Not for profit organizations that own property in Brookline, such as hospitals, schools and religious or cultural institutions, may qualify for an exemption from local taxes on real and personal property.
A qualifying organization must own the property as of January 1 and occupy the property as of July 1 of the tax year. Ownership, however, does not automatically entitle an organization to an exemption. The property must also be used by the organization or another qualifying organization. An explanation of the general criteria that must be met and procedures for applying for an exemption are set forth in the guide published by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in the Taxpayer's Guide to Property Tax Exemptions (PDF).
Brookline Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) Policy
Brookline recognizes that non-profit organizations contribute directly to the quality of life within the community and welcomes them to the town. In order to maintain the financial health of the community so as to continue to provide a range of quality services, the town must preserve its existing tax base and expand that revenue source where reasonably possible. It is the town policy to distribute the burden of cost in a fair method between all users of services: citizens, taxpayers, and non-profit institutions. The Select Board adopted a PILOT policy in December 2007 and revised the PILOT policy (PDF) in June 2011.
Form 3ABC (M.G.L. Chapter 59 S.5 Clause 3(b) and S.29) (PDF) says every charitable organization owning property on January 1 must file a property return with the assessor in order to receive an exemption for the fiscal year that begins on the next July 1. The return must be received in the assessor's office by March 1. Failure to file in a timely manner may bar the organization from exemption for that year. A religious organization qualifying under Clause 10 or 11 of Section 5 of Chapter 59, must file a Form 3ABC only for property which it seeks exemption for other than a house of worship or parsonage.
Form PC states that a copy of the organizations' most recent annual report to the Public Charities Division of the Attorney General's Office, Form PC, must be attached to the 3ABC. Failure to submit the Form PC also bars the organization.
First Time Applicants
An organization seeking a charitable exemption for the first time in Brookline for personal property, or a particular parcel of real property, must make an initial application to the assessor. This initial application is on a Form 1B3 (PDF). No application is required of a religious organization to establish exempt status for a house of worship or parsonage.
Once an exemption is established, no further filing or Form 1B3 is required, provided there is no change in ownership, or other eligibility criteria.
Denial of an application for exemption is subject to appeal. To appeal, an application for abatement must be filed with the Board of Assessors by the due date of the 3rd quarter tax bill, usually February 1. To preserve all appeal rights, tax payments should be made timely. The assessor has 3 months to act on the applications. If the assessor denies the abatement application, or takes no action within 3 months of the filing, an appeal can be filed within 3 months to the Appellate Tax Board. View the abatement section for more information.