If you’re like most homeowners, the phrase “tax-relief benefits” is music to your ears. Really sweet music! But as you go through your daily life, you probably haven’t had time to keep up-to-date on all the new tax-relief benefits for homeowners recently passed by the Maine State Legislature. So let’s take a couple of minutes to look at what these new tax-law changes are—and exactly how they benefit you as a Maine homeowner.
New Maine Homestead Exemption Increase
Before we look at the just-significantly-increased Maine Homestead Exemption, let’s clearly define it and understand what it is designed to do for homeowners. According to Maine Revenue Services, the Maine Homestead Exemption “provides a measure of property tax relief for certain individuals who have owned homestead property in Maine for at least 12 months, and make the property they occupy on April 1 their permanent residence.”
Maine’s newly bumped-up Homestead Exemption increases your tax exemption from $20,000 to $25,000 for property tax years beginning on or after April 1, 2020. Importantly, the law also benefits your local city or town government, because it increases the State of Maine’s reimbursement to municipalities from 62.5 percent to 70 percent of revenue lost due to the exemption. This aspect of the law also pertains to property tax years beginning on or after April 1, 2020.
New Property Tax Relief Fund
Maine’s new law also establishes the “Property Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents” (replacing the “Tax Relief Fund for Maine Residents”). The law stipulates that funds be used to provide property tax-relief benefits (direct reimbursement payments) to every Maine resident whose residence qualifies for an exemption under the Maine Homestead Exemption. Under the new law, when the fund reaches a target balance, the Maine State Treasurer is required, by March 1 each year, to mail tax-relief checks to each owner of a qualifying homestead. Earlier this year, according to State Treasurer Henry Beck and as reported by the Portland Press Herald, more than 305,000 Maine homeowners who were eligible for the state’s Homestead Exemption program were due to receive checks of $100 each in the mail.
Tax-Relief Benefits for Renewable-Energy Equipment
Finally, the new property laws also exempt solar and wind-energy equipment from your property tax. If you feel you are owed this tax exemption, be sure to file an application with your municipality in the first year for which you seek the exemption.
We hope this quick update of new tax-relief benefits for Maine homeowners has been helpful to you. To read about the new laws in greater detail, we suggest you visit the Maine Revenue Services page here.