From Augusta – Property Tax Deferral Application
As your state senator, standing up for children, the elderly, and veterans is a priority for me and will continue to be during this legislative session. In this update, I will focus on Maine’s seniors, especially those struggling to pay ever-increasing property taxes. Two factors contribute to this problem.
First, property values are skyrocketing, as we saw with the recent revaluation in South Portland.
Second, many older people live on fixed, stable incomes like retirement savings and social security, even as other expenses increase. In fact, 56.4 percent of Maine seniors who receive Social Security payments receive — on average — $11,964 a year, or less than $1,000 a month.
Given these challenges, I was proud to support the successful efforts of my colleague, Senator Donna Bailey, to revive the state’s Property Tax Deferral Program to provide property tax relief. eligible seniors. While this program will not solve the problem of affordable housing for all Maine seniors, I am confident that it will ease the property tax burden for those who qualify. Here is an overview of the program to help you decide if you could benefit from the program or if you want to pass this information on to a friend or family member.
First, you might ask: what is the state property tax deferral program?
This is a program that allows certain individuals to defer the payment of property taxes on their properties. When a property owner participates in the program, the state pays property taxes to the town or city on behalf of the property owner. This way, the city or town can have stable tax revenue, and participating homeowners can have money in their pockets for food, medicine, and other needs.
Because the program is similar to an outstanding loan, the state places a lien on the farm as security for the property taxes paid, plus interest. When the owner dies, moves, sells the property, or moves the dwelling (such as a mobile or floating home) out of Maine, the deferred tax and lien interest will be refunded to the state by the individual or their estate. In this way, the program is maintained.
Then you might ask yourself: Who is eligible for the program?
Applicant must be at least 65 years of age or unable to work due to disability. Additionally, they must have an income of less than $40,000 and liquid assets of less than $50,000 (or $75,000 for a joint application). For applicants with disabilities, the applicant must have been determined by a state or federal government agency to have a permanent and total impairment or condition that prevents employment. Finally, since the goal is to keep seniors in their homes and communities, the applicant must own and occupy the property as their primary residence and receive a homeownership exemption on the property.
I hope your last questions are: how to apply?
To apply, please contact your local municipal assessor between January 1 and April 1, 2022. Their contact information is: South Portland Assessor, 207-767-7604; Cape Elizabeth Assessor, 207-799-1619; and Scarborough Assessor, 207-730-4060.
The online application is available at www.maine.gov/revenue/tax-return-forms-property-tax. The assessor will certify certain information and then send the application to Maine Tax Services for final review. If Maine Revenue Services denies the request, you may file an appeal of the denial with the State Board of Property Tax Review within 30 days of receiving the notice.
If you have any questions, please contact the Property Tax Division at 207-624-5600 or email [email protected] As always, you can also contact me if you need help at 207-287-1515 or [email protected]
Anne Carney represents Maine’s Senate District 29, which includes Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and part of Scarborough.
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