Exemptions to the CPA Surcharge

As part of the vote to accept the provisions of CPA, a community may adopt and offer to property owners up to four different exemptions to the CPA surcharge. These possible exemptions include:

  1. 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 (see below for these income limits listed by town). Residents must apply annually to receive this exemption.
  2. Class three, commercial, and class four, industrial, properties in cities or towns with classified ("split") tax rates. Very few communities have adopted this exemption.
  3. The first $100,000 of taxable value of residential real estate. This exemption is automatically applied to residential property taxes prior to bills being issued by the city or town.
  4. The first $100,000 of taxable value of class three commercial, and class four industrial properties.

In addition, any portion of a taxpayer’s real property taxes that are exempt under Chapter 59 of Massachusetts General Laws are also exempt from the CPA surcharge. A municipality may make changes to these exemptions at any time with approval of the legislative body and subsequent voter approval.

What are the low and moderate income guidelines in my community?

These CPA income guidelines are derived from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) areawide median income figures. Persons and families whose annual income is less than 80 percent of the areawide median income qualify as low income. Persons of the age of 60 or over whose annual income is less than 100 percent of the areawide median income qualify as moderate-income seniors. These figures are updated annually.

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How do I apply for an exemption to the CPA surcharge in my community?

In communities that have adopted the low and moderate income exemption, eligible property owners must submit an application annually to receive the exemption. To obtain an application, contact the assessor's office at your town or city hall.