Credit or Exemption for Surviving Spouses, Minor Children of Deceased Parents, and Persons Over Age 70 with Local Option (Clause 17- 17F)





Variations in Receipt of Benefit

No Variation in Receipt of Benefits

Benefit Type




The base benefit is the greater of a $2,000 exemption of taxable property value or a $175 credit on the property tax bill. By local option, cities and towns may increase the benefit amount annually up to the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

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

The applicant must be a state resident and own and occupy the property. This incentive is available to surviving spouses, minor children of deceased parents, and persons over age 70 who have owned and occupied their residence for at least 10 years. The applicant's total estate, including real and personal property, may not exceed $20,000 unless otherwise increased by the municipality. Cities may increase the wealth limit up to $40,000 with exclusions up to a maximum of the total value of the property for up to 3 dwelling units and its unpaid mortgage. 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 a 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

If the 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. If 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 the adoption of expanded eligibility criteria.

Record ID



In calculating personal estate values, cemetery plots, wearing apparel, and household furniture and effects are excluded. With limited exceptions, homeowners are only eligible for one exemption under chapter 59, section 5. If they qualify for more than one exemption, they will receive the one with the greatest benefit. Applications must be filed annually with local assessors by 1 April or three months after tax bills are mailed, whichever is later.


Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 59, § 5-17 ~ § 5-17F (in effect for 2022)
Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Division of Local Services, Taxpayers Guide to Local Property Tax Exemptions for Seniors, Surviving Spouses, and Minor Children of Deceased Parents (2016)
[ Accessed 11/14/2023]
View Archived Source

Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Senior - Surviving Spouse or Minor Application for Statutory Exemption, State Tax Form 96-6 (July 2017)
[ Accessed 11/14/2023]
View Archived Source
Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Property Tax Forms and Guides
[ Accessed 11/14/2023]
View Archived Source

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