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Frequently Asked Questions


REAL ESTATE & PERSONAL PROPERTY

What is the Real Estate & Personal Property Tax billing schedule?

        The Town of Saugus collects Real Estate Tax and Personal Property Tax
        on a fiscal quarterly schedule as follows:

        Billing Period  Date Bill is Mailed             Date Tax is Due
        First Quarter   On or Before July 1st           August 1st
        Second Quarter  On or Before October 1st                November 1st
        Third Quarter   On or Before December 31st      February 1st
        Fourth Quarter  On or Before April 1st          May 1st

What types of Special Assessments can be added to my tax bill?

        There are three Special Assessments that are currently being billed to
        property owners on their Real Estate tax bill.  Apportioned Sewer
        Assessment, Apportioned Septic Assessment, and Unpaid & Overdue
        Water and       Sewer charges.  The Apportioned Sewer Assessment is a
        10-year fee paid for the installation of sewer pipeline in front of your
        property, the Apportioned Septic Assessment is also a 10-year fee for
        loans granted to improve septic systems that have failed Title V, and
        Unpaid & Overdue Water and Sewer charges are the charges billed to
        property owners for Water and Sewer service on a bi-annual basis.  In
        order to avoid these Special Assessments be sure pay these charges as
        they are originally billed.

When does interest accrue on unpaid bills?
        
        If you are unable to pay your tax bill, Massachusetts General Law
        mandates that interest at 14% be added to the amount due from the
        due date to the date of payment. A tax bill is considered “paid” upon
        receipt by the Treasurer/Collector not the post mark on the envelope.
        
        The Fiscal Years taxes must be paid in full by the May 1st due date
        to avoid any further action to collect.  Other collection fees can apply.



How can I pay my Real Estate and Personal Property tax bills?

        All taxes can be paid by cash, personal check, or money order by mail
        or in person at the Town Hall.  In addition, you can pay your Real Estate
        Taxes on-line by credit card or ACH payment from your checking account.
        You can click on “Online Payments” on the home page of this web site.

        If you are unable to make payment during regular business hours, a
        yellow payment box is available in front of Town Hall.  DO NOT
        MAKE PAYMENTS IN CASH – USE THIS FOR CHECKS ONLY.

I bought the property this year, why is the former owner still appearing on the tax bill?

        Property taxes are billed with the information as of January 1st preceding
        the beginning of the current Fiscal Year.  If you purchased the property
        any time after January 1st, you cannot be listed as the assessed owner
        until the next fiscal year.  This rule is mandated by Massachusetts General
        Law.  However, if the Assessors Office is notified that there is a new
        owner, as a courtesy the Assessors can add your name in “Care Of”.

What if I can’t pay my tax bill?
        
        First check with the Town of Saugus Assessor’s Office to see if you
        qualify for a tax exemption or tax deferral.  If you still owe taxes, please
        contact the Town Collector as soon as possible.  Although we cannot
        eliminate the tax, we can listen to your situation and offer possible solutions.

What is a municipal lien certificate and how much does it cost?

        A Municipal Lien Certificate is a certificate prepared by the Town of
        Saugus which lists any and all taxes and charges which may be due on
        a parcel.  If you wish to request a Municipal Lien Certificate you need
        to do so in writing by providing us with the address and any other
        identifying information such as Owner and Map Block and Lot.  Please
        be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope and the appropriate
        fee as shown here.  Once we receive the request, a certificate will be
        prepared within ten (10) business days.

          $50.00        Residential Single Family to Three Family
        $100.00         Residential of Four Family or more
          $50.00        Farms, forest land and all other real property
        $150.00         Commercial, industrial, or public utility structure




EXCISE TAX

How is the amount of my Motor Vehicle & Trailer Excise Tax determined?

        The amount of the Motor Vehicle & Trailer Excise Tax on any
        Particular vehicle or trailer is calculated by multiplying the discounted
        Value** of the vehicle by the Excise Tax Rate of $25.00 per $1,000 of
        value.  The $25.00 Excise Tax Rate applies to all communities in the
        Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

        It is important to note that, under Massachusetts General Law, the
        minimum Excise Tax is $5.00.

        **The discounted value of your vehicle is determined by multiplying
        the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of your vehicle,
        when it was originally sold by the manufacturer, by the applicable
        discount rate as shown below:

                In the year preceding the model year of vehicle 50%
                In the model year of vehicle                    90%
                One year after model year of vehicle            60%
                Two years after model year of vehicle           40%
                Three years after model year of vehicle         25%
                Four or more years after model year of vehicle  10%

How can I pay my bills?

        All taxes can be paid by cash, personal check, or money order by mail
        or in person at the Town Hall.  
        Online payments are accepted thru this web site - click on Online Payments and you will be linked
        to the Unibank website.

