4 Park Pl., Suite 101
New Bedford, MA 02740

phone icon(508) 994-1500
divider

Archive


City of Fall River Reaches Tax Title Collection Milestone

/ 0 Comments

For the past ten years, Matt Thomas has been providing legal services to the City of Fall River regarding the collection of outstanding real estate taxes, and during this period of time, Matt has been the principal draftsman of a number of best practices adopted by the City’s Department of Financial Services. As a result of the implementation of these best practices, the City has collected over $20 Million in past due Tax Titles and over $6 Million in Treasurer’s Interest, while only foreclosing on 30 properties. During the past ten years, Matt has had the opportunity to work with three former Fall River City Treasurers, Ed Iacaponi, John Nunes, and Paulianne Martins Teixeira, and the current City Treasurer, Ian Schachne. Matt has also had the continued opportunity to work with Fall River CFO Mary Sahady and Asst. Treasurer, Diane Perry, as well as the staff of the Fall River Treasurer’s Office. Matt would like to thank them all for their cooperation and collaboration.

One of the most essential, yet difficult, responsibilities of a city or town is to collect the real estate taxes that are owed to it. The process is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 60. Recently, in the case of Tallege Lincoln, LLC v. Williams, 485 Mass. 449 (2020), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reaffirmed that the principal purpose of Chapter 60 is to ensure that a municipality will receive the real estate taxes owed to it, but recognized that Chapter 60 was designed to also protect due process and the interests of taxpayers. Some communities seek to maximize the collection of real estate taxes by assigning the perfected real estate tax liens known as Tax Titles to the private sector. However, as the SJC noted, when a municipality does so, it relinquishes its ability to work with the taxpayer, and such assignees have no obligation to act in the best interests of the community. The Tax Title collection practices of the City of Fall River over the past ten years have shown that it is possible to effectively collect outstanding real estate taxes while working with taxpayers to protect their ownership interest in their homes and businesses. Matt is proud to have the continued opportunity to be part of this effort.

Read More
separator

Mattapoisett’s New Solar PILOT Law

/ 0 Comments

On January 13, 2021, Chapter 357 of the Acts of 2020 was signed by Governor Charlie Baker. Chapter 357, a Home Rule Petition filed by the Town of Mattapoisett, clarifies the ambiguities, and addresses the inequities, surrounding the taxation of solar facilities that had previously existed due to decisions of the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board.  Chapter 357 is based on the Mattapoisett’s current practice and policy regarding the taxation of solar facilities. Pursuant to Chapter 357, a solar facility that provides no more than 125% of the energy needed for lighting and heating the property on which it is located will continue to be exempt from personal property taxes. However, solar facilities that are not primarily producing energy for the parcel on which they are located, but rather are developed to sell power to other electric consumers through the grid will be subject to personal property taxes. A solar facility that is subject to personal property taxation may execute a Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) with the Town rather than be subject to annual taxation. A PILOT must be approved by the Board of Assessors, Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting.

Matt was the primary draftsman of Chapter 357. He would like to congratulate the Town on the passage of this important legislation. In light of the inability to enact statewide legislation to address these issues, the passage of Chapter 357 is a testament to the leadership of the Board of Selectmen and Board of Assessors of the Town, and the abilities of the Town’s legislative delegation. Matt would also like to thank Mattapoisett Principal Assessor Kathy Costello, Town Administrator Michael Lorenco, and former Town Administrator Michael Gagne for their collaboration in the advocacy of Chapter 357.

For a summary and the text of Chapter 357, please follow the following link: Chapter 357 of the Acts of 2020 – Annotated.

Read More
separator

Happy Holidays 2020

/ 0 Comments

During these challenging times in which we continue to live, we’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and hope you all have a Healthy & Prosperous New Year. We’d also like to thank all of our clients for giving us the opportunity to provide legal services during this past year. Our office will be closed from Wednesday, December 23, 2020 through Monday, January 4, 2021.

Read More
separator

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

/ 0 Comments

We’d like to thank all of our clients for giving us the opportunity to provide legal services to them during the past year, and for their cooperation, collaboration and understanding,  as we have all learned to navigate these challenging times.  We’d also like to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 26, 2020 and Friday, November 27, 2020.

Read More
separator

Labor Day 2020

/ 0 Comments

Monday, September 7, 2020 is Labor Day.  As you know, Labor Day is an opportunity for us to honor the social and economic achievements of the American workforce. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday of September a national holiday. In observance of Labor Day, our office will be closed and will reopen on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

Read More
separator

Happy 4th of July!

/ 0 Comments

In a letter to Abigail Adams, written just after the Continental Congress had voted for independence (which it did on July 2nd), John Adams wrote:

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

While it may be a little more difficult to do so this year during the COVID-19 Pandemic, we hope everyone takes some time to heed John Adams’s advice and celebrate responsibly with family and friends.

Read More
separator

Matt Presents at the MAAO Virtual Summer Conference

/ 0 Comments

On Thursday, June 25, 2020 Matt presented  an updated version of “The ABCs of TIFs, DIFs, TIEs & STAs” to the members of the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers at the MAAO Virtual Summer Conference.  During the presentation, Matt reviewed the basics of tax increment financing, district improvement financing, HDIP tax increment exemptions, and special tax assessments. Matt also discussed the impact of  substantial changes to tax increment financing law in Massachusetts which became effective on January 1, 2017.

Matt would like to thank the members of the MAAO for joining the webinar. He would also like to thank the MAAO President, Christopher Wilcock, the MAAO Executive Board, MAAO Executive Director, Christine Purple, and the entire MAAO Staff, for presenting such a well run and informative weeklong virtual Summer Conference.

For a copy of “The ABCs of TIFs, DIFs, TIEs & STAs” please visit the “Resources” section of our website.

Read More
separator

Continued Remote Office Access

/ 0 Comments

Based on guidance provided by public health officials, our office continues to function under remote and will continue to do so until August 3, 2020. We have implemented this policy to protect the health and safety of our clients and our staff.

During this time, we will continue to strive to provide the highest quality legal services to our clients. Matt can be reached at mjt@mjthomaslaw.com and we have the ability to schedule meetings by secure video conferencing (through Zoom) or by teleconference. We will continue to provide Covid-19 related updates to our municipal and public sector clients by e-mail.

We encourage everyone to stay informed of public health and government advisories. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you.

Read More
separator

COVID-19 Remote Office Access

/ 0 Comments

Based on guidance provided by public health officials, our office was functioning under remote access last week and will continue to do so until April 7, 2020. We have implemented this policy to protect the health and safety of our clients and our staff.

During this time, we will continue to strive to provide the highest quality legal services to our clients. Matt can be reached at mjt@mjthomaslaw.com and we have the ability to schedule meetings by secure video conferencing (through Zoom) or by teleconference. We will continue to provide Covid-19 related updates to our municipal and public sector clients by e-mail.

We encourage everyone to stay informed of public health and government advisories. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you.

Read More
separator

Happy Holidays 2019!

/ 0 Comments

We’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and hope you all have a Healthy & Prosperous New Year. We’d also like to thank all of our clients for giving us the opportunity to provide legal services during this past year. Our office will be closed from Monday, December 23, 2019 through Monday, January 6, 2020.

Read More
separator