Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my payment?

Payments can be made in person, online, via mail or over the phone.

  • In person: at the Collectors Office, Room B7 on the basement floor of City Hall located at 45 School St. If you are paying by check or money order, you can use the dropbox located outside of the office. This box is checked daily and your cancelled check will be your receipt. Credit Cards are not accepted in the Collectors Office.
  • Online: The city website will direct you to our online payment vendor, City Hall Systems. Here you can pay using Visa, Mastercard, Discover or Amex, as well as by Electronic check. There will be a fee levied by the financial institutions that process the payment. Credit Card fees are 2.95% and E-check is 50 cents.
    VIEW/PAY A BILL
  • By Mail: You can also mail your payment using the remittance slip and the envelope that comes with the bill. If you have lost the remittance, be sure to indicate where you want the payment to be applied.
  • By Phone: Payments are accepted over the phone by calling 508-381-5455.
  • By Bill Pay through your Bank: This method is not the most efficient as the banks issue checks to the city on your behalf, and often times it is difficult to determine what bill you are attempting to pay. If you choose to do this, please be sure to include your account number, not your bill number in the memo field. Bill numbers change, but your account number does not. Please note, your account number for Utility bills is not the same as your real estate bills. When paying a Real Estate bill you want to include your parcel in the memo field. Excise bills do not have an account number, so please be sure you are using the updated bill number for the bill you want to pay.
When are bills issued and when is my payment due?

The City runs on a Fiscal year that begins July 1-June 30. Real Estate Tax and Utility bills are sent four times per year as shown on the tables below.

Real Estate

Quarter Issued Due Billing Period
1st July 1 August 1 covers July, Aug & Sept
2nd October 1 November 1 covers Oct, Nov & Dec
3rd January 1 February 1 covers Jan, Feb & Mar
4th April 1 May 1 covers Apr, May & Jun

Utility

Quarter Issued Due Billing Period
1st August September based on meter reading dates
2nd November December based on meter reading dates
3rd February March based on meter reading dates
4th May June based on meter reading dates

If you have a question on the dates of your readings, please refer to your bill or contact the Dept. of Public Works.

Personal Property Bills

Personal Property bills are mailed annually on January 1 and are due February 1.

Boat Excise

Boat Excise bills are mailed annually and are due in 60 days from the date of issue.

How can I get a copy of my bill?

You can retrieve copies of your bills following the link and instructions provided here:

RETRIEVE COPIES
Using the 'Pay Bill' option will allow you to view and download a copy, without following all of the steps necessary to pay.

Who can I speak to if I have questions about the amount of my bill?

The Assessors Office for the Real Estate, Excise and Personal Property.
The Department of Public Works for the water, sewer and trash charges.

How do I change my mailing address?
  • For Real Estate and Personal Property bills please contact the Assessors Office at
    assessors@cobma.us.
  • For Utility bills please contact the Department of Public Works at dpw@cobma.us.
  • For Motor Vehicle Excise bills please notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
How can I request a Municipal Lien Certificate?

Requests can be made in writing to the Tax Collector's Office with the inclusion of the necessary fee.

DOWNLOAD FORM

My mortgage company pays my Real Estate bill, why am I receiving the bill?

According to MGL Chapter 60, Section 3 a copy of the bill must be sent to the homeowner. Your mortgage company will also receive a copy and if you escrow your taxes, they will pay it.

Does my mortgage company pay my Utility bill?

Your mortgage company is not responsible to pay your Utility bill. This is a service based bill for the water, sewer and trash that your home uses.  However, if these bills are not paid - in December of each year, the bills will be committed to your real estate bill at which time the mortgage company may pay the bill and send you an invoice to recoup the amount paid on your behalf.

Motor Vehicle Excise

Motor Vehicle Excise is mailed annually in February for vehicles owned on January 1st. Vehicles purchased after January 1st will receive a bill approximately 6-8 weeks after the vehicle is registered. (Partial payments are not accepted) Payments are due 30 days after the date of issue.

How is my Excise Bill Calculated?

The amount of the motor vehicle excise due on any particular vehicle or trailer in any registration year is calculated by multiplying the value of the vehicle by the by the motor vehicle excise rate. That rate is fixed at $25.00 per thousand dollars of value. The value of a vehicle for the purpose of the excise is the applicable percentage for that year of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for that vehicle. The applicable percentages are set out in Ch. 60A S. 1 as follows:

In the year preceding the model year
(brand new car released before model year)
50%
In the model year 90%
In the second year 60%
In the third year 40%
In the fourth year 25%
In the fifth and succeeding years 10%

The following document from the Secretary of the Commonwealth provides additional information as a public service.
Motor Vehicle Excise Manaul for Citizens

***Important Reminder***

Remember that when you register a motor vehicle, a motor vehicle excise bill is generated and you are responsible for its payment. If you move within Massachusetts or out-of-state, if you sell or trade your motor vehicle, or if it is stolen, you need to make every effort to obtain the bill, to pay it, and then to apply for an abatement if you are eligible.
And lastly, to avoid not receiving an excise tax bill on time, please keep the Registry, your local tax assessor , and the post office aware of your current mailing address.

What happens if I get a new car/cancel my registration/transfer plates?

With each annual bill, you are paying for that registration from January through December, therefore if you make any changes you would be due a credit or abatement on the bill that you already paid. Abatements are processed in the Assessor’s office. You will still get a new bill on your new vehicle that will have to be paid.

What happens if I moved/changed my address/never received the bill?

When you register a vehicle, a motor vehicle excise bill will be generated and you are responsible for its payment. According to Mass General Law Ch. 60, section 2 “failure to receive notice shall not affect the validity of the excise”

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