The primary function of the Assessors, according to State Law, is to determine the "full and fair cash value" of real property in the city. Real property is all residential, commercial and industrial land and buildings within the city limits. Every five years, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue must certify all real and personal property values, represent full and fair cash as of the assessment date, which is January 1st, before the city is allowed to issue real estate and personal property tax bills.
The Assessors' additional responsibilities include personal property assessments, motor vehicle abatements and personal exemptions. The Board is responsible for updating the records for any property that has physically changed as a result of building permits being issued and later followed up by site inspections until the project is complete.
The Assessors are not responsible for the mailing of tax bills or collection of taxes; they do, however, grant tax abatements.