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Matthew J. Thomas, Esq. successfully defends Seekonk condominium ATB Decision at Massachusetts Appeals Court


On Friday, February 3, 2017, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued an Opinion pursuant to Rule 1:28 which affirmed the decision of the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board that partially and/or fully constructed units of a condominium are subject to real estate taxation as a present interest even though the Master Deed has not yet been amended to include the new phase of the condominium. Atty. Matt Thomas represented the Board of Assessors for the Town of Seekonk before the Appeals Court. The Opinion in RI Seekonk Holdings, LLC v. Board of Assessors of Seekonk, 15-P-1722 can be found below.

This decision is important in that it provides valuable guidance to Boards of Assessors throughout the Commonwealth in determining whether partially constructed, but undeclared, condominium units should be subject to real estate taxes. Previously, Massachusetts Assessors could seek a ruling from the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue  pursuant to General Laws Chapter 59, Section 11 as to whether the partially constructed units were taxable. However, the Massachusetts Municipal Modernization Act (Chapter 218 of the Acts of 2016) amended Section 11 such that after January 1, 2017, Assessors can no longer seek a written authorization to assess from the Commissioner of Revenue, but rather have to make the determination themselves.

In light of the RI Seekonk Holdings decision partially and/or fully constructed, but undeclared, units are taxable. Therefore, Assessors should maintain copies of the Building Permit, Building Inspection Reports and Certificates of Occupancy in the file for the respective condominium units, as they do in determining the assessed value of other partially constructed residential or commercial structures.

Decision RI Seekonk Holdings, LLC v. Board of Assessors of Seekonk 15-P-1722 170203