The short answer is: because we have to. The longer answer is that we can't expect our taxpayers to be confident that their assessment reflects the true cash value of their property if the data for the property is wrong. For that reason, the Department of Revenue has mandated that the assessors (or an authorized representative) for all towns and cities in Massachusetts must physically inspect every parcel of real property, be it taxable or exempt, to ensure the quality and integrity of our property data. Certain events at your property will let the assessors know that we need to do an inspection at your property:
- Taking out a building permit to perform construction work at your property
- Any time an arms-length sale is recorded for your property
- Filing an application for abatement to appeal your property's assessment
- Calling our office to notify us of an error you've found on your property record card
If none of those events happen at your property, we still have to inspect your property at least once every 10 years.
It's possible that we'll end up visiting your property more than once in that 10-year period. For instance, if you purchase your home in April, you should expect that the assessor will be dropping by sometime in early May for an inspection. At that point, if you do nothing else, you won't see the assessor again for quite a while. However, if you pull a building permit in June of that same year to add on a new deck, you should expect another visit from the assessor the following January to see the new work. Every visit resets the 10-year clock on your property.