These materials have been prepared by the Bureau of Local Assessment (BLA) to assist assessors to plan and carry out the reassessment program necessary to achieve full and fair cash value in accordance with the requirements of G.L. c. 40, § 56 and c. 58, §§1, 1A and 3. These Certification Standards (The Guidelines for Development of a Minimum Reassessment Program) specify technical, procedural, administrative practices and assessing expectations.
An assessment is the value placed upon all real and personal property for the purpose of local property taxation. An analysis of market conditions along with the assessment level and uniformity must be performed annually as of January 1 whether for the five-year certification or for an interim year adjustment.
The five-year certification review is conducted by BLA staff to ensure the proposed values were derived utilizing a methodology based on generally accepted mass appraisal practices, are supported with current market evidence and are uniformly and equitably applied to all property.The data quality, all cost and depreciation tables, and land schedules will be reviewed for all real property. In addition, income producing property will be reviewed for income and expense analysis, development of the economic rent schedules, capitalization rates and correlation of the values derived from two appraisal approaches. Personal property accounts will be reviewed for appropriate listing and valuation of assets along with the cost and depreciation schedules.
The statistics must conform to the Commissioner’s minimum standards for certification as established in these Guidelines and will be used for the purpose of measuring the level and uniformity of assessments before and after the revaluation.Conforming statistics are not solely determination that the proposed valuations are appropriately derived or applied.
Statistical medians and CODs alone are not to be considered market evidence.
Assessors may be requested to provide additional documentation, to supplement the standardized reports, during the certification review as questions arise.
Property Assessment Contracts
Municipalities for various reasons may need to contract with an independent revaluation contractor to perform revaluations or other property assessment services.
All requests for consulting services must conform to G.L. c. 30B, the Uniform Procurement Act. For additional information, please refer to the “Practical Guide to Drafting Effective Invitations for Bids and Requests for Proposals for Supplies and Services” (April 2005) issued by the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General.
A contract by a municipality for revaluation or other assessing services should contain the following topics: The agreement, scope of work to be completed, time and expected delivery of the completed materials, compensation, general requirements pertaining to performance bonds, time frame for submission of the proposals, rights reserved by the municipality etc.
All contracts should be reviewed and discussed with town/city counsel.
FIVE-YEAR CERTIFICATION REVIEW
The Bureau of Local Assessment certification process consists of, but is not limited to, a data quality review, a statistical ratio studies review, and a valuation review to ensure that proper appraisal methodology was utilized while uniformly and equitably applied to all property.
A revaluation program should be based on the mass appraisal process utilizing the components of an acceptable mass appraisal system. The mass appraisal system is comprised of the following: data management, valuation, performance analysis, administration and appeals.
After determining the scope of the reassessment program, the assessors must prepare a work plan for its accomplishment and submit it to the BLA, as explained in detail under the Minimum Program Components section.
The valuation system should have the capability to maintain data, readily update the values, and produce all reports necessary to meet the minimum standards for certification. Bureau of Local Assessment Certification.