        If you are unable to make payment during regular business hours, a
        yellow payment box is available in front of Town Hall.  DO NOT
        MAKE PAYMENTS IN CASH – USE THIS FOR CHECKS ONLY

When does interest accrue on unpaid bills?

Excise tax is due and payable 30 days from the date of issue.  If you are unable to pay your tax bill, Massachusetts General Law        mandates that
interest at 12% be added to the amount due from the due date to the date
of payment. A tax bill is considered “paid” upon receipt by the Treasurer/Collector, not the post mark on the envelope. Other collection
fees can be added.


What happens if I do not pay my Excise Tax?

        If your Motor Vehicle Excise Tax bill is not satisfied, either through
        making payment or receiving an abatement, you will receive a “Demand”
        notice which includes interest at the rate of 12% per annum and $5.00 demand
        fee which is due within fourteen (14) days from the date of issue.  If this
tax remains unsatisfied the bill will be referred to the town’s Deputy Tax Collector for further collection activity which includes being issued and served with a “Warrant to Collect” and your Excise Tax being “Marked”
at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for non-renewal of your
Driver’s License and Vehicle or Trailer registration.

It should be noted that several other states have mutual agreements with
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to detain or impound “Marked”
vehicles found in other states where there is an outstanding Excise Tax.
        
How do I pay overdue Excise Taxes that have been marked at the Registry of Motor Vehicles for non-renewal?

        Please contact our Deputy Collector, PKS Associates at (781) 944-8504.
        You must make payment directly to their office.  Once they receive
        payment from you, they will contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles to
        release your account so that you can renew your license and/or registration.

What do I do if I receive an Excise Tax bill from Saugus, but I am no longer living in the Town of Saugus?

        Under certain circumstances you may still be required to pay the Excise
        Tax to the Town of Saugus.  If you do not live in the Town of Saugus
        when you receive the bill, but you did live in the Town of Saugus
        either on January 1st of the tax year, or when you registered the vehicle or
        trailer, you should still pay the Excise Tax to the Town of Saugus.  You
        should then contact the Masssachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to
        change both your mailing address and the city or town in which your
        vehicle is principally garaged (known as the garage code).  Both of
        these items need to be changed with the Mass. RMV in order for you to
        receive your next Excise Tax bill from your new community rather than
        the Town of Saugus.  There is a link to the Massachusetts Registry of
        Motor Vehicles on the first page of the Collector/Treasurers Office.
I received an Excise Tax bill on a car I no longer own.  Where do I go for an adjustment?

        Please contact the Town of Saugus Assessor’s Office for abatement
        information.



What do I do if I feel my Motor Vehicle Excise amount is incorrect?

        You may file for an abatement of your tax with the Board of Assessors.
        If you contact the Board of Assessors at (781) 231-4130, the Assessors’
        Staff will be able to assist you with any questions you may have relative
        to completing the appropriate forms to file for an abatement.  

        Please remember that filing for an abatement of your tax does not stay
        any collection activity.  You should pay your Excise Tax as you were
        billed and if you are granted an abatement from the Assessors, you will
        receive a credit to your tax bill and, if applicable, a refund.

How often should I expect to receive an Excise Tax bill from the Town?

        You should expect to receive one (1) Excise Tax bill relative to each
        calendar year during which the vehicle is registered.  If the vehicle was
        not registered for an entire year, then the Excise Tax will be pro-rated
        according to the number of months during which the vehicle was
        registered - from the date of registration.  It should be noted that under
        Massachusetts General Law, proration of the Excise Tax is only allowed on a per month basis.

WATER AND SEWER CHARGES

How often are Water and Sewer bills issued?

        Water and Sewer bills are currently issued on a bi-annual basis.  The
        periods that are billed are February to August billed in the fall, and
        August to February billed in the spring.

How is my Water and Sewer bill calculated?

        Water and Sewer charges are based on the total amount of cubic
        feet of water that the meter on your property registered as having flowed
        through your meter during the billing period as it is determined by the
        reading taken from your meter.

        The Water and Sewer rates effective July 1, 2011 are as follows:

                                                    Minimum Water Bill 2,000 cu ft or less:  $70.00
                                                    Minimum Sewer Bill 2,000 cu ft or less:  $60.00
Water Rates:
Sewer Rates:
0 - 2,000
    3.50
0 - 2,000
2.00
2,001 - 3,000
    3.72
2,001 - 3,000
2.20
3,001 - 6,000
    4.98
3,001 - 6,000
3.00
6,001 -10,000
     6.23
 6,001 -10,000
4.20
10,001 - 20,000
     6.95
 10,001 - 20,000
5.20
20,001 - 50,000
     7.79
20,001 - 50,000
6.20
50,001 - 100,000
     8.39
 50,001 - 100,000
6.90
Over 100,000
     8.63
 Over 100,000
7.20



I am selling my property, how do I obtain a final Water and Sewer Bill?

