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If you receive a bill after the sale, please forward it to the new owner immediately as it is his/her responsibility to make payment.
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Go to Vision Government Solutions, this is also located on the Assessor page.
Change of Mail Address Form (PDF)
Property deeds and recorded plot plans can be obtained directly from the Worcester District Registry of Deeds website.
Please note that sale prices have increased dramatically in the past year or so, well over market value. The Assessor's Office will be happy to assist you in determining whether an assessment is fair and equitable.
You can mail it:
Drop Boxes: Front or Back of the town hall (please be sure to mark your envelope ATTN: Assessors Office)
Or you are welcome to stop by our office
If your taxes are escrowed by a bank or mortgage company, you will want to ensure that they make timely payment. Most banks and mortgage companies subscribe to a tax service that will notify them directly of the amount they need to pay for your taxes. However, if you have recently purchased, refinanced, or have a mortgage company that does not subscribe to a tax service, it will be up to you to notify them by forwarding your tax bill to them. Do not change your mailing address on your tax bill to be sent directly to the mortgage company. It will impede you from receiving proper notice of unpaid taxes.
Under state law, failure to receive a bill does not affect the validity of the tax or any interest o fines incurred due to late payment(s). It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to secure his/her tax bill when one is not received. You can request a duplicate tax bill by call the Collector's office: 508-987-6038, ext. 1052. The request must be received early enough to allow sufficient time to avoid late charges.
New owners will be automatically updated by the Assessor's office upon receipt of a copy of the recorded deed from the Registry of Deeds. The Collector of Taxes is required by Massachusetts General Law to issue the bill to the assessed owner as of January 1.
Although the tax bill will bear the same name of the assessed owner as of January 1, the new owner is responsible for all taxes once the sale of the property is finalized. The amount of tax owed by the old owner is determined at the time of the closing and is typically deducted from the selling price. Once this deduction is made, the new owner must pay all bills, as they become due in order to avoid collection actions, including foreclosure. The lawyers assisting each party should already have investigated any outstanding taxes and obtained a Municipal Lien Certificate. Once the agreement is made, the new owner is obligated to pay any outstanding taxes due on the property.
The increase in taxes is broadly driven by the budget voted at Town Meeting. Generally, the larger the increase in the budget, the larger increase in taxes. In the current pandemic economy, the increase can also be attributed to a decrease in other revenues that the Town receives. A portion of the budget is funded by other revenues such as hotel tax, meals tax, permit fees, and excise tax. These revenue sources have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. This, in turn, results in a larger portion of the budget that must be raised through real estate taxes.
The Town of Oxford issues tax bills on a bi-annual basis. The billing cycle begins on July 1st each year. A subsequent bill is issued in January.
The first bill mailed in July each year is the "Preliminary tax bill" and it is based on the previous year's tax bills. No exemptions are applied to this bill, it needs to be paid in full by October, the bill will reflect the exact date due.
The second billing cycle comes at the beginning of January and this is called the "Actual tax bill". Prior to this bill, in November, our office mails out exemption applications for Seniors, Surviving Spouses, Blind Persons, and Veterans. If you qualify for this exemption and submit your application immediately for review and approval by the Oxford Board of Assessors then you would receive a reduction in your taxes for the tax bill that goes out in January. If you turn in your exemption application after the bills have been processed your application would still be reviewed and if approved you will get a refund check in the mail. Reminder for this billing cycle it is due at the beginning of April each year.
Assessed values for Fiscal 2023 are as of January 1st, 2022. They are based upon the calendar 2021 sales of similar properties. The property that sold in your neighborhood last month is not considered in the current assessments. Unlike a "Fee Appraisal" for a mortgage, Assessor's utilize "Mass Appraisal". Assessors analyze an entire year's sales, looking at assessment-to-sales ratios and different property characteristics. The analysis compares similar properties using factors such as size, location, style, age, quality, and condition. Utilizing a CAMA (Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal) system, they apply this analysis equitably across all the properties in Town. The effectiveness of this relies on accurate data to evaluate that people paid X for Y.
A word of caution, before proceeding. When filing for an abatement, assessments can go up if errors are found that need to be corrected.
Simply, value adjustments are not linear. The value calculations include all factors that go into a property. While houses may be similar, it is rare that they are identical. There can be differences in interior improvements, acreage, living area, and condition. Living area and acreage valuation is also not linear and cannot be compared in that way.
The 2021 market in Oxford was strong with high demand. This resulted in a sharp increase in property values in certain neighborhoods and price points.
The process to appeal is to file an abatement in the Assessor's Office. This must be USPS postmarked by April 1st. The appeal is on the total assessed value of the property. You cannot appeal the total tax amount, increase in tax amount, or net increase in value. It is the final assessed value for Fiscal 2023 that can be appealed. Complete the application and explain to the Board of Assessors what you think your property is worth as of January 1, 2022, and why.
It is recommended that you review your records prior (Online Database) to file for an abatement. Occasionally, the inspection can reveal discrepancies in our data, such as a missing finished basement or bath, that can result in an increase in value. You will then be contacted by the office to schedule a time for an inspection of the property. After the inspection, the Board will review the application and inspection information and vote to grant or deny an abatement. The Board has 90 days from the date of receipt of the application to act on the abatement.
If you find that your assessed value is at or below market value, the best way to impact your taxes is to get involved in the process. If you do not attend Town Meeting, you have missed the opportunity to vote and/or speak about the spending of the Town. Truly the opportunity to impact the spending is to get involved early. Pay attention to the Board of Selectmen's meetings. Town Meeting is the end of the process. The opportunity to impact the articles presented is to follow the process and speak up early.