The common level of appraisal is used to equalize education taxes statewide—to ensure that properties of equal value pay equal taxes. It wouldn’t be fair to use the locally established values and the same tax rate in every town. If your town had just reappraised, you would pay at a higher rate than the owner of a property worth the same amount in a town that hadn’t reappraised in a few years.
Let’s say you have a camp in East Overshoe that is worth $100,000. Your listers did a complete reappraisal for tax year 2005 and they’ve assessed you at $100,000.
There’s a camp across the town line in West Overshoe that is also worth $100,000. The Town of West Overshoe is planning to reappraise for tax year 2006, but for tax year 2005 that camp is assessed at $85,000.
It wouldn’t be fair if you were taxed at the same $1.51 rate. You would pay $1,510.00. Your West Overshoe neighbor would pay $1,283.50.
Rather than thinking of the CLA as adjusting the tax rate, think of it as adjusting the listed value of the property to fair market value. The West Overshoe camp is adjusted by the common level of appraisal to bring its listed value into line with the market.
$85,000 / .85 = $100,000
The adjustment by the CLA means you and your neighbor in the next town pay the same amount of education tax on properties of equal value.