What is the 4% levy cap and how does that affect my tax bill?

Rhode Island General Law 44-5-2 limits the maximum increase in the tax levy each year. The tax levy is the total tax expected to be collected from all tax classes.  This includes all real estate (residential, commercial, and industrial), motor vehicle excise tax, and business personal property tax.  The statute prohibits the total levy from exceeding a 4% increase over the levy from the prior year.  This law is sometimes misunderstood to mean that an individual tax bill cannot increase 4% from the prior year; however, that is not the case.

Although the total levy is limited to a maximum increase of 4%, individual property values will fluctuate. During a revaluation some properties will change more or change less than others. If your property value increases more than the average or decreases less than the average, your tax bill will increase more than some other properties.  It is also possible to see your bill increase less than others if your property value increases less than the average or decreases more than the average.  Each year, after the tax roll is certified, the levy certification will be posted online and is also available at the Assessor’s Office in City Hall.