Citizens in the city of Fall River, Massachusetts, got something a little different in their property tax bill last month. Along with a statement for their quarterly property tax bill, they also received an affidavit that they had to sign and return to the state department of revenue confirming their address and ownership of the property.
If property owners live outside Massachusetts, they must supply contact information for their local agent or representative. Liens and fines up to $100 will result if property owners fail to comply and return the form.
The municipality is using the affidavit to track abandoned or unsafe properties owned by absentee landlords. The city will share the information with various municipal departments in its efforts to “get a handle” on local vacant properties and who owns them. The city’s goals also include collecting tax benefits after taking delinquent properties into tax title and improving public health, safety and appearance.
The tax department says no liens or fines will be collected until after property owners have been given a second notice to comply. While some city officials oppose the new rule and do not believe citizens were given enough information on the new requirement, the tax department said it has yet to receive any complaints.
The form is very simple and merely requires the checking of a box confirming your contact information, a signature and a date. The forms will be sent to the city’s tax assessor office to be filed and housed.
Our firm handles tax law disputes like the ones discussed in this article and offers resolutions. To learn more, visit our Massachusetts tax lien web page.
Source: heraldnews.com, “Property tax bills come with affidavit of ownership that warns of penalties if not signed,” Michael Holtzman, July 26, 2012