TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Assessors Grapple With Tax Change

Assessors Grapple With Tax Change

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 9 Jul 2006 03:36:08 -0400

Assessors grapple with tax change: Communications gear owned by
wireless companies now require local valuations
By John Hilliard/ Daily News Staff

It won't be a slow summer for local assessors, as officials scramble
to prepare tax valuations for the communications gear owned by
wireless companies.

"It's one more thing -- on top of everything else -- that we're
dealing with," said Bob Bushway, Hopkinton's principal assessor. "It
definitely has been a burden to all the cities and towns, as far as
I'm concerned."

In May, the state Appellate Tax Board ended state-controlled tax
valuation of wireless companies' equipment and stripped them of a
status that blocked collecting taxes on most wireless communication

Previously, the state Department of Revenue issued valuations for
applicable wireless equipment across Massachusetts. While the DOR
issued similar valuations for fiscal 2007, communities are not bound
to use those figures. Tax Board Commissioner Frank Scharaffa has said
the decision could be appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court. Last
year, the town earned about $163,000 in taxes -- based on DOR
valuations -- from wireless firms in town, said Bushway. He said 11
wireless companies have located operations inside Hopkinton. The town
has requested information on company equipment located within its
borders, but he did not believe the town is guaranteed extra tax
dollars from wireless companies.

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