The property is wealth. It has value.
There are ways, such as the circuitbreaker program, to address those who will really be forced out of their homes by property taxes.
Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent "Circuit Breaker" Refund
Summary of the Program Beginning August 1, 2010 for Refunds of Property Tax Assessed and Rent Paid During 2009. (Note: The program to apply for refunds of property tax assessed and/or rent paid during 2009 begins August 1, 2010.)
Nearly 200,000 Maine households qualify for a partial refund of property tax assessed and/or rent they paid in 2009. The maximum refund available is $1,600.Maine.gov
•Available beginning August 2, 2010 I-file your application for the Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Refund program. Circuit Breaker
Thanks. I'm going to apply for that one.
What are other good ways to save on Maine taxes?
Anyone apply for the Homestead Exemption? How much did it help?
The first $10,000 of value is exempt from taxation under the homestead exemption.
To Dan Billings comment:
Yarmouth is the poster child for local control of its schools.
Yet Yarmouth teachers agreed to a pay freeze.
Yarmouth residents send mucho bucks to Augusta for redistribution to other school districts.
I say no more authority to the state to take our money and control our schools.
Dan, so if your property tax rate is $15 per thousand, you save $150 just by submitting a piece of paper?
Pretty much, though the numbers are adjusted by the percentage your town's local valuation is of the state valuation. So if the local ration is 80%, you will save 80% of that amount.
mainemom: The people who spend the money need to raise the money. The mixed system we have now leads to higher costs and no accountability. If the locals are going to decide how the money is spent, the locals need to raise the taxes that they are spending. As long as people are going to look to the state for funding, the state needs to control the spending as well.
IMO, we are forced to look to the state to get some of our money back. How do we change that?
Most towns are already signed up for the Homestead Exemption, so check your tax bill to see if your town is giving you the exemption. On my bill, it's listed under "Current Billing Information," after "Land Value" and "Building Value." Once your town has signed up, it's not necessary for you to file the paperwork, except if you purchase a new home in the same town... you can only take the exemption on one property, so you would have to choose one.
Other notes on the Homestead Exemption - the amount your town can deduct may fluctuate. As I understand it, the total amount can be as much as $13K, depending upon your town's current state valuation ratio. If your town hasn't done a reval for a while, you may be getting a lesser exemption, due to the state rules.
For instance, in FY 2004, Kennebunk's Homestead Exemption was down to $4K per year, because Kennebunk hadn't done a reval in so many years (25, to be exact). Then, following the reval in 2004, the Homestead Exemption amount went up to $11,400. per year. Right now, Kennebunk's Homestead Exemption rate is $10,100. The rules are explained in a section of the link at the bottom of this page.
There are other exemptions if you qualify, including one for veterans, one for their widows, and one for the blind.
Here's the language from the state website, and the link:
[u]Property Tax Exemptions[/u]
Certain classes of property are tax exempt by law.
Fully exempt property tax may include real estate or personal property owned by governmental entities, school systems, and other institutions.
Partially exempt property tax relates to the following categories:
[u]Homestead Exemption[/u] -This program provides a measure of property tax relief for certain individuals that have owned homestead property in Maine for at least twelve months and make the property they occupy on April first their permanent residence. Property owners would receive an exemption of $10,000.
[u]Veteran Exemption[/u] - A veteran who served during a recognized war period and is 62 years or older; or, is receiving 100% disability as a Veteran; or, became 100% disabled while serving, is eligible for $6,000.
[u]Paraplegic Veteran[/u] - A veteran who received a federal grant for a specially adapted housing unit may receive $50,000.
[u]Blind Exemption[/u] - An individual who is determined to be legally blind receives $4,000.
**Partial exemptions must be adjusted by the municipality's certified assessment ratio.**
All of the above exemptions require completion of an application to the local town office where the property is located. Exemption claims may require additional information to support the claim for exemption, and must be delivered to the Assessor's office no later than April 1 st .
For more information see Title 36 Sections 651 through 684.
The maximum homestead is now $10K. That change went into effect for this year.
You do have to fill out a one-time application to get it.
Dan, thank you for the clarification.
This is a good chance to remind folks - everybody should be familiar with their tax bill, and their property card, which is kept at town hall (or your municipal office). The importance of this cannot be overstated - if you've never seen your property card, you may be paying taxes for a fictitious finished attic, basement, or even a whole room or acreage that doesn't exist. Mistakes on property cards are not uncommon. Over the years, I've known at least three Kennebunk residents who found out they were paying for such things, and they had no idea.
The town is only obligated to refund up to two or three years of the overcharge (plus very modest interest), and in some cases, the property owners had been paying the overages for a lot longer.
So, when you own property, make sure you know the content of your bill, and your property cards. Such things are public, and you can ask to see your own (and anyone else's, for that matter).
I'll agree that anyone who is eligible should take advantage of the program (although only about 1/2 who are eligible actually do) but the circuit breaker program is no where near enough for many.
More Maine towns/cities are facing calls for revals due to the price decreases in real estate.
Yesterday at 12:00 AMAs house values fall, why don't taxes?Whether a property owner is paying his or her fair share can be in the eye of the beholder, leading many Mainers to challenge their property assessments.
By Kelley Bouchard firstname.lastname@example.org
Amirault .... bought ... house last January for $235,000 ... $90,000 below... town's $322,800 assessed value. When Amirault challenged the assessment, Town Assessor... dropped it to $286,100, whittling ... tax bill from $4,173 to $3,695.
.... Falmouth's assessments meet state standards for being close to market value, but to Amirault, the process seems arbitrary and suspect, and his tax bill remains inherently unfair.
"I'm not against paying my fair share," Amirault said. "I just want it to be based on the real value of my property."
[url=http://www.pressherald.com/news/homeowners-ask_2012-01-02.html]Reporter Kelley Bouchard did a good job on this article - nice to see balanced facts presented, for once.[/url]
The year after i was one of the local advocates for the tax cap yes, my home evaluation went UP when it went down for the majority of home owners. There was no apparent reason,no additions,etc., The neighborhood was going down.,homes dont sell for years if at all.
I did have a little chat with a relative about it that is with an agency that has three letters
Did you question the new valuation with the municipality?
Cant really say in public, as well as it would be difficult to prove it was retailation and the cost of a lawyer. Incidently the tax cap signs were vandalized 120 minutes after they went up, in broad daylight. Its all kinda of water under the bridge now.