Supreme Court Tests Whether Conservation Land Can be Taxed

In Massachusetts, land used by a charitable organization qualifies for a tax exemption under state law. But a recent case in the town of Hawley, now going before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, could have wide implications.

Conservation for Its Own Sake

It would seem self-evident that a key goal of conservation is to protect land from the effects of too much human interference. Certainly that was Teddy Roosevelt’s vision a century ago when one the country’s best-known hunters became its most ardent conservationist.

Edgartown Selectmen Approve Tax Increase, Shellfish Licenses

Edgartown’s tax rate will increase slightly in 2014, with the town selectmen this week approving a tax rate of $3.70 for every $1,000 worth of property.

Tax Changes Boost Tisbury Revenues

As the summer season comes to a close, revenue from two new taxes in Tisbury is helping to boost town finances.

Town administrator John (Jay) Grande presented summer totals from an occupancy tax increase and a new meals tax during the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday.

The occupancy tax increased from four to six per cent, leading to revenues of $95,309 for July and August. Last year during the same time period, revenues were $64,611.

The meals tax netted Tisbury $24,796, town treasurer Timothy McLean said in a phone conversation Wednesday.

West Tisbury Assessors Lose Tax Challenge

West Tisbury Assessors Lose Tax Challenge


The Massachusetts Court of Appeals this week overturned a decision by the state Appellate Tax Board and ruled that the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank is exempt from all taxation, upholding the power vested in the conservation agency by its enabling legislation.

The case is an appeal of a decision first made by the West Tisbury board of assessors that ordered the land bank to pay about $700 in taxes on property bought in fiscal year 2002.

The ruling was issued Wednesday.

Assessors in Edgartown Flooded with Requests for Property Tax Relief

Assessors in Edgartown Flooded with Requests for Property Tax Relief


A property tax revolt is quietly brewing on Chappaquiddick, where a large group of landowners have banded together and hired an attorney to challenge their latest property assessments.

Prior to the deadline last Friday, the attorney delivered more than 100 abatement applications to the Edgartown assessors' office. Many other Chappaquiddick property owners, who did not join the group, also filed individual abatement requests.

Property Tax Case Reveals IRS Probe

Property Tax Case Reveals IRS Probe

Expert Appraiser for Town Discloses Internal Revenue Service Investigation of Herring Creek Farm Transaction


BOSTON - The expert appraiser hired by West Tisbury assessors revealed during cross-examination this week that the federal Internal Revenue Service is investigating the 2001 Herring Creek Farm real estate transaction in Edgartown and an ensuing charitable tax deduction that was based largely on his appraisal of the property.

Town Defends Tax Challenge

Town Defends Tax Challenge

West Tisbury Assessors Dip Heavily Into Legal Spending Coffers; Methods to Determine Values Come Under Close Scrutiny


A pending property tax appeal in West Tisbury has triggered mounting legal bills to defend the assessors' position in a complex case that challenges their methods for determining property values.

Pondfront Owners Shocked at Tax Bills

A dozen stunned West Tisbury property owners crowded the normally quiet town assessors meeting this week to question their assessments and tax bills, which have more than doubled this year.

The residents were looking for both tax relief and an explanation of a property valuation system they said they neither understand nor trust.

West Tisbury Tax Abatements Soar as Applications Increase

The town of West Tisbury, a breeding ground for property tax rancor in recent years, had a record high $289,000 in tax abatements in 2008 based on approximately $68 million in total adjusted property values.

While town officials say the high number of abatements can be tracked directly to the current triennial real estate revaluation and a spike in waterfront property values, some residents insist that they signal a continued level of discontent with the current assessment system and the company hired to help conduct the revaluations.