Appealing the Abatement or Denial

Appealing the Abatement or Denial

You have the right to appeal the decision of the Board of Assessors in the Appellate Tax Board (ATB). The ATB is a State appeal process.


There are a number of conditions that must be met to file a valid appeal.
  • You must first appeal your value to the local Board of Assessors and receive a decision from them.
  • You must apply to the ATB within three months of the date of the Board of Assessors’ decision (not the date of the notice). The decision is either an abatement or denial notice.
  • All relevant fiscal year property taxes must be paid timely. Succinctly, you must not have paid any interest on your third or fourth quarter tax bills. There are some exceptions to this rule. The exceptions are complicated and, therefore, not included here. For further information please contact the Board of Assessors. It is best to remember that an appeal does not stay the payment of taxes and that timely payment is a requirement for a successful appeal.

Information Filing

The ATB process is organized to allow the taxpayer to personally present a case for overvaluation. This process is allowed under an informal filing with the ATB. Informal means simply that the ATB will not typically enforce the strict rules of trial or evidence. It is not necessary under an informal procedure to retain an attorney. The decision to retain legal services is your decision. Likewise, the Board of Assessors does not typically use legal services in the informal procedure

Once an appeal has been filed with the ATB, it is legal to negotiate a settlement with the Board of Assessors.

Understand Your Rights

Understanding your rights and accepting the concept that the burden of responsibility and proof is with you, is key to the process. If you fail to pay your taxes or file documents in a timely fashion, the ATB will dismiss the case. The Board of Assessors has no discretion in these matters. Appeals that do not meet the basic filing requirements are dismissed.

More Information

Further information on property tax laws can be found in Chapters 58, 58A and 59 of the Massachusetts General Laws. The ATB can be reached at 617-727-3100 or online.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact the Board of Assessors at 978-623-8930.