Property Tax Rate Factors

Property Tax Rate Factors
3 factors determine the property tax rate:
  • The property tax levy
  • The total assessed value of the community
  • Classification
Property Tax Levy
Tax Levy
The tax levy is the amount of money to be raised by the property tax.  Each year the amount to be raised is determined in accordance with the provisions of proposition
2 ½. The levy limit in any given year is computed by taking the total maximum allowable levy of the previous year increased by 2.5%, plus allowances for new growth, overrides, and debt exclusions.

New Growth
New growth is based on the increased value of new developments, additions, renovations, and other growth in the tax base that is not the result of changes in market conditions. New growth is also the tax on any property that is taxable for the first time, such as a formerly exempt property becoming taxable or a business moving into Brookline with taxable machinery and equipment.

An exclusion is that amount of money needed to pay the principal and interest on debt incurred for special projects approved by referendum for exclusion from Proposition 2 ½ limits. The high school renovation and the construction of a new Lincoln School are the only current projects so excluded.

Determining the Tax Rate
The tax rate is calculated by dividing the total amount to be raised by the total assessed of all taxable property. Tax Rate = Tax Levy / Total Assessed Value

This rate is expressed in terms of dollars per $1,000. For example if a home is assessed for $1,000,000 and the tax rate is $10, the tax bill (before exemptions) would be computed as follows: $1,000,000 x $10 / $1,000 = $10,000

Classified Tax Rate
Brookline has historically adopted a split tax rate, or classified tax rate, which shifts the total tax levy between major property classes, residential and commercial. In FY 2015, the selected residential factor is 0.919082, or a commercial factor of 1.715. The corresponding tax rates were: $10.68 for residential and $17.39 for commercial.

Adopting a New Tax Rate
The Board of Selectmen must vote annually following a tax classification hearing whether to adopted a classified rate and the amount of the tax levy shift. The amount to be raised through taxation is determined by the town meeting during budget deliberations.