Real Estate and Personal Property FAQ's

When are the Real Estate/Personal Property Tax bills mailed?

Real Estate/Personal Property tax is billed quarterly in two mailings. The First (1st) and Second (2nd) quarters are mailed out by June 30th. The Third (3rd) and Fourth (4th) is mailed out by Dec 31st.


When are the Real Estate/Personal Property Taxes due?

Due dates-Quarterly Tax Billing System:

  • First Quarter (July, August, September)...........................August 1st                    
  • Second Quarter (October, November, December)...........November 1st
  • Third Quarter (January, February, March)........................February 1st
  • Fourth Quarter (April, May, June).....................................May 1st

*Note: If payment due date falls on a weekend, the due date will move to the first Monday after the due date.


What is Preliminary tax?

Preliminary tax bills are estimated bills. The estimate is based on the actual net tax bill of the previous fiscal year. The preliminary tax is due in two installments, August (1st quarter) and November (2nd quarter).


What is Actual Tax?

Real estate/Personal Property tax is the actual tax for the Fiscal Year. In December, the Assessing Department assesses the tax for the year and the amounts paid on the Preliminary bills are subtracted from the tax. The Real Estate/Personal Property tax is due in two installments, February (3rd quarter and May (4th quarter).


What is the period covered in the Fiscal Year?

Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) begins July 1, 2010 and ends June 30, 2011.


My Real Estate taxes are paid by my mortgage company, why am I getting the tax bill?

By M.G.L. Chapter 60: Section 3 all tax bills are mailed to the owner of the property, not the mortgage company to whom your taxes are escrowed with. We have no way of knowing who your mortgage company is, if your mortgage was sold to another company or if your have refinanced with a different mortgage company. We do not bill mortgage companies.


Do I need to send my Real Estate tax bill to my mortgage company?

It is advised to check with your mortgage company on wither or not they need a copy of the bill. Some mortgage companies require you to mail them a copy while others get the information electronically from us on their own.


I am the new owner of the property, why is the prior owners name still on the Real Estate bill?

M.G.L. Chapter 59 Section 11 states the name of the owner of record as of January 1 will appear on the tax bill for the next fiscal year (4 bills per fiscal year). Although your name is in the care of line, you are the owner and are responsible for the property.


What if I didn’t receive or misplaced my Real Estate/Personal Property Tax bill?

You may contact the Collector’s Office for a copy at 508-336-2930. Under state law, Chapter 60, Section 3, Failure to receive your property tax bill does not excuse you from payment of taxes, or from the interest and fees that accrue on the outstanding balance(s). A tax bill is generated and mailed for every property in the Town. It is the responsibility of the property owner to pay taxes regardless of receipt of a bill.


How do I change the mailing address on my Real Estate/Persoanl Property Bill?

All change of addresses must be submitted to the Assessors Office 508-336-2980.

The Collector’s Office does not maintain address databases. Please do not send address changes with your payment.


I recently sold my property and am still receiving a tax bill, why and what should I do?

If you sold your property on a date that is close to a tax due date, more than likely bills were printed (with the prior owners name) prior to the transaction, and/or the Assessors Office hadn’t received the recorded deed from the Registry of Deeds. It sometimes takes up to a month to receive notification to the Assessors from the Registry on a property transfer. If you are unable to forward the bill to the new owners please return the bill to the Collector’s Office, 100 Peck Street, Seekonk, MA  02771 (with a quick note informing us of property transfer) so we may forward the bill to the appropriate party. Please do so immediately for it is very important that the party responsible receive the bill in a timely manner.


I received a Personal Property tax bill but no longer own the business or closed the business, who should I contact?

Contact the Assessors Office at (508) 336-2980.


Why do I not see my Exemption on my tax bill? Did I receive it?

There could be many reasons why you may not be seeing your exemption; they could be any of the following:

  • Exemptions are only applied to the Actual Tax bill (3rd and 4th quarter).
  • The bill may have been printed prior to the exemption being granted.
  • Exemption paperwork needs to be submitted and filed every year with the Assessors Office.

If you have any questions regarding your exemption, please contact the Assessors Office at 508-336-2980.


Is there a grace period on the Real Estate/Personal Property bill?

No. Interest is accrued the day after the due date.


Do you accept postmarks for payment date receipt?

No. Bills are considered paid when received in the Collector’s Office. Postmark dates on envelopes are not accepted as the date of payment. All payments are to be received by the Collector’s office by the due date. Payments are processed the day they are received. Late payments will incur interest/penalties.


Can I make partial payments on Real Estate/Personal Property?

Yes, partial payments are encouraged and show good faith. They also help keep interest down if the bill becomes delinquent.


