What is the CPA Trust Fund?

Cities and towns that adopt CPA obtain community preservation funds from two sources - a local property tax surcharge and a yearly distribution from the statewide CPA Trust Fund.

How does the statewide CPA Trust fund work? Trust fund revenues are derived from a surcharge placed on all real estate transactions at the state's Registries of Deeds. The surcharge for most documents filed at the Registries is $50, which is immediately deposited the CPA Trust Fund held at the Department of Revenue (DOR). Municipal lien certificates are subject to a $25 surcharge. Depending upon how the real estate market is doing, the $50/$25 fees add up to approximately $60 million per year (Note: the original CPA legislation set these fees at $25 and $10 respectively. Subsequent legislation adjusted the fees to the current amounts as of December 31, 2019).

DOR tracks the receipts and posts a monthly report on these collections, and they use that data to provide an estimate of the annual trust fund distribution each spring. Every CPA community receives their distribution from the trust fund at a formula-based percentage of what they raised locally.

In recent years, as CPA was adopted by more communities and the real estate market declined, the base trust fund distribution decreased dramatically. To address this decline, Governor Patrick signed legislation to update CPA in 2012. The bill included a new revenue source to provide additional funding for the trust, over and above the revenue from the deeds recording fee. As a result, $25 million from the state's FY13 budget surplus was added to the trust fund prior to the November 15, 2013 distribution, another $11.4 milion was added in 2014, $10 million in 2015, and $10 million again in 2018. There was no surplus funding available in 2016 or 2017.

Further Resources:

Statewide CPA Trust Fund - Distribution History

Date of

Distribution

Communities

Receiving

Distribution

Total Amount

Distributed from Trust

Fund (in millions)

Preliminary Base

Trust Fund

Distribution

State Surplus

Funds Added

(in millions)

Final Base

Trust Fund

Distribution

10/15/200234$17.80100.00%$0100.00%
10/15/200354$27.10100.00%$0100.00%
10/15/200461$30.80100.00%$0100.00%
10/15/200582$46.30100.00%$0100.00%
10/15/2006102$58.70100.00%$0100.00%
10/15/2007113$68.10100.00%$0100.00%
10/15/2008127$54.6067.62%$067.62%
10/15/2009135$31.6034.81%$034.81%
10/15/2010142$25.9027.20%$027.20%
10/15/2011143$26.2026.64%$026.64%
10/15/2012148$27.7026.83%$026.83%
11/15/2013148$32.6930.61%$25.0052.23%
11/15/2014155$25.8522.36%$11.4031.46%
11/15/2015156$27.2522.14%$10.0029.67%
11/15/2016157$26.7220.58%$020.58%
11/15/2017162$24.0317.20%$017.20%
11/15/2018172$24.4813.80%$10.0019.01%

Grand Total Statewide CPA Trust Fund Distribution:  $626.65 million