Tax Collector & Treasurer

Tax Collector / TreasurerLisa Blackmer
HoursTreasurer Office Hours Mon & Fri 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Collector Office Hours Tues, Wed & Thurs 8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Closed for lunch 12:30 pm to 1:00 pm
Phone(413) 625-6330 x 2
Emailtreasury@town.buckland.ma.us
AddressMail: Collector,17 State Street, Buckland MA 01370-1011
Town Hall,17 State Street, Buckland

Buckland's Tax Collector also serves as Treasurer for the town.

Property owners may pay property and excise taxes online using the Unibank payment system.

Pay Tax Bills for Buckland MA at Unibank Online

This office also collects the Buckland Fire District real estate and personal property taxes. Payment for these should be made payable to the Buckland Fire District.

Note: Some properties in Buckland may also receive Shelburne Falls Fire District tax bills and water bills but these bills are issued and collected by the Shelburne Falls Fire District (413-625-6392) and their office is located at the fire station at 121 State Street.

Need to pay a past due excise bill with Jeffery & Jeffery?  You can do so online at jefferyandjeffery.com

Assessors property record cards and tax maps can now be found online at Assessors Property Information

Frequently Asked Questions

REAL ESTATE TAXES

When are real estate tax bills mailed and payments due?

Tax bills are mailed three times a year – the 1st and 2nd quarter bills are mailed together by July 1st and are due August 1st and November 1st; the 3rd quarter bill is mailed by January 1st and due February 1st; and the 4th quarter bill is mailed by April 1st and due May 1st. If the due date falls on a weekend, the bills are due the following Monday.

The tax bills are based on a fiscal year which runs from July 1 through June 30.

Where should I mail my real estate tax payment?

Please mail payment to:
Town of Buckland
c/o Tax Collector
17 State Street
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Please make checks payable to the Town of Buckland. For proper crediting enclose the upper portion of your tax bill retaining the lower section for your personal tax records. Failure to include the remit portion may result the payment being incorrectly posted or returned to you.

To obtain a receipt, enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope and the entire bill with your payment. The taxpayer copy will be returned.

Your payment will be considered late if not received in the Collector’s office by the due date.

What methods can I use to pay my bills?

You can mail your check and payment coupon to Town of Buckland, c/o Tax Collector, 17 State Street, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370.

Credit card and electronic check payments can be made at UniPay Gold  Please process your payment at least 2 days before the due date or your payment may be received late.
You can bring your payment directly to the Collector’s Office, which is always required if you are paying in cash.

If you are currently using your bank’s online payment service to pay a Town of Buckland bill, please be sure to include the following information when making payment and allow adequate time for your payment to be received before the due date as your bank mails a paper check that may take 5 days to be received:

Real Estate, Parcel ID, tax year and bill number
Personal Property, bill number and tax year
Sewer use and account number
Excise, bill number and tax year

Failure to adequately identify the bill or bills to be paid when using your bank’s online payment service may result in the check being returned to you.

What should I do in the event I do not receive my bill?

Please make sure to provide the Board of Assessors with your current mailing address. Call the Collector’s office at 413-625-9474 to obtain a copy of the bill.

If you are a new property owner and have not received your tax bill from the previous owner, you can contact the Collector’s Office for a duplicate copy.

New tax bill mailing address?

If you have a new address and want your bill mailed there as a permanent change, contact the Board of Assessor’s Office.

What happens if I do not pay my tax bill on time?

Tax payments must be received on or before the due date to avoid interest charges. If payment is not made within 30 days of the original date of mailing, the account will begin to accrue interest at the rate of 14% per annum, computed from the date the bill was due. A demand notice will be sent and a demand fee of $10.00 is charged against the account. If the account remains outstanding 14 days after the issuance of the demand notice tax title procedures are started.

Please note that demand notices are sent only after the fourth quarter bill cycle closes.

What do I need to do if my mortgage company pays my taxes?

