Skip to main content

2100. Assessing Department

 Record Group
Identifier: 2100
Section 15 of Chapter 110 of the Acts of 1821, “An Act Establishing the City of Boston,” provided the City Council with the power to assess taxes. The same section provided for the election by the City Council, Mayor and Alderman, or by the citizens of Assessors and Assistant Assessors. Prior to 1854, the Assessors were located within the Treasury Department. Assessors, as well as, Assistant Assessors were chosen by concurrent vote of the City Council until 1885. In 1885, the power to appoint Assessors was transferred to the Mayor subject to confirmation by the Board of Aldermen. Chapter 93 of the Special Acts of 1918 reorganized the Assessing Department and created a Board of three Assessors appointed by the Mayor and subject to his removal. The Assessing Department operates under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Assessing and is divided into three programs: Tax Administration, Valuation, and Abatement. The Department determines the fair cash value and classification of all real and personal property located in the city. The department maintains official maps, property description data, ownership records and assessment, abatement and exemption records.

Found in 26 Collections and/or Records:


Identifier: 2100.005
Scope and Contents

Records of abatement of real estate, personal estate and poll taxes. The majority of the volumes are registers including names, assessed amounts, amount abated, and reason for the abatement. Also includes certificates of abatement, applications and petitions.

Dates: 1819-2019

Applications for exemptions

 Series — Box 1: [Barcode: 00003216]
Identifier: 2100.012
Scope and Contents

Applications for exemptions from taxes completed by individuals.

Dates: circa 1911-1921

Assessing Department administrative records

 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 2100.027
Dates: 1900-1903

Assessing Department annual reports and publications

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2100.022
Scope and Contents Includes copies of Annual Reports of the Assessing Department for the years 1894, 1921, 1923-1924, 1926-1937, 1941, 1943, 1945, 1973-1977, 1981, 1983, 1988-1992 and 1994-1995; List of Persons, Copartnerships and Corporations Who were Taxed Twenty-five Dollars and Upwards in the City of Boston in 1838; List of Persons, Copartnerships and Corporations Who were Taxed Twenty-five Dollars and Upwards in the City of Boston in 1842; Boston's Tax Rate for 1926; Rules of Procedure in the Abatement of...
Dates: 1838-1989 with gaps

Assessing Department correspondence

 Series — Volumes 1-5
Identifier: 2100.003
Scope and Contents

Incoming and outgoing correspondence of the Assessing Department. Includes mayoral circulars.

Dates: 1894-1910 with gaps

Assessing Department payroll

 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 2100.021
Scope and Contents

Payroll of the Assessing Department. Includes name, position and pay.

Dates: 1888-1899

Assessing Department photographs

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2100.023
Scope and Contents

Collection of aerial photographs of Boston from 1983.

Dates: 1983

Assessing Department plans

Identifier: 2100.016
Scope and Contents

Large format plans arranged by ward number and block. Includes the block numbers, street names, plot dimensions, and building footprints. These plans were used for reference purposes only.

Dates: circa 1918-1985


 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 2100.015
Scope and Contents

Includes one volume of betterments assessed to properties whose value benefitted from public works projects such as the widening or paving of streets, 1868-1908.

Dates: 1868-1908

Board of Assessors proceedings

Identifier: 2100.001
Scope and Contents

Minutes of the Board of Assessors which record the actions of the Board relating to abatements, exemptions, legal questions, the appointment of assessors, etc. Volumes for 1901-1956 are indexed. The volume for 1928-1929 is missing.

Dates: 1837-1956 with gaps

Board of Street Commissioners notices

Identifier: 2100.007
Scope and Contents

Notices of apportionment and revision of assessments for street improvements, street watering and sewerage works and notices of street improvements.

Dates: circa 1894-1917

Employee indentification badge

Identifier: 2100.024
Scope and Contents

Employee indentification badge of James J. Byrne, Assessing Department with photograph.

Dates: 1958

Foreign shareholders tax books

 Series — Volume 1-4
Identifier: 2100.020
Scope and Contents

Record of taxes assessed on foreign shareholders of banks in Boston. Includes owner, registered, shares, taxable value, total value and tax.

