What is an Abatement?

An abatement is a reduction in a tax rate or tax liability.

How Does an Abatement Work?

Property taxes are a common subject of abatement (though the term is often used when discussing overdue debt). For example, John Doe owns a house and owes $4,000 in property taxes for the year. John's house is very old, and he is able to have it added to the National Register of Historic Places because Thomas Jefferson once slept there. As a result, the county gives him an abatement, reducing his taxes to only $500.

Why Does an Abatement Matter?

Municipalities often grant abatements to incent people to do certain things with property: take action to revitalize a struggling neighborhood, restore a historic place, conserve the natural beauty of land by not building additional structures on it, operate a business or nonprofit organization, or conduct another activity that improves the community as a whole.