Opinion

About that homeowner tax relief

Good news for Maine homeowners: if you received a homestead exemption for your April 1, 2019, Maine residence then you can expect to receive a check sometime in February 2020. 

This comes courtesy of a new tax relief program that began in 2019, established by P.L. 2019 Chapter 445, as proposed in LD 1713 “An Act to Return Funds to Maine Property Tax Payers”. This legislation requires the Maine Office of the State Treasurer to provide a tax relief payment to qualifying homesteads when the Property Tax Relief Fund reaches a threshold of funding to support such payments when the available funds divided by the number of homesteads is enough to provide a payment of no less than $100 per homestead. The program is administered by the State Treasurer with information provided by municipal assessors.

More information can be found online at: http://www.maine.gov/treasurer/property_tax_relief/index.html.

Since it is the responsibility of the assessor in each community to supply complete and accurate information, please contact your local town or city office to confirm that your name and address on file is correct. This is most important for homeowners who may have moved since April 1, 2019. Only the assessor may update the information with the Office of the State Treasurer and any incorrect information will delay your tax relief payment. Assessors are preparing the lists now, so please call as soon as possible.

Additionally, if you have moved from the residence you occupied as a homestead eligible property on April 1, 2019, please contact your local assessor about applying for a homestead exemption at your new address. The Homestead Exemption increases to an exemption of $25,000 of property value in 2020. Furthermore, if the threshold for the Property Tax Relief Fund is reached again in 2020, it will trigger another tax relief payment for qualifying homesteads.

If you have any questions, call your local municipal office. The State of Maine reimburses the municipality for a portion of the revenue lost by administering these exemptions each year. The form are the same for every municipality in Maine and can be downloaded at the Maine Revenue Services website: 

https://www1.maine.gov/revenue/forms/property/apps/homesteadapp.pdf.

Taxpayers in the City of Caribou are encouraged to contact me at (207) 493-5961 (direct line) or e-mail: pthompson@cariboumaine.org prior to Nov. 22.  If your call goes to voice mail, please leave a message.

Penny Thompson is Caribou’s tax assessor and building official. She can be reached at 493-5961 or pthompson@cariboumaine.org.

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