Procedures to Collect Unpaid Real Estate Bills
PROPERTY TAX DEMAND BILLS:
Demand Bills are issued after the due date of May 1st on all outstanding accounts. Sending a demand is a prerequisite to pursuing certain collection remedies including tax takings. The taxpayer has at least fourteen (14) days to pay the Demand Bill.
The demand charge is currently $15.00 [60:15(2), as amended][STM 11.10.08 Article 4]. The interest rate is 14% on the unpaid amount, calculated from the due date of each quarter.
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 of up to $29.00 can be added to the outstanding account and becomes the responsibility of the taxpayer.
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 water/sewer 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 Hampshire 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 Hampshire 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 of $515.00 as well as additional fees and charges will be added to the outstanding account, i.e. legal fees.
Questions concerning tax payments should be addressed to the Tax Collector’s Office at (413) 967-9648, Ext. 178.
Questions concerning valuations, over-valuations, abatements including the elderly, blind, veterans or hardship exemptions or deferrals must be addressed to the Assessor’s Office at (413) 967-9648, Ext. 179.