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Tax Collector
Contact TypeContact Information
Contact:
Collector of Taxes – Town Collector
Clerk
Clerk
Address:
Office of the Collector of Taxes
22 Monument Ave.
Swampscott, MA 01907-1977
Phone:
(781) 596-8856
Fax:
(781) 596-8870
Hours:
M-Th 8am - 4:30pm; F 8am - 12:00pm
Payments made be made 24 hours a day via the Payment Drop Box at the main door of Town Hall or online via the ONLINE PAYMENTS link below
 
Additional Links:
Link to PageLink to PageLink to Page
General Powers and Duties:

Approximately $30,000,000 is received, processed and recorded each year by the Collector and her staff. Annual collections consist of 24,000 property tax bills, 1,000 personal property tax bills, 15,000 automobile excise tax bills, 22,000 water and sewer usage bills, and 300 boat excise tax bills.
The Collector’s Office is also responsible for the collection and processing of sewer assessment charges, harbor mooring fees, veterans’ pensions, school tuition charges, Fish House rental fees and fire alarm master box fees.

Payment for Town Hall services including licenses, permits, fines, vital record certificates, recycling and composting bins, water meters, pram racks, beach parking stickers and recreation fees are paid to the Collector through the “CASH” system. This consolidation of money received at Town Hall provides a safeguard and an audit trail for those funds which approximates $500,000 annually.

REAL ESTATE

What are the due dates for Real Estate Taxes?
Tax bills are issued four times a year. The quarterly tax payments are due on the following dates: August 1st; November 1st; February 1st; May 1st. If any of those dates falls on a weekend, the due date is the Monday.  The current residential real estate tax rate for the Town of Swampscott for fiscal year 2014 is $18.70 Residential per $1,000 and $34.79 Commercial per $1,000.

What if I don’t receive a Real Estate Tax Bill?
You can request a statement by calling the Tax Collector’s Office at (781) 596-8856. Or obtain one online through our online payment system.

New Owner?
If you are a new property owner and have not received your tax bill from the previous owner, you can request a statement as described above.

What happens if I pay my Real Estate Tax late?
Interest of 14% per annum will start accruing at the close of business on the due date.

Under state law, Chapter 60, Section 3, failure to receive a bill does not affect the validity of the tax or any interest or fines incurred due to late payment(s). It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to secure his/her tax bill when one is not received.

Where do I mail my Real Estate Tax payment?
Please mail payment to:

Office of the Tax Collector
Town of Swampscott
22 Monument Avenue
Swampscott, MA 01907

Please make checks payable to: Town of Swampscott. For proper crediting, write the bill number on the check and enclose the remit portion of your tax bill. To obtain a receipt, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and both portions of the bill with the payment. One copy will be stamped "paid" and returned.

How do I change the old owner’s name that appears on the Tax Bill after purchasing the property?
All changes of owner and/or address must be in writing and directed to the Assessors Office. This will change the mail to portion of the bill; the permanent change will take place when the Assessors Office receives the deed from the Registry of Probate.


What happens if there is an overpayment on my Real Estate Tax?
Overpayments will be applied to the next quarter unless it is the last quarter of the Fiscal Year. If an overpayment is made on the last quarter it will be refunded to the person or mortgage company that caused the credit balance.

What happens if I don’t pay my Real Estate Tax?
Tax payments must be received on or before the due date to avoid interest and demand charges. If payment is not made on or before the due date, the account will begin to accrue interest at the rate of 14% per annum, computed from the date the bill was due.

After the 4th quarter bill a demand notice will be sent and a demand fee is charged against the account.

If the account remains delinquent after further attempts to notify owners and collect unpaid real estate taxes, the owner’s name, address and the amount owed will be advertised in the Lynn Daily Item, and additional fees will be assessed.

If the account remains delinquent on June 30th of the fiscal year, a tax lien is placed on the property and is recorded with the Registry of Deeds. A tax lien is the first step in the foreclosure process. All taxes, costs, and interest must be paid to prevent foreclosure.

