Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Increased Taxes for Second Homes

The February 19 Hartford Courant reports that the Barnstable Town Council has taken advantage of a state law to charge out-of-town owners of second homes higher property taxes than are charged to year-round residents. "Barnstable is the 13th town in Massachusetts to take advantage of the state law that allows tax breaks of up to 20 percent of the town's average assessed property value. Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are two of the other communities," according to the Courant. The article explains, "The law [MGL chapter 59, section 5C], passed in 1979, was intended to ease the taxes of residents in big cities, such as Boston, by shifting the tax burden within residential-class buildings to investment properties such as apartment complexes, said Lydia Hill, a spokeswoman in the division of local services for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue Services. Only recently has it been used by resort communities, she said."