is incorrect what can I do? Taxpayers can file for an Abatement application on or before the due date of the actual (3rd quarter January) bill. Applications will be reviewed and voted on by the Board Of Assessors. Board info Application
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Westfield’s five-year Certification (FY2026)
The five-year certification review is conducted by Bureau of Local Assessment staff to ensure the proposed values were derived utilizing a methodology based on generally accepted mass appraisal practices, are supported with current market evidence and are uniformly and equitably applied to all property. The data quality, all cost and depreciation tables, and land schedules will be reviewed for all real property. In addition, income producing property will be reviewed for income and expense analysis, development of the economic rent schedules, capitalization rates and correlation of the values derived from two appraisal approaches. Personal property accounts will be reviewed for appropriate listing and valuation of assets along with the cost and depreciation schedules.