Exemptions

Exemptions Deadline Extended

This year has been quite unusual for all of us dealing with this pandemic. The Governor’s most recent effective Executive Orders (30-A and 31, effective date of  March 31, 2020)  have extended the application deadlines for submitting current use and certain property tax exemptions. Ordinarily, the application submittal deadline for these State programs is April 1 of each year to be applied toward the following municipal fiscal year tax commitment.

The current Executive Order extends the April 1, 2020 deadline to either the commitment date of the municipality or 30 days after the termination of the declared emergency, whichever occurs first. The City of Biddeford intends to commit the assessment and taxes for the tax year 2020 on July 31, 2020. This means that all applicable applications listed below must be submitted to the Assessor’s office on or before July 31, 2020, to be approved and applied to the 2020 tax year assessment. The Executive Order only extends the submittal deadlines; all qualification requirements for approval of each program or exemption remain the same.

The Executive Order applies to the following exemption application:  Property of Institutions and Organizations (36 M.R.S. § 652); Estates of Veterans (36 M.R.S. § 653(1)(G)); Solar and Wind Energy Equipment (36 M.R.S. §§ 655 (1)(U) and 656 (1)(K)); Exemption of Homesteads (36 M.R.S. § 684 (1)); and exemptions of Business Equipment (“BETE”) (36 M.R.S. § 693 (1)).

The Executive Order applies to the following Current Use application:  Open Space and Farmland tax programs 36 M.R.S. § 1109 (1); Tree Growth tax program 36 M.R.S. § 579 (2-A).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Assessors’ office (207) 284-9003 as we will be happy to assist you.   

Applications

Applications for the Homestead, Veterans, and Blind Exemptions may be downloaded from the State of Maine.

Homestead Exemption

In 1998, the legislature enacted a new homestead exemption for all Maine residents. Homeowners whose permanent place of residence is in Maine are entitled to a reduction in valuation. This year the amount of the exemption is $20,000 off the total valuation, if you are at 100% of market value.

In order to qualify, you must minimally be a resident of Maine for at least 12 months prior to April 1st of the year you are filing this application.

If the homeowners qualify, they must fill out a simple form declaring property as their permanent place of residence. Once the application is filed, the exemption remains until the owner sells or changes their place of legal residence.

Sign the form and deliver it either by mail or in person to your local assessor or Town Office.

Veterans Exemption

Veterans who have reached the age of 62 and who have served in a federally recognized war period, as well as 100% disabled veterans, qualify for an exemption of either $7,000 or $6,000. The widow, minor child, or widowed mother of a veteran may qualify for this exemption as well. Proof of service and honorable discharge, such as a copy of their DD214, is required. Deadline for filing of application is April 1st of the current tax year.

Paraplegic veterans also qualify for a veterans exemption up to $50,000 of just valuation, for a specially adapted housing unit, and only in the place where the veteran is a legal resident.

Blind Exemption

Resident property owners who have been declared legally blind by their physician and have documentation are entitled to an exemption up to $4,000. The deadline for qualifying is April 1st. You must submit documentation to the Assessor’s Office on or before this date.

Tree Growth

The Maine Tree Growth Tax Law provides for the valuation of land, which has been classified as commercially harvested forestland on the basis of productivity value, rather than on fair market value.

The State Tax Assessor determines the 100% valuation per acre for each forest type classified by County or region each year. These valuations are filed with the Secretary of State by October 1 each year and are certified to municipal assessor(s) before April 1 each year.

Once classified, any change in use or withdrawal from classification results in a supplemental tax penalty.

Farmland

The Assessor for each taxing jurisdiction shall establish the 100% valuation per acre based on the current use value of farmland utilized for agricultural or horticultural purposes. The values adopted shall be based on such considerations as farmland and rentals, farmer-to farmer sales, soil types and quality, commodity values, topography and after considering state developed guidelines for agricultural valuation. These values shall not reflect potential development or market value usages other than agricultural or horticultural use. In addition, the values shall not reflect either road or shore frontage.

Once classified, any change in use or withdrawal results in a supplemental tax penalty.

Open Space

Registered land providing a defined public benefit through preservation or restrictions on use. All ordinary open space land is eligible for a reduction of 20% off the standard value. Further percentages are determined by whether they are permanently protected open space areas, forever wild open space areas or public access open space areas.

Once classified, any change in use or withdrawal results in a supplemental tax penalty.