Community Preservation Act (CPA) Information

CPA surcharge begins in Fiscal Year 2020

Community Preservation Act (CPA) Information

CPA surcharge begins in Fiscal Year 2020


Berlin’s Fiscal Year 2020 property tax bills include a 3% property tax surcharge for the Town’s share of the newly established Community Preservation Fund. Berlin’s contributions will be matched by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts according to distribution formulas and availability of program revenues to fund land and historic preservation, community housing and recreation projects in Berlin.

The Community Preservation Act was established by the Massachusetts legislature and signed by the Governor in September, 2000.
Berlin voters accepted the Act at the May 7, 2018 Annual Town Meeting, and subsequently ratified local acceptance of the Act by ballot vote at the November 6, 2018 State Election.

A bylaw establishing Berlin’s Community Preservation Committee was approved at the May 9, 2019 Annual Town Meeting. The Town is currently awaiting the Attorney General’s approval of the bylaw. Once established, the Community Preservation Committee will be responsible for developing a community preservation plan, reviewing and recommending community preservation projects, and keeping records and reporting on the community preservation budget.
Description and Purposes:

The Act establishes a local Community Preservation Fund that is funded by property tax surcharges and matching revenues from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These funding sources can be used by the Town to address core community concerns:
• Protect farm land and forests from future development
• Acquire and preserve land for conservation and recreation
• Restore and preserve historic properties
• Help meet local families’ housing needs

The Act requires at least 10% of the monies raised to be distributed to each of three primary categories:
1. Open space (excluding recreational purposes),
2. Historic preservation, and
3. Community housing

The remaining 70% of funds may be allocated to any one or a combination of the primary categories, including public recreational purposes, at the discretion of the Community Preservation Committee and subject to the approval of Town Meeting. Up to 5% can also be spent on administrative needs of the Community Preservation Committee.

Berlin’s acceptance of the Act includes a 3% property tax surcharge, and exempts property owned and occupied as a domicile by any person who qualifies for low income housing or low or moderate income senior housing in the Town, $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of residential real property, and $100,000 of the value of each taxable parcel of class three commercial property, and class four industrial property.
Community Preservation Act exemption applications are available at the Assessor’s office and from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts here.  



The Town of Berlin voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA) to begin in Fiscal Year 2020. This law requires the Town to place a 3% property tax surcharge on each parcel of taxable real estate. The surcharge will fund the acquisition and preservation of land, historic resources and community housing.
See below for an example of the tax and surcharge calculations.

You may be eligible for an additional exemption if you meet the criteria listed below as of January 1, 2019

1. Senior households with an owner 60 years or older, that qualify as low or moderate income, are totally exempt. The maximum net income after allowable deductions is

$57,100 for a single person and $65,300 for a two-person household. Additional household member incomes must also be included.
1 Person: $ 81,340
4 Persons: $ 116,200
7 Persons: $ 144,088
2 Persons: $ 92,960
5 Persons: $ 125,496
8 Persons: $ 153,384
3 Persons: $ 104,580
6 Persons: $ 134,792

2. Other households with an owner who qualifies as low income may be eligible for an exemption. The low-income household limits are as follows:

1 Person: $ 65,672
4 Persons: $ 92,960
7 Persons: $ 115,200
2 Persons: $ 74,368
5 Persons: $ 100,397
8 Persons: $ 122,707
3 Persons: $ 83,664
6 Persons: $ 107,834

Applications for this exemption must be filed annually, by April 1, or 30 days after the first actual tax bill was mailed. C.P.A. exemption applications are available at the Assessor’s Office.
Questions should be directed to the Assessor’s Office at (978) 838-2256.
Office hours at Monday through Thursday 9 am – 1:00 pm

Insert from upcoming tax bill  mailing here.

CPA (Community Preservation Act) Exemption application forms are accessible at the Assessors Office, or download a copy of the form here.