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Fair cash value has been determined by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court as ”fair market value” which is the price an owner willing but not under compulsion to sell ought to receive from one willing but not under compulsion to buy. It means the highest price that a normal purchaser not under peculiar compulsion will pay at the time, and cannot exceed the sum that the owner after reasonable effort could obtain for this property. A valuation (price) limited to what the property is worth to the purchaser is not market value. The fair cash value is the value the property would have on January first or any taxable year in the hands of any owner, including the present owner. (Boston Gas Co. v. Assessors of Boston, 334 Mass. 549, 566 (1956).
Among the numerous factors to be considered that will cause values to differ are location, condition, size, quality, number of baths, basement, finished garages and many others.
The best evidence that could be considered would be a recent sale price of your property. The next best evidence would be recent sales prices of properties that are similar to yours. The close in similarity and proximity, the better the evidence.
Another type of evidence that could be considered would be recent appraisal of your property.
Bills may be paid:
Currently, payments cannot be taken over the phone.
Alerts for due dates of tax bills can be sent via email and SMS text by signing up on our Notify Me page. Please note that alerts are for the four quarters of Real Estate and the first commitment sent by the RMV for Excise tax.
Bills can always be viewed and paid online (Online Bill Pay) or by calling the Treasurer/Collector’s Office at 413-259-3020.
In Massachusetts a fiscal year is a 12-month period starting July 1 and ending June 30. All Real Estate Tax Bills encompass this time period. The year is identified by the year of the second six months: ie., July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 is called FY20.
In Amherst, taxes are paid four times a year: August 1, November 1, February 1, and May 1. Bills are mailed twice each year—two “preliminary” bills (based on previous year’s tax bill) on, or before, June 30 with due dates of August 1 and November 1; and two “actual” bills (based on the new tax rate) on, or before, December 31 with due dates of February 1 and May 1. It is your responsibility to remember the second due dates for each mailing.
Massachusetts General Law states that the owner of record on the January 1st of the preceding fiscal year (1/1/20 for the tax year 7/1/20-6/30/21) must be billed for the tax. If you purchased your home on February 3, 2020, the bill would be addressed to the person who owned the property on January 1, 2020. However, you can have the bill addressed to you by notifying the Assessors’ office (413-259-3024) of your name and address. AS UNREASONABLE AS THIS SEEMS, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TAXES EVEN IF YOU DON’T GET A BILL.
Bills can always be viewed and paid online (Online Bill Pay).
Excise Tax is an annual state tax for all residents with a car registered in Massachusetts. Your place of garaging per your registration determines which town your bill is generated from. The tax is levied by the town and the revenues become a part of the town’s receipts. The Registry of Motor Vehicles generates the bills from registration information; values set by the Commissioner of Revenue based upon the manufacturer’s list price in the year of manufacture. The tax is $25.00 per one thousand dollars of valuation.
You are still responsible for the tax and late penalties even if you never receive the bill. These are state regulations, not policies set by the Town. Massachusetts law states you must file a change of address with the Registry of Motor Vehicles within 30 days. If the bill (generated by the Registry) has the wrong address and it is returned undeliverable, late fees are still added. You must aggressively look for your excise bill. AS UNREASONABLE AS THIS SEEMS, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TAXES EVEN IF YOU DON’T GET A BILL.
Please visit our Motor Vehicle Excise Tax page or call the Collector’s Office, 413-259-3020, for more information.
DO NOT IGNORE THE BILL. Please contact the Assessor’s Office at 413-259-3024 for information on filing an Abatement.
The Town of Amherst is broken into sections that are read and billed on a quarterly basis. Not everyone will receive a bill at the same time. Bills are due 30 days from the date of issue.
Residents who have water/sewer meters from the Town of Amherst are billed a minimum charge based on a usage of 3 (300 cubic ft).
Read the 1st 4 digits left to right. Your meter is typically located in your basement where the water comes in. It will be a Proread or Neptune meter. Visit our How to Read Your Water Meter page for more information.
Usually a final water reading is done when the property is sold and the bill is settled at closing. The account is then changed into the new owner’s name. Contact the Treasurer/Collector’s office if the address for the bill differs from the property address, 413-259-3020.