When do you receive my Real Estate tax payment from my mortgage company?

Although your taxes were withdrawn from your escrow a month prior from the due date, we generally don’t receive payment until the day of or the day prior to the due date. If you would like to check the status of your taxes please call us the following week from the due date to allow us to post all payments.


My Mortgage Company didn’t pay my Real Estate taxes. Why not and how do I rectify this?

We can not answer that question for you, you must contact your mortgage company and inquire with them.


I paid my Real Estate taxes and should not have because my mortgage company pays my taxes. What should I do?

Credit balances are generally not refunded during the middle of the fiscal year because all bills have not yet been issued or paid. A double payment or overpayment will be credited towards the next quarter tax due. If there is an overpayment on the May installment (4th quarter), or a credit balance exists after the May 1 tax installment is paid, a credit will be issued if all accounts are satisfied. In most cases a refund will automatically be refunded to the owner of record at the end of the fiscal year. Credits do not automatically move forward from one fiscal year to another.


Someone else paid my Real Estate tax(es), what should I do?

If your real estate tax account shows a payment that you, your mortgage company, or closing attorney did not make, you should make your tax payment as required so there is a credit available for the Town to refund the mistaken payor. If any payment(s) posted to your account was/were in fact erroneous, it is conceivable that you may be contacted in the future for reimbursement by the payor(s) who made the payment(s) in error, or by the Town of Seekonk. If you have an escrow account with your mortgage company, be aware that it may be affected by any payment errors made by third party payors. Mortgage companies and banks sometimes make payment errors. We do not bill them, they electronically choose the accounts upon which they wish to pay. If you believe your account was paid in error, please contact and inform the Collectors Office.


What are the interest rates for past due Real Estate/Personal Property bills?

Real Estate and Personal Property outstanding balances are subject to 14% interest according to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 59, sections 57 and 57C.  The Tax Title interest rate is 16% under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 60, section 62.


I received a Real Estate/Personal Property Demand notice. Why?

Real Estate Demand notices are the initial step towards Tax Title Foreclosure. This Demand notice is an informational notice or a reminder to you, that taxes have not been paid. If you received a Demand notice, you should not ignore this bill.


My bill shows: “This property has a Prior Balance.” Why is this?

If you received a bill and there is a statement of “This property has a prior balance,” this means there are delinquent taxes on the property, Contact our office for an exact pay-off amount as interest continues to accrue daily. If your mortgage company pays your Real Estate taxes, contact them and inform them of the outstanding taxes.


I received a letter in the mail stating my Real Estate taxes were “Overdue-Please Pay” and “Your failure to pay will result in a lien on property”.

After the Real Estate Demand bill is issued and not paid, this letter is mailed to the taxpayers as a courtesy. Failure to pay will lead to a Notice of Tax Taking advertisement in the Sun Chronicle, and a public notice posting in Town Hall and the Seekonk Public Library. In accordance of Massachusetts General Laws, the Town must advertise and post notices. The fee for the advertisement is added to the outstanding tax bill. If not paid, a lien is placed on the property and the fees associated with recording the lien are added to the bill. In addition to the Demand bill, the courtesy mailing, the newspaper advertisement, and the posting in public places, all subsequent real estate tax bills have a dialog box that serves to give notice to property owners of any Prior Year Tax Outstanding amounts or Tax Title amounts outstanding. For more information, see Mass. General Law, Chapter 60, §§ 37, 53, 54, 55 and 60.


What is Tax Title?

When real estate taxes are not paid on time and in full, a lien is placed on the property in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws. The Town of Seekonk perfects this lien by commencing Tax Title procedures. Thereafter, an Instrument of Taking is filed at the Bristol County Registry of Deeds. Now, a matter of public record, the Towns interest in those unpaid tax dollars, interest fees and costs constitute a recorded lien on the property. This lien is a cloud on the title. This means that when the property is re-financed or sold, the Towns lien must be paid to have good title to the property. Usually, the lien amount (with 16% interest) is paid by the Settlement Agent/Closing Attorney. Upon payment of the Tax Title lien in full, a Instrument of Redemption is issued by the Town. This document must be filed at the Bristol County Registry of Deeds to remove the cloud on the title. The Instrument of Redemption removes the lien and clears the title to the property. See Mass. General Law, Chapter 60, Section 53 for more information.


My Real Estate taxes were delinquent and my mortgage company paid them. Can they do this?

Yes. By M.G.L. Chapter 60, Section 58, if the whole or any portion of Real Estate tax remains unpaid after its due, the mortgage company may pay the amount due, including interest and charges, and it may be added to the mortgage debt.


What is a CPA Tax?

