Commonly Asked Questions
How is my property assessed? Real estate is assessed by using three different approaches to value, the cost, market, and income approaches. Most residential properties are assessed by comparing the cost and market approaches to value. Our computer appraisal system is based on the cost approach, which means the cost to construct new minus depreciation. These figures are then used to compare the sale prices every year. The ratio between the assessed value and the sale price must be between 90% and 110%. Most real estate in Norfolk is generally around 95% of market value. The income and market approach is used to value most commercial properties.
How can I apply for a real estate abatement? An abatement should be filed if you dispute the value of your property. An abatement must be filed on a form you obtain from the Assessor's office. This form must be postmarked within 30 days from the filing of the actual tax bill. This form will generally be due by February 1 of every year.
Is there any other way that I can reduce my real estate tax bill? There are various exemptions that are available if you meet certain requirements.
Clause 41C $500
Elderly - Age 70
To qualify, one must be 70 years of age as of July 1st; one’s income cannot exceed $20,000 (single person) or $30,000 (married persons); assets cannot exceed $28,000 (single person) and $30,000 (married persons); and one must have owned and occupied the real estate for five years.
Income includes all sources, such as wages, Social Security, pensions, interest, dividends, rent, etc. There is a Social Security income exclusion of $3,361 (single person) and $5,042 (married persons). This annually adjusted amount is deducted from overall income to determine eligibility.
Assets include bank accounts, checking accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, saving certificates, boats, real estate, etc. Most primary residences are exempt from the asset qualification.
Clause 17D $175
Widow, Widower, Person Over 70 or Minor Surviving Child
To qualify, one must fit into one of the above categories as of July 1st; assets may not exceed $40,000; and one must have owned and occupied the real estate for ten years. There is no income limit for this exemption.
Assets include bank accounts, checking accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, saving certificates, motor vehicles, boats, real estate, etc. Most primary residences are exempt from the asset qualification.
Clause 22 $250 - $600
There are several exemptions available for veterans with war-related disabilities, veterans with Purple Hearts, Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross or Air Cross, and for surviving spouses of qualifying veterans.
Clause 37 $500
To qualify, one must have a certificate from the MA Commission of the Blind as of July 1st, and for each July 1st in which an application is filed.
Clause 41A Varies
To qualify, one must be 65 years of age as of July 1st; one’s income cannot exceed $40,000; and one must occupy the residence.
This exemption allows a qualifying resident to defer a portion or all of their annual real estate taxes until the owner(s) chooses to sell the property, or until the owner(s) dies and the estate is settled.
If a resident qualifies for this exemption then:
1. The Town of Norfolk places a lien on the property. This lien allows the town to collect the deferred taxes, plus interest, at the time of sale of the property.
2. If a mortgage or other lien is held on the property, the other lien holder must sign off on the deferral to allow the Town of Norfolk to collect the deferred taxes plus interest before the other liens or mortgages are paid.
3. Interest accrues on the deferred taxes at an annual rate of 8%.
4. The owner is able to choose each year whether or not to defer any or all property taxes, up to a total deferred amount equal to 50% of the assessed property value.
Clause 18 Varies
To qualify, one must meet the requirements of age, disability and financial hardship as determined by the Board of Assessors. The amount of the exemption varies on a case-by-case basis.
Chapter 44B $15 - $150
Community Preservation Act
To qualify, one must meet the requirements of age, household size and income as established in the Community Preservation Act. Qualified applicants receive a full abatement of their CPA real estate tax surcharge, which currently equates to about $15 - $150.
How can I apply for an excise abatement? The best way to obtain an abatement on your excise tax bill is to call the Assessors' Office. Once we know why you are requesting an abatement, we can inform you what we will require as proof to abate this tax.