IF YOU ARE A LAWYER OR REALTOR AND REQUIRE A FINAL WATER READING, PLEASE CALL 413-259-3050, EXT. 0
The Town of Amherst does not establish accounts in tenant’s names. This policy is in place as any outstanding utility charges can be lien to the Actual Real Estate Tax Bill. All Utility Bills are ultimately the property owner’s responsibility.
This website outlines who pays for water and the criteria: www.masslegalhelp.org/housing.
The Town offers a Direct Debit program for residents to enroll in automatic bill paying through their bank account. There is no fee to enroll in this program, however, we recommend checking with your banking institute before signing up. Any bills due prior to enrollment must be paid conventionally and will not be taken via direct debit.
Please visit our Direct Debit Enrollment page to view the instructions for enrollment as well as our application for enrollment. If you have any questions, please reach out to our Treasurer/Collector office at 413-259-3020.
Students have a choice about where to register to vote. Students attending college may register at their campus address or choose to remain registered or register at their permanent or home address. You may only be registered to vote in one location.
Register Online: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/OVR/
Visit Amherst Town Clerk: 1st Floor Town Hall at 4 Boltwood Avenue in Downtown Amherst M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm - Map
By Mail: If you do not qualify to register to vote online, or if you would prefer to register by mail, you may download the voter registration form by using the link provided in the box to the right. The form must be completed, signed, and delivered to your local election official. Voter registration forms submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than the voter registration deadline.
In-person: Amherst Town Clerk's Office on 1st Floor of Town Hall at 4 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst MA. 01002 M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm - Map
Massachusetts’ paper voter registration form asks for your Massachusetts driver’s license or ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Be sure to provide one of these numbers if you have it. To complete your voter registration online, you must have a Massachusetts-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID.
You need to present ID when voting in person, or mail a copy of your ID when voting by mail, if any of the following apply to you:
Acceptable forms of ID include a Massachusetts driver’s license or state ID card, recent utility bill, rent receipt, lease, copy of a voter registration affidavit, or any other printed identification that has your name and address. If you cannot show ID, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot.
Make a plan ahead of time. Confirm your voter registration status by visiting www.sec.state.ma.us/VoterRegistrationSearch/MyVoterRegStatus
Look up your polling location and hours at www.sec.state.ma.us/WhereDoIVoteMA
Registering to vote in Massachusetts makes you a resident for the purposes of your driver’s license and vehicle registration. If you drive your vehicle in Massachusetts, you have 30 days from when you register to vote to register your vehicle and get a Massachusetts driver’s license. For more information, contact the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles.
Yes, first responders have appropriate protective gear. The entire region has prepared for situations like this for decades. Personal Protective Equipment is available and available for use by all first responders including police, fire, EMS, and DPW.
Again, our first responders have been in training for this type of event for decades. We exercise on a regular basis. Our first order of business is Force Protection. Protecting the first responders and other officials so they can carry out their duties. Each department takes special precautions to ensure their forces are protected, have contingency plans if there is a breakdown, backup plans through support forces, and mutual aid from surrounding communities and the State for additional support. The entire system in Massachusetts is highly sophisticated with deep preparation and a high level of communication among the key players.
First, this is a pandemic that is being managed hour-by-hour and day-by-day by experienced, knowledgeable people who have been working in this field for decades. The medical community has extensive disaster preparedness plans in place and they are activating them. Most patients infected with COVID-19 will be told to isolate themselves in their own homes. The disease will run its course – like a rough bout of the flu – and then, after the patient shows no fever for 72 straight hours with no fever reducer, the patient will be cleared by their personal care provider. The only patients that will be taken to the hospital are those who absolutely require it. Our team has a full inventory of the resources that are available for transport and the hospitals have a full inventory of their resources and are creating or obtaining more resources such as beds and equipment.
The Town’s Core Management Team is in regular contact with other key players in the public health and public safety communities, state-wide and in the region. Again, self-isolation will be the primary response to most diagnoses of COVID-19. Hospitals will be taxed and those organizations are taking steps now to prepare such as canceling elective surgery and freeing up as many beds as they can. There may, however, be external limitations that face the entire country.