If a bank or mortgage company escrows your taxes, it is your responsibility to make sure that they make timely payments. By law tax bills are mailed to the property owner. Check with your bank or mortgage company to find out how they obtain tax information. Some companies require the homeowner to mail in a copy of their bill, others obtain the information directly from the Collector’s Office. If your mortgage company requires you to mail them your bill you should keep a copy for your personal tax records.

Why should I pay interest on a late payment when I never received my tax bill?

Under state law, failure to receive a bill does not affect the validity of the tax or any interest or fines incurred due to late payment(s).

It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to secure his/her tax bill when one is not received. You can request tax information by calling the Collector’s Office at 413-625-9474. However, you must call before the due date of the bill to avoid late fees.

How can I change the tax bill to my name after purchasing property?

The Assessor’s Office is required by Massachusetts General Law to bill the assessed owner as of January 1, therefore, any transfer between January 2nd and December 31st will not be reflected on any tax bills until the following July 1st. If after the passage of time, the name still is not changed on the bill, please contact the Board of Assessor’s Office at 413-625-2335. The only way to change a name on a property tax bill is to either record a new deed or to provide the Assessors office with a probated will.

You can change your tax bill address however, by notifying the Assessor’s Office of your new address.

What should I do if I recently sold my property but I am still receiving a tax bill?
If you receive a bill, please forward it to the new owner or return it to the Collector’s Office immediately.

PERSONAL PROPERTY TAXES

What is personal property?

Personal property is all tangible property other than real property, including, but not limited to: business equipment, office machinery, inventory, furniture and fixtures. For more information please contact the Buckland Board of Assessors Office at 413-625-2335.

When are tax bills mailed and payment due?

Personal Property tax bills are mailed quarterly at the same time as real estate bills. The quarterly tax payments are due on the following dates: August 1st, November 1st, February 1st and May 1st. If the due date falls on a weekend, the bills are due the following Monday.

Where do I file for an abatement or exemption on real estate and/or personal property taxes?

All abatement and exemption information can be obtained from the Board of Assessor’s Office.

MOTOR VEHICLE EXCISE TAXES

What is a motor vehicle excise tax?

It is an annual tax for the privilege of registration. Every motor vehicle and trailer registered in Massachusetts is subject to excise tax unless expressly exempted. Registering a motor vehicle automatically triggers an excise tax. The city or town where the vehicle is principally garaged levies the excise annually. The Registry of Motor Vehicles prepares data for excise bills according to the information on the motor vehicle registration and sends it to the City or Town. Cities and Towns then prepare bills based on the excise data provided by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Additional information regarding excise taxes may be obtain on the web site of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Citizens Information Service

Who must pay excise tax?

Excise is assessed to anyone with Massachusetts’ license plates.

What is the rate?

The rate is $25.00 per thousand. This is the standard for the entire Commonwealth. The valuation is based on the rates set by the state and are assessed according to manufacture’s list price. For more information on assessed value, contact the Assessor’s office at 413-625-2335.

When is payment due?

Payment is due within 30 days from the date of issue. A person who does not receive a bill is still liable for the excise tax. Therefore, it is important to keep the Registry of Motor Vehiclesand the Post Office informed of current name and address so that the excise tax bill can be delivered promptly. Please don't ignore any excise bills you receive even if you think it has been issued in error.

What happens if my payment is late?

If an excise is not paid within 30 days from the date of issue a demand bill is sent. The charge for a demand bill is $10.00. Interest accrues on the overdue bill from the day after the due date until payment is received. The interest rate on excise is 12%. If the demand bill is not paid within 14 days, the collector may issue a warrant to the deputy tax collector. The deputy tax collector sends the warrant notice to the taxpayer with an additional fee of $12.00. If payment is still not received, the deputy will deliver a service warrant with an additional fee of $17.00. All bills will clearly state the interest and penalty charges.

Never ignore an excise bill. Bills must be paid or abated in full to avoid additional charges. If you no longer own a vehicle or think you may be entitled to an adjustment, you should contact the Assessor’s Office at 413-625-2335 for further information. Filing for an abatement does not alter the due date or the resulting schedule of fees and interest.

How does non-payment of excise affect my license and registration?

