In 2023, the Maine State Legislature ended the Maine Property Tax Stabilization Program, and implemented expansions in two alternative programs to provide more targeted property tax relief for property owners who are age 65+ or who are disabled. There is no Property Tax Stabilization program application available for the 2024 tax year, because the program has been replaced with the expanded Property Tax Fairness Credit and Property Tax Deferral programs.
Homeowners and renters who are Maine residents may be eligible for the property tax fairness credit. This program is administered by Maine Revenue Services; to apply, you must file a form 1040ME with a Schedule PTFC/STFC for the tax year during which the property tax or rent was paid (for example, the 2023 application, available in early 2024 and due by April 15, 2024, covers taxes and rent paid from January to December of 2023).
This is a reimbursable credit; even if you do not owe State income taxes, you can file for the Property Tax Fairness Credit and receive a reimbursement of a portion of the property taxes or rent paid on your home, if you are eligible. Information on and assistance in filing for the Property Tax Fairness credit can be found through Maine Revenue Services (email: email@example.com; phone 207-624-9784).
The maximum Property Tax Fairness credit for those aged 65 or older is $1,500 for 2023 and will be $2,000 next year. Eligibility is based on your income and the amount of your property tax bill (the credit is based on portion of the tax bill that is over 4% of the applicant's income). There are income limits, which change each year, and other rules that affect the final tax credit amount as well.
Note: Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled are eligible for an additional property tax fairness credit amount.
If you do not generally file a Maine income tax form or would like assistance in completing the form to determine your eligibility for the Property Tax Fairness Credit, consider working with one of the free tax preparation programs in Bath. These IRS-certified volunteers are fully qualified to prepare and e-file most common federal and state tax returns. AARP's Tax-Aide program has volunteers at the Patten Free Library (Wednesdays and Thursdays) and the Bath Senior Center (Saturdays and Mondays) each year from February 1 to April 15. No appointment is needed and services are available to low and moderate income Bath residents of all ages. CA$H Maine also offers free tax preparation in the Mid-Coast area for those with incomes under $64,000; call 295-6340 or 751-3756 to make an appointment at the United Way office (34 Wing Farm Pkwy) or schedule an appointment on their website.
We've created a flyer with more information on the property tax fairness credit, and you may download it (as a PDF) here.
Property Tax Deferral is a lifeline line loan program that pays the annual property tax bills of Maine resident property owners who are disabled and unable to work, and/or age 65 and older and who cannot afford to pay them on their own. Once accepted into the program, each year's tax bill for the property is paid by the State of Maine, and the taxes are added to the loan amount.
The loan creates a lien upon the property, which must be repaid when the property is sold or becomes an estate. However, the State of Maine will accept partial payments towards the accrued taxes, reducing the future liability to the applicant's estate. Importantly, a surviving spouse who is not yet eligible for the Property Tax Deferral program can elect to continue the loan for the previously deferred taxes without penalty and without triggering the lien to become due.
The newly expanded program doubles the income limit for the program to $80,000, and allows those with liquid assets* of up to $100,000 ($150,000 for a joint application) to apply. Up to two years of delinquent property taxes may now be included in the loan as well. Once you are accepted into the program, you do not need to reapply, even if your income and assets change in the future.
Information on the Property Tax Deferral loan program can be found through Maine Revenue Services (email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 207-624-5600). The application is available from Maine Revenue Services as of January 1 each year and must be filed by April 1 with our office (55 Front St., Bath, ME 04530). The assessor completes additional information about your residence and forwards the application to Maine Revenue Services, who makes the final decision on eligibility for the Property Tax Deferral loan program.
Note: Those enrolled in the Property Tax Deferral program are also eligible to file for the Property Tax Fairness Credit based on the amount of their tax bill, even though the State of Maine has loaned the money to pay the tax bill.
* Liquid assets includes items that can be easily converted to cash, such as bank accounts, stocks and bonds, money market and mutual funds, certain life insurance policies, certificates of deposit, and lump-sum payments and inheritances. It does not include qualified retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA.
Please contact our office if you have any additional questions on these programs.
We've created a flyer with more information about this loan program; you may download it (as a PDF) here.