Maine Property Taxes
Overview of Maine Property Taxes
Every homeowner in Maine, unless exempted by law, is obligated to pay property taxes on property owned as of April 1 of every year. Maine property taxes are, for the most part, administered by municipalities. They fund local government services like law enforcement, garbage collection, fire department, and public schools. The state and its local governments collect $12 billion in total revenue every year. Of that, $2.8 billion or 23.38% of total revenue collected is from property taxes.
On average, homes in Maine are worth $212,047 with homeowners paying $11.90 for every $1,000 in home value as property taxes. The average Maine property tax bill adds up to $2,524. However, that figure varies from one county to another. For instance, homeowners in Lincoln County pay an average of $2,467 while those in Washington County pay $1,522.
But how do Maine property taxes work? The amount of tax you owe the state of Maine depends on the value of your property and the tax rates. Local assessors are responsible for appraising your property as justly and equitably as possible to establish its "just value" or the amount it would sell for in the open market. Properties are appraised and revalued at least once every 10 years.
After determining your property's market value, an assessment ratio is applied to find the assessed value. Maine laws dictate that residential property be assessed at 70% of its market value. If, for instance, your property has a market value of $100,000, the assessed value would add up to (0.7 x $100,000) $70,000. Maine property tax rates are applied to that amount to calculate your annual tax bill.
Tax rates are set by municipalities depending on the total assessed values and the amount of revenue they need to raise from property taxes. Maine property tax rates are expressed in mill rates. A mill is a dollar per $1,000 of assessed value. The mill rate varies depending on the location of your property. In Portland, the mill rate is $23.31 of assessed value. If you own a home in Portland with an assessed value of $100,000, your Maine property tax bill would add up to (0.2331 x $100,000) $2,331.
If you are planning to buy a home in Maine and want to understand how much your property tax bill could potentially cost, check out our Maine Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
Maine Property Tax Due Dates
In the state of Maine, the financial year starts from July 1 to June 30. Properties are assessed and taxes are applied on the assessed value as of April 1. You receive your Maine property tax bill in early August. Reminder notices are mailed in February. Failure to receive a tax bill does not excuse you from paying taxes. If you have reasons to believe your home was wrongly valued, you can appeal property taxes by raising the issues with the local assessor in an informal meeting. If you still disagree with the valuation, you can file an official appeal with the Board of Assessment Review. You must pay Maine property taxes as you await a decision on your appeal.
But when are property taxes due in Maine? Maine property taxes are due on the second Tuesday of September. However, the state allows you to pay in two equal installments due in September and March. Taxes are payable by check through the mail, by cash, check or credit card in person, or by credit card.
Taxes that remain unpaid after Maine property tax due dates result in interest computed at a rate of 8% per annum. The taxing authorities send 30-day "Notices to Lien" to homeowners who have not paid their taxes in full for the current financial year. The Notice states that a lien will be placed on your property if the taxes, accrued interest, and additional costs are not paid in 30 days. If you have not paid Maine property taxes in full within 18 months, you risk losing your property to the taxing district.
Maine Property Tax Exemptions
Besides the option to appeal property taxes if you disagree with the assessor's valuation of your property, the state of Maine provides several exemptions to qualifying homeowners. They include but are not limited to senior and homestead exemptions. These exemptions reduce the Maine property tax burden for eligible homeowners. However, even qualifying homeowners are still subject to Maine property tax due dates.
Maine Homestead Exemption
Maine's homestead exemption exempts up to $25,000 of your home's assessed value from Maine property taxes. To qualify, you must be using the property as your primary residence, be a permanent resident of Maine, and have owned a home in the state of Maine for 12 months before applying for this exemption. Applications for this exemption must be filed with the municipality in which your property is located not later than April 1.
Maine Senior Citizens Exemption
Maine's version of the senior exemption is called the Municipal Property Tax Deferral for Senior Citizens. Under this exemption, municipalities can enact a property tax deferral program to help senior residents keep their homes. The program has age and income limits requirements as determined by the various municipalities. More information about this and more exemptions can be found on the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services website.
Other Maine property tax exemptions include the Veteran Exemption. Under this exemption, an army veteran who served during a recognized war period and is above 62 years is eligible for a $6,000 reduction in their assessed value. Others who can benefit from this exemption include a disabled veteran whose disability is 100% related to military service.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Maine
The state of Maine allows you to appeal property taxes should you disagree with the value placed on your property. However, appeals are based on your property's valuation, not the amount of taxes. The appeal process starts with a visit to the local Assessor's Office where staff will review the information you submit challenging the valuation. The office may accept or reject your objections depending on the evidence provided. If you are not satisfied with the assessor's decision, you can submit an Application for Abatement with the local Board of Assessment Review (BAR) within 60 days of receiving the Assessor's decision. Decisions by the local board can be appealed to the Maine Board of Tax Appeals.
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across Maine though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Cumberland County
To help you understand how to appeal your property taxes in Maine, here is a breakdown of the process in Cumberland County, the most populous county in Maine.
Obtain your assessment
If you are a homeowner in Cumberland County, you can obtain your assessment details from your tax bill or consult the Assessor's Office.
Determine if you are over-assessed
One of the methods used to value your property is the "sales comparison" approach which looks at the sales prices of nearby similar units to estimate your home's market value. You can use TaxProper's search tool to search for sales of nearby similar properties and compare the prices to your property's market value.
Complete forms needed to appeal
Property tax appeal forms can be obtained from Cumberland County's website. Alternatively, you can obtain them from the Board of Assessment Review's offices in Portland.
File property tax appeal
Property tax appeals in Cumberland County must be filed with the Board of Assessment Review (BAR) within 60 days of the local assessor's decision. Supporting information must also be sent to the BAR 14 days before the hearing date.
Prepare for hearing
Preparation for an appeal hearing involves presenting evidence supporting your opinion of value. By law, the assessor is presumed to be correct and the burden of proof lies with you as the appellant. Evidence can include but is not limited to appraisal by a Maine certified appraiser, cost estimates for repairing your property, photos showing structural issues or conditions that affect the property's market value, and a statement of construction costs.
The BAR requires you to attend a property tax appeals hearing in person or send a representative. If other arrangements need to be made, you should notify the BAR at the time of application.
Appeal the decision
Decisions by the BAR can be appealed to the Maine Board of Tax Appeals.
Property Tax Information for Maine Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each Maine county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific Maine county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|