What should I do if I recently sold my property, but I am still receiving a tax bill?
If you receive a bill, please forward it to the new owner immediately as it is his/her responsibility to make payment.

How do I get a Municipal Lien Certificate?
If you wish to obtain a Municipal Lien Certificate, the following information is required:

Property Address and Current Owner.

Self-addressed stamped envelope is required if you wish the municipal lien certificate mailed to you.

How much will it cost and how long does it take?
The fee for a Municipal Lien Certificate is $25.00. Acceptable forms of payment: attorney’s check, certified or registered check, personal check, and cash (if in person).

Mail to:
Office of the Tax Collector
Town of Swampscott
22 Monument Avenue
Swampscott, MA 01907

The Municipal Lien Certificate will be issued within 10 business days.

How much did I pay in Real Estate Tax Last Year?
You can request that information by calling the Tax Collector’s Office at (781) 596-8856.

Have you received my Real Estate payment from my bank?
You can request that information by calling the Tax Collector’s Office at (781) 596-8856.

What if I am buying a condominium that is in the middle of a conversion?
Until the conversion is completed, the property is recognized as just one parcel. There is only one bill for all units, and it is between you and all the other unit owners how the Real Estate bill is divided. You must also notify your mortgage company as to how much your portion of the Real Estate bill should be paid.

MOTOR EXCISE

What is Motor Excise Tax?
Chapter 60A of Massachusetts General Laws imposes an excise for the privilege of registering a motor vehicle or a trailer on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The excise is levied annually in lieu of a tangible personal property tax.

The excise is levied by the city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged, and the revenues become part of the local community treasury.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to city or town assessors. Cities and towns then prepare bills based on excise data sent by the Registry in compliance with Registry requirements.

How is the Motor Excise Tax determined?
The amount of the excise is based on the value of the motor vehicle, which value is based upon the manufacturers’ list price.

Various percentages of the manufacturer's list price are applied.

In the year preceding the designated year of manufacture (brand new car released before model year): 50%

In the designated year of manufacture: 90%

In the second year: 60%

In the third year: 40%

In the fourth year: 25%

In the fifth and all succeeding years: 10%

Once the value of the vehicle is determined, an excise at the rate of $25.00 per thousand is assessed. Excise is assessed annually, on a calendar year basis, by the assessors of the city or town in which the vehicle is garaged as of January 1st.

If a vehicle is registered after January 31, it is taxed for the period extending from the first day of the month in which it is registered to the end of the calendar year. For example , if a vehicle is registered on April 30, it will taxable as of April 1, for the nine months of the year (April through December). In no event shall the excise be assessed for less than $5.00 nor shall an abatement or refund under Section 1 of Chapter 60A reduce an excise to less than $5.00.

Where should I mail the Motor Excise payment?
Please mail payment to:

Office of the Tax Collector
Town of Swampscott
22 Monument Avenue
Swampscott, MA 01907

Please make checks payable to: Town of Swampscott.

For proper crediting, write the bill number on the check and enclose the remit  portion of your tax bill. To obtain a receipt, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and both portions of the bill with the payment. One will be stamped "paid" and returned.

When are the payments due for Motor Excise?
Payment of the motor vehicle excise is due within 30 days from the date the excise bill is issued (not mailed, as is popularly believed).

NOTE: A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise plus any interest charges accrued. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry, the Town of Swampscott, and the post office informed of a current name and address so that the excise bills can be delivered promptly.

All owners of motor vehicles must pay an excise tax; therefore, it is the responsibility of the owner to contact the Office of the Tax Collector if you have not received a bill.

What if I do not receive a Motor Excise Tax bill?
You can request a statement by calling the Tax Collector’s Office at (781) 596-8856.

What if I mail in my Motor Excise Tax payment late?
If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the issue date, the account will be assessed a $5.00 demand charge. If payment in full (including the demand charge) is not received within 14 days of the date of issue of the demand, the Deputy Collector is notified, and an additional warrant charge will be assessed. If payment in full (including the demand and warrant charges) is not received within 30 days of the date of issue of the warrant charge, a service warrant will be delivered to the taxpayer’s residence and an additional fee will be assessed.

