West Tisbury considers property tax rate change

West Tisbury is considering a change to how residential properties are taxed. —MV Times

West Tisbury is gathering information from its residents to determine whether the town should alter its property tax structure.

The West Tisbury assessors mailed out residential exemption applications on June 6 to all residential property owners in the town to see if they “prequalify” for the designation. This will allow the town assessors to have the information ready if West Tisbury decides to implement a residential tax exemption. 

A residential tax exemption would lower the tax rate for most properties acting as the owner’s primary residence. 

According to a document from the town explaining the exemption, around 1,026 parcels in West Tisbury would qualify for the exemption. Other residential properties, such as a summer home, would not qualify for the exemption. 

If an exemption of 5 percent of the average home value in West Tisbury were used, which would be $90,654, a household with a property worth $1.385 million — the median residential property value in the town — then they would see a cost saving of $273. 

“Lower-valued qualified properties benefit the most, and the benefit decreases until a breakeven is reached, at which point qualified properties actually pay more than they would have without the exemption. A likely breakeven in West Tisbury would be around $4,000,000 in assessed value,” according to the town assessors. 

So a primary residence valued at $5 million would pay an additional $52, according to assessors’ estimates. 

Meanwhile, a property valued at $1.385 million that does not qualify for the exemption would pay an additional $125. 

On the Island, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury have residential tax exemptions of 15 percent and 22 percent, respectively. So far, West Tisbury has had a single tax rate for all properties in the town. 

Further input about the process can also be submitted to the town assessors by email at assessors@westtisbury-ma.gov, or by mail addressed to Assessors, Town of West Tisbury, P.O. Box 278, West Tisbury, MA 02575. More information can be found at bit.ly/3VkwHKn.