Boston reports $6.35M in unpaid property taxes as Mayor Wu pushes commercial rate increase

Projected budgetary woes in Boston that led Mayor Michelle Wu to roll out a proposal to increase property taxes on businesses beyond the state limit are not driven by unpaid real estate taxes, given city data that shows a 99% collection rate.

Unlike its Big Apple counterpart in New York City, which per a Bloomberg report is forecasted to see overdue property taxes surge to their highest level ever, to more than $880 million by the end of the current fiscal year in June, Boston’s unpaid real estate taxes stand at just $6.35 million in FY23, according to city data.

“For context,” the mayor’s office said in an email that accompanied the data, “the FY23 property tax revenue budget is nearly $3 billion. Outstanding collections of $6.4 million is 0.2% of the overall property tax revenue.”

The data provided is a snapshot of three years’ worth of unpaid property taxes owed to the city, also referred to as “current tax liens.”

While the numbers are comparatively low to what New York is grappling with, the data does show a year-over-year increase in unpaid property taxes in Boston from 2021 to 2023, the years each tax lien was filed at the Registry of Deeds.

Unpaid property taxes totaled just over $6 million in 2022, and roughly $5.67 million in 2021, meaning overdue taxes increased by 4.9% from 2022 to 2023, and nearly 12% from 2021 to 2023, the data show.

The city boasts that its “extremely high” collection rate is due to a “proactive approach of continuously reaching out to taxpayers.”

Overdue property taxes are noticed many times throughout the year, the mayor’s office said, including demands and warrants according to state law.

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