If the payment in full (including the demand, warrant, and service of warrant charges) is not received within 14 days, the Office of the Tax Collector notifies the Registry of Motor Vehicles of non-payment, and the Registry then marks the individual’s registration preventing the renewal of the motor vehicle registration and the owner’s driver’s license until such time as the Registry of Motor Vehicles is notified that payment in full of all outstanding vehicles taxes and parking tickets has been made to the Town of Swampscott.

This payment includes a $20.00 release fee as the final assessment. Interest accrues on the overdue bill from the day after the due date until the date of payment at an annual rate of 12 percent. Only payment in full for each excise tax bill is accepted. Any partial payment will be returned. Payment in full includes all charges and interest.

My Vehicle’s Registration and my Driver License have been marked for Non-Renewal at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, how do I clear this at the Registry?
You should contact Swampscott’s Deputy Collector, Kelley & Ryan for payment options.  They may be reached at (800) 268-1988.  Once payment of all outstanding excise and parking tickets in money order, bank check, or cash is made, the Deputy Collector will clear the mark, so you can return to the Registry to renew your registration or license.

Can I make partial payments on Motor Excise?
NO. Only payment in full for each excise tax bill is accepted. Any partial payment will be returned to the taxpayer via US mail. Payment in full includes all charges and interest.

What do I do if I sell or trade my car?
If an excise bill is received for a vehicle which was traded, it is recommended to:

Pay the bill in full, and provide a copy of the new registration with an application for abatement with the Assessors Office. (781) 596-8858.

If an excise bill is received for a vehicle which has been sold it is recommended to:

• Pay the bill in full, and return the plates to the Registry of Motor Vehicles

• Get a Return Plate Receipt

• File an application for abatement with the Assessor’s Office (781) 596-8858.

What do I do if I move out of Swampscott?
If a motor vehicle owner moves within Massachusetts, he/she should:

Pay the motor vehicle excise if he/she resided in the Town of Swampscott on January 1st.

If the owner moved before the first of the year, he/she must pay the tax to the new community to which the owner moved. If the owner did not notify the Registry that he/she moved before the first of the year, it may be necessary to file for an abatement with the Town of Swampscott, which had sent the excise bill.

File the abatement at the Town of Swampscott Assessors Office (781) 596-8858.

If a motor vehicle owner moves out of Massachusetts, he/she should:

• Pay the motor vehicle if he/she resided in the Town of Swampscott on January1st.

• Return the plates to the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts

• Get a Return Plate Receipt

• Apply for a partial refund with the Town of Swampscott Assessors Office (781) 596-8858.

Am I entitled to an abatement?
If an owner of a motor vehicle thinks that he/she is entitled to an adjustment of his/her excise bill, it is strongly recommended that he/she:

Pay the bill in full, then contact the Town of Swampscott Assessors office for an application for an abatement. The Assessor’s office must receive application for abatement by December 31 of the year following the year of the tax.

NOTE: It excise tax bills are unpaid, an owner risks incurring late fees and penalties that are non-refundable or waived.

Abatements can be filed if:

• The owner believes the assessment is incorrect, or

• If the vehicle was stolen, or

• If the vehicle was sold during the year in which it is being taxed and the registration was properly cancelled, or

• If the owner moved from the Town of Swampscott to another city or town, or

• If the registration is cancelled, it is most important to return the plate(s) to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and to obtain a return plate receipt.

When an abatement is granted, excise bills are prorated by the month. Thus the owner is responsible for the excise accrued through the month in which the car was last registered to him/her.


 

Town of Swampscott
22 Monument Avenue, Swampscott MA 01907
Ph: 781-596-8850 | Fx: 781-596-8851

Town Hall Hours
Monday - Thursday: 8:00a.m. to 4:30p.m.
Friday: 8:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.

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