If you are in Boston, call city tax collector to find out status of taxes, or look at info online on the city's website, if it has that info. Check online with Suffolk County Registry of Deeds. Do a search under your father's name, under recorded land, as a grantee. You'll find the deed to him - narrow the search if you know the year he purchased it. If not there, then do the same search under registered land, and you'll likely find the deed and certificate of title there, and you'll then know if recorded or registered. The Boston assessor's office should also have a deed reference in its records. If a book & page number, it's recorded. If its a certificate of title or di=ocument number, it's registered land.
To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.
The tax records for real estate in most municipalities is publicly available. You don't say where the property is, but a web search for the county may be a starting point for real estate tax balances. For Boston, see the link below. Also, there is typically a public records or deed recording office in every county which has deed and mortgage filings publicly available.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/
You should contact the tax department (often referred to as the treasurer or collector's office) for the municipality where the property is located. They may be able to give you an informal, oral statement of whether taxes are outstanding for the property, although not all municipalities are willng to do so. For a more formal statement, you would request a document called a Municipal Lien Certificate, which is a legal document listing any outstanding taxes and assessments for a property. You will need to pay a fee for Municipal Lien Certificate (typically about $25-$50).