Real Estate Definitions


Real Estate is the physical land and improvements affixed to it. Massachusetts statutes require assessors to assess all property at its full and fair cash value as of January 1 each year.

Full and fair cash value is also known as market value, or the price a willing buyer will pay a willing seller for the property when both are considered knowledgeable about the market and under not outside influence to buy or sell.

Property Assessments are listed each year on the third-quarter tax bill (due February 1). The taxpayer should review their assessment annually because this is the only period when an abatement application can be filed.


Property Inspections are performed regularly by the assessors in order to update the property database. Taxpayers should allow assessors to inspect their property in order to be assured that their record is accurate. Failure to allow an inspection will bar appeals under Massachusetts statutes and force the assessors to estimate the quality, condition, and improvements of the property.


Betterments are a method used to charge the cost of public improvements, which benefit a limited area, against the real estate situated within such area.

Tax Exemptions

Tax Exemptions are discharges from the obligation to pay all or a portion of a tax.

Tax Deferrals

Tax Deferrals permit taxpayers 65 years of age or older to delay payment of property taxes. The taxes, with interest, must be repaid to the community upon the death of the taxpayer or sale of the property.

Please Note

Assessors do not create the market. Assessors analyze and review actual property transactions to determine assessed values. By law, the real estate market determines property assessments.

Tax bills are mailed quarterly and due August 1, November 1, February 1, and May 1. Do not send correspondence with your payment because payments go directly to the Tax Collector's Office for bank deposit. All correspondence should be mailed to:
  • Town of Chelmsford
    Attention Assessors Office
    50 Billerica Road
    Chelmsford, MA 01824