        Contact the Collector/Treasurer’s Office at (781) 231-4135 at least
        seven (7) business days prior to the closing to schedule an appointment
        for the Water Meter Technician to come to your property and conduct a
        final meter reading.  Once the final reading is obtained, the final Water and
        Sewer bill must be picked up at the Collector/Treasurer’s Office prior to the
        closing.  The bill can be paid at the time it is picked up or submitted to your
        attorney at the closing.

My water bill is unusually high, what should I do?

        There could be a leak in some water using device in your home, such as
        a toilet, faucet, sprinkler system, etc. that could be causing more than the
        usual amount of water to be used.  You should contact an experienced
        plumber to check your pipes and other water using devices for leaks.
        Please also take into consideration that the bill could be applicable to
        the summer when water usage is naturally higher than the rest of the year.

When does interest accrue on unpaid bills?

        Water and Sewer charges are due and payable 30 days from the date
        of issue.  Interest at the rate of 14% per annum begins to accrue from
the due date to the date of payment.  A Water and Sewer bill is considered “paid” upon receipt by the Treasurer/Collector, not the post mark on the envelope.   Late fees of $5.00 for unpaid water and $5.00 for unpaid sewer fees are also added once the “Demand” notice is sent.

What happens if I do not pay my Water and Sewer bill?

        In addition to the assessment of a late charge, Water and Sewer bills that
        are issued in the prior Fiscal Year and remain outstanding when the first
        actual tax bill is issued January 1st will be added to the Real
Estate Tax on the property.  These amounts will then be collected in the same manner as Real Estate Taxes which includes the assessment of interest and
the     possibility of a lien being recorded against the property.


What is the Water Discount Program and do I qualify?

The Water Discount Program is a 10% discount offered once a year to residents of the Town of Saugus who meet the following conditions:

        The applicant must must receive a real estate tax exemption
                from the Board of Assessors.
        The applicant must be the owner of record of the property
                for which the discount is requested and his/her
                name must appear on the water and sewer bill
                for that property.
        The consumption of water, by the applicant, shall not
                exceed 3,000 cu ft for the two prior consecutive water
                bills issued.
        The discount shall only apply to owner occupied single-family
                homes.
        This discount will be applied on water and sewer bills issued in
                the spring of each year.

An application for the 10% water discount must be submitted each year
during the period of January 1st  –  March 31st.   The amount of the
discount is figured on 10% of the minimum water charge in effect at
the time of the application.

Click here for a copy of the Water Discount Application Form.
        
        

PARKING VIOLATIONS

I received a Parking Violation, how can I pay it?

        Parking Violations can be paid by cash, personal check, or money
        order by mail or in person at the Town Hall.  If the parking ticket
        has been “Marked” at the Registry of Motor Vehicles for non-renewal
        on your license or registration, you must make payment in the form
        of cash or money order.  Personal checks will not be accepted.

        If you are unable to make payment during regular business hours, a
        yellow payment box is available in front of Town Hall.  DO NOT
        MAKE PAYMENTS IN CASH – USE THIS FOR CHECKS ONLY


I received a Parking Violation.  How do I request a hearing with the Parking Clerk?

        You may contact the Parking Clerk at (781) 231-4113 or by sending a request
        to:  the Parking Clerk, c/o Collector/Treasurers Office, 298 Central Street,
Saugus, MA  01906.  Please include a phone number so that you can be contacted.

What happens if I do not pay the Parking Violation within 21 days of issue?

        If a parking ticket is not paid within 21 days of issue you will be subject
        to additional fines and penalties and possible “Mark” at the Registry of
        Motor Vehicles for non-renewal of your license and/or registration.

How much are the Parking Violations in the Town of Saugus?

        Effective December 13, 2005 Parking Violations are as follows:

        Meter Violation         $25     Within 10 feet of hydrant               $100
        Feeding Meter           $25     Blocking Free Flow of Traffic   $  25
        Overtime Parking        $25     Double Parking                  $  25
        Not parking within
           Marked space         $25     Fire/Breakdown Lane             $  50
        Over 12 inches from
           Curb                 $25     Impeding Street Cleaning or
                                                   Snow Removal                 $100
        Wrong Direction
                Parking         $25     Resident/Permit Parking Only    $  25
        Parking Over 48 Hrs.    $25     Snow Emergency                  $100
        Restricted Area         $25     Crosswalk                               $  50
        Driveway/Private Way            Sidewalk                                $  50
           Blocking             $25     Impeding Handicap Van/Ramp      $300
        Within 20 feet of an            HP/DV Parking                   $300
           Intersection         $25     
        Bus Stop                        $25     
        Parking Taxi Stand      $25