The Community Preservation Act surcharge was approved by the voters of the Town of Seekonk beginning in Fiscal Year 2010. This surcharge is 1.25% of the total property tax due for the parcel and is used for the acquisition and preservation of open space, recreational land, affordable housing, and historic properties. Click here for more detailed information.


What is an Abatement?

An abatement is a reduction in a real estate valuation based on a correction to the assessed valuation. Contact Assessors Office for abatement information.


What is an elderly, disability, blind, widow or veterans exemption?

The above exemptions are a reduction in a real estate tax due based on certain criteria and income requirements set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Contact Assessors Office for exemption information.


I paid off my mortgage/equity, and need to release the lien on my property, Where do I go to do this?

This can be done at the Bristol County Registry of Deeds located at 11 Court Street, Taunton, MA  02780, (508) 822-0502.  We cannot do this at Town Hall.


Where can I go to check if I have any liens on my property?

You can check this at Bristol County Registry of Deeds located at 11 Court Street, Taunton, MA  02780, (508) 822-0502. We do not have this information at Town Hall.


I need a septic betterment payoff, who do I contact?

There are two offices within Town Hall that issue Septic Betterment Loans. They are Assessors at (508) 336-2980, and Board of Health at (508) 336-2950. You may request payoff amount from the appropriate office that granted the loan.


Real Estate Billing Steps

Step 1 – Quarterly Tax Billing

Real Estate tax is billed quarterly in two mailings. The First (1st) and Second (2nd) quarters are mailed out by June 30th. The Third (3rd) and Fourth (4th) is mailed out by Dec 31st. Their due dates are the following:

  • First Quarter…………………….August 1st
  • Second Quarter………………….November 1st
  • Third Quarter……………………February 1st
  • Fourth Quarter…………………..May 1st

*Note: If payment due date falls on a weekend, the due date will move to the first Monday after the due date.

Step 2 – Demand Bill

Demand bills are issued after the 4th quarter due date of May 1st on all outstanding accounts. Sending a demand is a prerequisite to pursuing certain collection remedies including tax takings. The tax payer has at least fourteen (14) days to pay the Demand Bill.

The demand charge is currently $10.00, the interest rate is 14% on the unpaid amount calculated from the due date of each quarter.

Step 3 - Tax Taxing

A municipality has the right to take title to the taxpayer’s property and to under-take foreclosure proceedings when a taxpayer is delinquent in paying their local real estate or other local charges which constitute liens on the real estate (including but not imited to disposal liens and committed interest).

Once a year notices will go out to owners of outstanding accounts stating their property will be advertised for tax taking in the local newspaper. Approximately 14 days before the tax taking, the Collector will publish in the local newspaper a listing of accounts with dates, time and place of taking.

The Tax Collector, on the date of taking, will prepare an Instrument of Taking and record the document in the Bristol County Registry of Deeds. Fees, including interest to date of taking, advertising costs, preparation fees, demand, warrant and recording fees will be added to the tax title account and must be paid by the owner before the lien is released. The interest charged on the tax title account is then calculated at 16% from the date of taking to payment date.

The final payment of the tax title account will include redemption fees. The Town will then file an Instrument of Redemption at Bristal County Registry of Deeds. The Town may proceed with Foreclosure if no effort is made to pay tax title accounts. Initial land court filing fee as well as additional fees and charges will be added to the outstanding account, i.e. legal fees.


Personal Property Billing Steps

Step 1 – Quarterly Billing

Personal Property tax is billed quarterly in two mailings. The First (1st) and Second (2nd) quarters are mailed out by June 30th. The Third (3rd) and Fourth (4th) is mailed out by Dec 31st. Their due dates are the following:

  • First Quarter…………………….August 1st
  • Second Quarter………………….November 1st
  • Third Quarter……………………February 1st
  • Fourth Quarter…………………..May 1st

*Note: If payment due date falls on a weekend, the due date will move to the first Monday after the due date.

Step 2 – Demand Bill

Demand bills are issued after the 4th quarter due date of May 1st on all outstanding accounts. Sending a demand is a prerequisite to pursuing certain collection remedies including tax takings. The tax payer has at least fourteen (14) days to pay the Demand Bill.   

The demand charge is currently $10.00, the interest rate is 14% on the unpaid amount calculated from the due date of each quarter.

Step 3 – Warrant

On bills remaining unpaid after the issuance and collection of Demands, the Town has the option of utilizing their Deputy Tax Collector to serve a “warrant” to all outstanding accounts. This requires an in-hand delivery or leaving a copy of the warrant at the delinquent’s last known address. For this service, additional fees can be added to the outstanding account and becomes the responsibility of the taxpayer.