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Act now to get your residential tax abatements!

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

How it works

Q: How do I apply?

A: Residential Exemption applications are mailed every July to everyone who purchased a home in the preceding calendar year. If you bought your house in 2022, for example, you will receive an application in July of 2023, which begins the first fiscal year you would qualify.


Q: Do I have to reapply each year?

A: No, the residential exemption stays with the property until the deed changes, or you move.


Watertown exemptions

Here are the exemptions offered by the City of Watertown with basic qualifications for eligibility. A few things of note:

  • All the exemptions have some nuances of minimum time needed to reside and/or domicile in Massachusetts prior to eligibility.

  • Some have been locally adopted here in Watertown, and are not offered by all Massachusetts communities.

  • For those that are available across Massachusetts, the amounts shown are double what the Commonwealth has set, because Watertown has locally adopted funding these exemptions by an additional 100%.

Massachusetts Exemptions

The Commonwealth offers a Circuit Breaker Tax Credit for Seniors. Watertown does not administer this program. Seniors, please pursue this program with your tax preparer if you think you are eligible based on the information below. The maximum credit amount for tax year 2021 is $1,170. If the credit you're owed exceeds the amount of the total tax payable for the year, you'll be refunded the additional amount of the credit without interest. To be eligible:

  • You must be a Massachusetts resident or part-year resident.

  • You must be 65 or older by December 31 of the tax year.

  • You must file a Schedule CB with your Massachusetts personal income tax return.

  • You must own or rent residential property in Massachusetts and occupy it as your primary residence.

  • For tax year 2022, your total Massachusetts income doesn't exceed:

    • $64,000 for a single individual who is not the head of a household.

    • $80,000 for a head of household.

    • $96,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

  • If you are a homeowner, your Massachusetts property tax payments, together with half of your water and sewer expense, must exceed 10% of your total Massachusetts income for the tax year.

  • If you are a renter, 25% of your annual Massachusetts rent must exceed 10% of your total Massachusetts income for the tax year.

  • The assessed valuation of the homeowner's personal residence as of January 1, 2022, before residential exemptions but after abatements, cannot exceed $912,000.

  • The Schedule CB must be completed within 3 years from the last day for filing the return, without regard to any extension of time to file.

Property Tax Work-Off Program for Seniors and Veterans

The City of Watertown funds this program yearly for up to 10 seniors and/or veterans to work for a City Department in exchange for a $1,500 property tax deduction. The individuals must meet specific requirements. Call the Senior Center at 617-972-6490 for details.


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