[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Assessors of the Town of South Hadley 10-23-2017. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Assessors value land based on its configuration as of January 1 for the fiscal year starting on the next July 1.
Plans are approved and/or endorsed by the Planning Board throughout the year. These are for the ensuing fiscal year.
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue publishes an instruction manual which provides guidance on procedures to value lot splits and subdivisions. These instructions state that Assessors may assess as separate lots contiguous land described in one or more deeds and owned by the same person based on the division of the land shown on a subdivision plan approved by the Planning Board or a plan endorsed by the Board as not requiring subdivision approval [an Approval Not Required (ANR) plan]. This avoids having to apportion the tax and liens if the owner of the land sells any of the lots. While better practice is to rely on recorded plans, Assessors may rely on any approved or endorsed plan, even if not recorded by January 1.
Also, pursuant to Boston v. Boston Port Development Q., 308 Mass. 72 (1941), the Assessors made their assessment in accordance with a plan in their files which had not been recorded as of the assessment date. The Supreme Judicial Court upheld the assessments. Relying on Boston Port, we think that when a subdivision plan has been approved by the Planning Board, the Assessors may assess the land as individual parcels even if the plan has not been recorded as of the applicable January 1.
Based on the above-stated sources, the Assessors in the Town of South Hadley will create separate lots when a plan is endorsed or approved by the Planning Board, whether or not the plan is recorded with the Registry of Deeds. These lots will be separately assessed as of the applicable January 1.