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Woman, 88, says she overpaid land taxes since 1970

By: AP
By: AP

AGAWAM, Mass. (AP) -- An 88-year-old Massachusetts woman wants a refund after learning that she's been paying taxes for nearly four decades on land she doesn't own. Valeria Novak, of Agawam, says the amount she has overpaid since 1970 probably totals less than $2,000. Nonetheless, she feels she deserves an abatement because it was the city's mistake.

Agawam Assessor Kevin Baldini told the Republican newspaper of Springfield that he feels bad for Novak, but state law does not allow for tax refunds going back that far.

The mistake was discovered when Novak went to City Hall to clear up a question about a neighbor's property. She was shown a map indicating that her Main Street home had been assessed for 8,000 square feet more than she actually owned.

Novak said she'd love to get the money back so she can spend it on her seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.


Information from: The Springfield Republican,

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