Taxes are an unavoidable part of life. For those of who own or have owned a home in the past, you know what I’m referring to. But there are a couple of interesting things you may not already know, important things that may influence how much you pay every month.

Here are four important things to know about property taxes that you should know while owning property in Massachusetts.

Your Property Taxes Are Sometimes Complicated
Your property taxes are not necessarily directly related to what you initially paid for your home. Property taxes are determined by your town of city assessor. The assessor evaluates a number of different factors including home values in the area and other improvements made to your dwelling. However, if you feel your home is not properly valued you do have the option to contest your assessment. Contesting your tax amount is a possibility as well as qualifying for exemptions.

Property Tax Rates Vary from Town to Town and City to City
Every city or town in the state sets its own tax rate. Tax rates in Cambridge differ from Boston or Wellesley. Tax rates vary with differences in what people pay ranging between suburban and city proper parcels. In addition, areas like Boston have residential exemptions for taxes which can be a great savings. These are offered to property owners who occupy the home as their primary residence.

Taxes May Increase Annually (and Sometimes Decrease)
While by law taxes in the state of Massachusetts cannot increase by more than 2.5% each year, there are a couple of legal ways for towns to get around this law if necessary. That being said taxes typically do not increase by such dramatic amounts. In fact, for many towns property tax rates may stay flat for long periods of time. It isn’t unheard of to towns to even lower tax rates in an effort to attract more residents.

Property Tax is Assessed Every Year
Every January each city will adjust their tax rates which will be approved by the state. We never know what to anticipate year over year. Sometimes rates increase, stay the same or even decrease. No matter what happens, it is important to know that they may increase so that you can budget accordingly.