Real Estate Taxes and the Residential Exemption *UPDATED for 2013!*

DollarsAh, real estate taxes. Part of being a homeowner means paying real estate taxes. Happily, real estate taxes are tax-deductible.

  • In Somerville the Residential Tax Rate for 2013 is $13.42
  • In Cambridge the Residential Tax Rate for 2012 is $8.66

Why the difference? I’ve been told that it has to do with the amount of commercial taxes that each city collects. (Cambridge has a larger commercial base, Somerville is more residential.)

So how do you calculate your tax bill? Find out what your home is assessed for by the city (click here for Somerville’s property assessment page and here for Cambridge’s property assessment page). Multiply the assessment by the tax rate to get your annual bill.

But wait! More good news: both Somerville and Cambridge offer owner-occupant home owners a break on their tax bills through the Residential Exemption.

  • The Residential Exemption for Somerville in 2013 = $1885.97
  • The Residential Exemption for Cambridge in 2012 = $1775.37

To qualify for the Residential Exemption in Somerville or Cambridge, a homeowner must owner-occupy his/her residence on January 1st of the previous year. If you buy a home where the Residential Exemption was already in place, you need to notify the city that you’re the new owner-occupant, but the Exemption normally carries through. If you buy a home that’s a new condominium conversion, new construction, or was previously rented and not owner-occupied there will be a lag in qualifying for the exemption, depending on when you close, until you can prove that you have owner-occupied the home since January 1st of the previous year.

In order to qualify for the Residential Exemption you need to fill the Residential Exemption form and return it to the City. I’m told that Cambridge mails the form out to new owner-occupants, but it’s easy enough to follow the links below for the form. If you live in your home as your primary residence don’t miss out on the Residential Exemption!

For Cambridge, you need to click on the link that says “Download the residential exemption form” under the “Application for the residential exemption” section.