Dates: 1868-1871

Gypsy Moth assessments

 Series — Volumes 1-7
Identifier: 2100.008
Scope and Contents

Records documenting the assessment for the suppression of gypsy moths. Arranged by street these volumes contain the address, name of resident, date summons was mailed, the amount of tax and the date paid of assessments for work done toward the eradication of gypsy moths. Also includes recommendations from the Parks Commissioner and Department of Public Grounds for abatement of assessments for the suppression of gypsy and brown tail moths.

Dates: 1902-1912

Lists of exempt property valuations

Identifier: 2100.011
Scope and Contents

Lists of exempt properties arranged by clause and by ward/parcel. Exempt properties include properties owned by the City, State, or Federal government or various charitable and religious organizations. These volumes list the addresses, owners of the property and the valuation.

Dates: 1935-1985 with gaps

Lists of women returned by the Assessors

 Series — Volumes 1-80
Identifier: 2100.006
Scope and Contents

Lists of women's names and addresses arranged by ward and precinct.

Dates: circa 1880-1890

Notices of change of domicile

Identifier: 2100.025
Scope and Contents

Correspondence to the Assessors from residents notifying them of changes in domicile.

Dates: circa 1867-1872, 1906-1917 with gaps

Proceedings of Dooming Board

Identifier: 2100.002
Scope and Contents

Minutes of the Dooming Board for the years 1869-1901, 1946-1947 and 1949-1950. Includes the individual or company being assessed a tax on their personal property, the original assessment, and the revised assessment.

Dates: 1865-1901, 1946-1950

Real estate, personal estate and poll tax records

Identifier: 2100.004
Scope and Contents note

Records of taxes assessed for real estate, personal estate and poll taxes. Includes real estate valuations, 1822-1973; personal estate valuations, 1822-1985; and poll tax assessments, circa 1822-1963. The assessment of poll taxes was abolished in 1963.

Dates: 1822-1985

Record of trustees

 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 2100.010
Scope and Contents

Includes a list of trustees and their addresses, who or what they were trustees of, their address, and the value of and items held in trust.

Dates: 1920

Returns of corporations

 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 2100.018
Scope and Contents

In accordance with Chapter 283 of the Acts of 1865, the Assessors made returns of corporations located in the City of Boston or owning real estate in the City of Boston with a statement in detail of the value of works, structures, real estate and machinery and amount of taxes assessed. Includes one volume of returns for 1865-1875.

Dates: 1865-1875

Schedule of trusts

 Series — Volume 1-4
Identifier: 2100.009
Scope and Contents

Volumes containing forms recording the names and addresses of Trustees, Guardians or Executors, and the name of the trust. Includes value of money, interests, and debts owed to the trust; cash on hand; annuities, vessels and parts of vessels, horses and vehicles, furniture exceeding $1000 value; shares in banks; public stocks, railroad bonds, and securities; and other personal property.

Dates: 1868-1870

Scrapbook of advertisements of property auctions and sales

 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 2100.014
Scope and Contents

Scrapbook of George A. Comins, Real Estate and Mortgage Broker of news clippings of property auctions and sales. Includes some mentions of the "Burnt District".

Dates: 1872

Stock book

 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 2100.019
Scope and Contents

One volume labeled "Stock Book" which lists names, number of shares, company and cash value.

Dates: 1857

Surveyor plans

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2100.017
Scope and Contents

In November of 1876, the Board of Assessors requested an appropriation of $1500 for the purpose of causing the preparation of a set of reduced copies, on tracing cloth, of surveyors' plans of estates, to be used in street and office work in the Assessors' Department. Includes copies of surveyor plans, arranged by neighborhood, which were drawn circa 1856-1877.

Dates: 1877

Veterans' applications for exemptions

 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 2100.013
Scope and Contents

Under Chapter 12 of the Acts of 1943, individuals serving in the military could apply for a temporary exemption from real and personal estate taxes. Includes one volume of applications for exemption from 1944-1947.

Dates: 1944-1947