The State Department of Health is the central point for gathering all information on confirmed cases of COVID-19. This information is available in real-time by our Health Department professionals. It is confidential and can not be shared. There is a protocol in place if there is an identified case that includes a full history and tracking of contacts. This includes identifying the individuals that need to be contacted based on certain protocols and those people are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.
The Town has a multi-layered communications system. We recommend the following options:
The online registration portal can often be a bit tricky to navigate. View our troubleshooting section if you having difficulties registering for a program. Please give us a call at (413) 259-3065 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if your issue persists or if your issue is unique/ not listed there.
Go to the Webtrac portal:
1. On the top menu bar, click My Account
2. Select Change Member Data
3. Click Add Family Member
If you are part of a household that has never used Webtrac before (e.g. only registered over the phone) you m ay not have a username or password to log in with.
The Notary fills in the certificate, signs it, and then applies his or her seal to the document.
A driver’s license, military ID, or passport will usually be acceptable.
Notaries certify the identity of signers. The signers are responsible for the content of the documents.
Information on old outstanding parking violations can be obtained by calling Parking Administration at 413-259-3020.
Yes, everyone has 21 days from date of ticket violation to either pay or appeal the parking violation. Appeals must be submitted to our office in writing and can be made via:
Parking Appeals cannot be made via the telephone.
Per Massachusetts Law Chapter 90, section 20A-20E, all tickets must be paid within 21 days. A $15.00 late fee is added on the 22nd day. If your ticket remains unpaid, your license and/or registration may be marked for nonrenewal with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Long-term parking (8 hours) is available in the north side of the North Pleasant Street lot. This lot is enforced from 8:00am to 6:00pm.
4-hour parking available in most municipal lots. See the Parking Maps page for more details.
Yes, permits are available for those who live or work in Downtown Amherst. Permits are available for purchase (permits are $25). If you are interested in obtaining a parking permit, please visit our Permit Parking page for more information.
Permitted Parking is marked Downtown Amherst by blue signs. Permit season runs from September 1st - May 31st.
A parking ban may be due to inclement weather and prohibits most on street parking. There is a blue light that flashes at intersections closest to the center of town to indicate a ban is in effect. Notification would be publicized on the Town home page, and a news flash through the Parking Reminder Notify-Me (click the link to sign up for Notify Me Alerts) that serves residents and guests who have signed up. Information on where to safely park will be included and a follow up alert once the ban has been lifted.
For questions, please reach out to Parking Administration at 413-259-3020.
Example: If you are researching permits, projects, or documents related to “Kendrick Park”, you would type “Kendrick Park” into the search window, hit GO, and then view the search results.
The Records Bureau is located in the front lobby of the Police Department at 111 Main St., Amherst.
Records requests can also be made via mail. To request a copy of a record through the mail, a Records Request Form should be filled-out and sent to the records office, along with payment by check (payable to Town of Amherst), and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. This will expedite your request.
Please note that there is a nominal charge for all copies of records.
For More information on the firearms laws, requirements and disqualifying factors, see the Criminal History Systems Board's Firearms Records Bureau.
You may also email your request.
Possible resolutions include a verbal warning to the residents, a written warning to the residence, a Town of Amherst Noise By-Law violation fine of $100 or arrest for the violation. When determining the appropriate response, the officer may take many factors into consideration, such as the severity of the noise, the time of day, whether the residents have been warned before, the cooperation of the residents to address the problem.
The expanded law will require a booster seat/safety belt combination for children who have outgrown a child safety seat - typically when they are above age five or 40 pounds -until they are 8 years old OR over 57" tall. The Massachusetts Safety Belt Law requires safety belt use by those 13 years of age and older.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following for toddlers and pre-schoolers: After reaching the maximum weight or height for rear facing seats, children should ride in a forward-facing seat with a harness until they outgrow it, after which they should use a booster seat with higher weight limits.
The fee for a certified copy of a vital record is $10. For requests by mail, please enclose a self-addressed, stamped return envelope. Mail requests to:Town Clerk’s Office4 Boltwood Ave.Amherst, MA 01002
The first 15 minutes of search time will be at no charge, other than a $10 fee for each certified copy requested.
If the information is requested from a specific record, minimal information will be made available, with more complete information being available at charge of $10 per record.
Vital record searches may be done during regular business hours.
Further research may be conducted at: