Credit or Exemption for Surviving Spouses, Minor Children of Deceased Parents, and Persons Over Age 70 (Clause 17s)





Variations in Receipt of Benefit

No Variation in Receipt of Benefits

Benefit Type



The benefit is the greater of a $2,000 exemption of taxable property value or a $175 credit on the property tax bill.

How is Benefit Disbursed


Eligible Property Type


Characteristics of Eligible Property

Only residential property is eligible for this program.

Eligibility Criteria



Principal Residence

Wealth Limit

Surviving Spouse

Other Criteria

Description of Eligibility Criteria

This incentive is available to surviving spouses, minor children of deceased parents, and persons over age 70 whom own residential property and have total estates including real and personal property not exceeding $20,000 (though cities and towns may adopt provisions increasing the wealth limit). Ownership interests are satisfied if: (a) the person’s interest in the domicile is worth at least $2,000, (b) the person is a holder of life estate, or (c) the domicile is held in a trust and the person is a trustee or co-trustee or possesses a significant beneficial interest in the trust.

Local Option in Adoption of Program

Local government is unable to exercise an option

Local Option Regarding Program Features

Local option regarding program features

State Funding for Local Tax Loss

State and local government share the local tax loss

Description of State Funding for Tax Loss

When the whole estate of the person receiving the incentive exceeds $10,000, the state treasurer shall reimburse the city or town for the amount of tax which otherwise would have been collected. When cities and towns adopt increases in the wealth eligibility limit or adjust benefits based on increases to the CPI, the state treasury reimbursements to the cities and towns will remain at an amount equal to the reimbursement granted for the most recent fiscal year prior to adoption of expanded eligibility criteria.

Enrollment Data

The total number of participants was 12,512 for $3,754,842 tax dollars abated.

Record ID



Applications must be filed yearly with the local assessors. In calculating personal estate values, cemetery plots, wearing apparel, and household furniture and effects are excluded.


Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 59, § 5-17 ~ § 5-17E (in effect for 2007)
Taxpayer's Guide to Real Estate Tax Exemptions in Massachusettes (no date), Department of Revenue [ Accessed on 04/18/2010] View Archived Source

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