Values and Taxation

This page contains information on Property Taxes and Personal Property Taxes.

Property Tax

About the Property Tax

The major source of revenue for the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts is the property tax.

In Shrewsbury, approximately 52% of the revenue needed to run the government and schools is derived from the property tax.

The property tax is an "ad-valorum" (based on value) tax. The tax is apportioned to individual properties based on the value of the property.


In Massachusetts, estimates of value are called assessments. The assessment of a large number of parcels for property tax purposes constitutes a highly specialized field of appraisal. It is termed mass appraisal, and requires significant statistical analysis in order to develop accurate values.

In Massachusetts, the property tax, both real and personal property, is assessed to the person who is the owner of record on January 1. Any ownership subsequent to that date can not be reflected on the tax bill.

In Shrewsbury, the physical condition of real property on July 1 is the determining factor when establishing value for the fiscal year. It is, therefore, important that any new construction be inspected as close to that date as possible in order to determine the level of completion as of the assessment date.

Supplemental Tax

In 1999 the Town accepted Section 2D of Chapter 59 which allows the collection of a supplemental tax based upon the date of the issuance of an occupancy permit after the July 1 date. This tax would be in addition to the actual tax bill that was determined based upon the condition of the property on July 1. It is computed on a daily basis and covers the period from the date of the signing of the occupancy permit up to the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

Personal Property Tax

Fiscal Year 2023 Forms of List Document (coming soon)

Tangible Personal Property

Tangible (that is, physical) personal property is subject to the personal property tax unless exempt by statute. Examples of some items defined as tangible personal property can include:

  • Chairs in a barbershop
  • Drills used by a dentist
  • Furnishings of a doctor's office
  • Poles owned by a utility company

Exempt Property

Tools employed by a plumber, carpenter, auto mechanic and other trade professionals are exempt from personal property tax. In legal terms, this exemption covers " tools of trade" of a "mechanic" (e.g. small tools that can fit in a toolbox).

Tools of other professionals not listed in the above paragraph, however, are considered taxable. These include dentist's drills and x-ray machines.

Tangible Property Subject to Other Tax

Tangible personal property subject to some other type of local tax is also exempt from the personal property tax. Included in this category are:

  • Farm animal and equipment excise
  • Mobile home park license fees
  • Motor vehicle and trailer excise
  • Ship and boat excise

Intangible Property

Intangible personal property is exempt from the personal property tax. Intangible property includes:

  • Bonds
  • Cash
  • Mortgages and other evidence of ownership of property rights
  • Stocks