If the service warrant demanding final payment is not paid, the deputy collector may then notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles of such non-payment. The Registry will then mark the individual’s registration preventing the renewal of the motor vehicle registration and the owner’s driver license. The taxpayer will then be assessed a $20.00 mark fee in addition to all other penalties and interest. Payments on marked bills can be made at the deputy collector’s office or the collector’s office. If paid with cash or a money order the deputy collector will clear the bill at the registry immediately upon payment. If paid with a personal check, there is a three week waiting period before the mark will be cleared. Please note that if more than one excise bill is due all must be paid in order to have the mark cleared.

What should I do if I have moved out of Buckland, out of Massachusetts or if I no longer own the car?

Make sure you have notified the Registry of Motor Vehicles of your current address and contact the Board of Assessor’s Office at 413-625-2335 if you believe that you do not owe this excise. Please don't ignore any excise bills.

Buckland sent me an excise tax bill but I don’t live in Buckland, What should I do?
Contact the Board of Assessor’s at 413-625-2335 and verify with the Registry of Motor Vehicles that your correct residential address is on file.

SEWER USE FEE

Who is subject to sewer use fees?

All users, abutters and owners of developed property which are directly served by a public sewer are subject to a sewer fee.

How often are sewer bills issued?

Sewer bills are issued once a year. Currently there is no set date that the bills are mail.

What time period do the bills cover?

Sewer bills are based on a fiscal year – July 1 to June 30.

What is the abatement process for sewer bills?

Requests must be made in writing on an approved form obtained from the Collector’s or Selectboard’s Office, within 30 days of the date of billing. The forms should be completed and filed at the Selectboard’s Office. The Selectboard, as Sewer Commissioners, have the authority to approve or deny sewer abatements.

What happens if I do not pay my sewer bill?

Whenever a sewer bill remains outstanding after 30 days from a billing date, a penalty shall be assessed in a percentage not to exceed the interest and penalty permitted to be charged on delinquent real estate taxes.

If a sewer bill is not paid by the third quarter of the following fiscal year a lien will be issued against the real estate.

Who is responsible for payment of sewer bills?

The owner of the property will be responsible for all sewer use fees. Sewer fees and charges not paid on or before their established due date become a lien upon the applicable real estate on the day immediately following the due day of such fees, pursuant to the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 83, Section 16 through 16F inclusive. Failure of owner to receive bill does not relieve said owner from the obligation at any time. Change of ownership information should be furnished immediately to the Tax Collector’s Office.

TAX TITLE

What is a Tax Title?

If the account remains delinquent after June 30th of the fiscal year, a tax lien (a legal claim placed on property for debt) is placed on the property and is recorded with the Franklin County Registry of Deeds. In addition, the property is placed in the tax title system. A tax lien is the first step in the foreclosure process. All taxes, costs and interest must be paid to prevent foreclosure. Before a tax lien is placed on a property, the homeowner is notified by letter and given time to bring the taxes to a current status. An advertising in the local newspaper is also part of the tax lien process.

Once the tax title lien has been recorded at the Registry the account is turned over to the Town Treasurer for collection. The property owner is again given an opportunity to pay the past due taxes and fees (redeem). If the property owner does not redeem the property in a timely manner the Treasurer may begin foreclosure proceedings in Land Court.

MUNICIPAL LIEN CERTIFICATES

What is a municipal lien certificate?

A municipal lien certificate (MLC) is a legal document that lists all taxes, assessments, sewer, trash, water and electric charges owed on a property. These documents are usually requested by law offices in preparation of a refinance or sale of a property.

How do I get a municipal lien certificate?

A request in writing should be sent to the Collector’s Office. Each request should include the property address, map and parcel ID number for the property (which can be obtained at the Assessor’s Office) and a self-addressed stamped envelope. The fee for each certificate is $25.00. This applies to both residential and commercial properties. If a property has more than one parcel of land, a certificate must be ordered for each parcel. By law the Collector’s Office has ten days to furnish a completed MLC to the applicant. Although the certificates are usually prepared within 3 to 4 business days, depending on how involved the request is and on peak collection times in the collector’s office, we advise that you allow 10 days when making a request.