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BOARD OF PROPERTY TAX REVIEW

 

 

          DIGEST OF LAW COURT DECISIONS

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

LIST OF CASES

  I.  Assessment/Collection and Valuation Cases ................................... 2

 II.  Exemptions From Taxation Cases ................................................... 13

        Revenue Producing Municipal Facilities (30 M.R.S. § 4262)

          Abandoned Railroads (36 M.R.S. § 561)

          Public Property (36 M.R.S. § 651)

        Institutions and Organizations (36 M.R.S. § 652)

          Personal Property (36 M.R.S. § 655) 

          Real Estate (36 M.R.S. § 656)

III.  Classified Property Cases ............................................................... 19

          Tree Growth Tax Law (36 M.R.S. §§ 571-584-A)

          Farmland and Open Space (36 M.R.S. §§ 1101-1121)

          Working Waterfront (36 M.R.S. §§ 1131-1140-B)

          Mine Site (36 M.R.S. § 2865)

IV.  Equalized Municipal Valuation Cases ............................................ 19

 V.  Poverty Cases ................................................................................. 19

 

 

IMPORTANT POINTS FROM THE DECISIONS

  I.  General Principles .......................................................................... 21

 II.  Procedural Issues ........................................................................... 46

III.  Assessment/Collection of Taxes ..................................................... 71

IV.  Valuation of Property .................................................................... 103

 V.  Exemptions From Taxation ........................................................... 133

VI.  Classified Properties ..................................................................... 162

  Tree Growth Tax Law          

  Farmland and Open Space  

            Working Waterfront

  Mine Site    

VII.  Equalized Municipal Valuation .................................................... 164

VIII.  Poverty Abatements .................................................................... 165


LIST OF CASES

­­­

I.  Assessment/Collection and Valuation Cases

 

Morrell v. Sylvester, 1 Me. 248 (1821)

Porter v. Whitney, 1 Me. 306 (1821)

Bussey v. Gilmore, 3 Me. 191 (1824)

Colby v. Russell, 3 Me. 227 (1824)

Mussey v. White, 3 Me. 290 (1825)

Foxcroft v. Nevens, 4 Me. 72 (1826)

Paine v. Ross, 5 Me. 400 (1828)

 

Ford v. Clough, 8 Me. 334 (1832)

Mosher v. Robie, 11 Me. 135 (1834)

Inhabitants of School Dist. No. 1, in Greene v. Bailey, 12 Me. 254 (1835)

Hooper v. Emery, 14 Me. 375 (1837)

Gould v. Inhabitants of New Portland, 15 Me. 28 (1838)

Johnson v. Goodridge, 15 Me. 29 (1838)

Trafton v. Inhabitants of Alfred, 15 Me. 258 (1839)

 

Deane v. Washburn, 17 Me. 100 (1840)

Keene v. Houghton, 19 Me. 368 (1841)

Kellar v. Savage, 20 Me. 199 (1841)

City of Bangor v. Lancey, 21 Me. 472 (1842)

Varney v. Stevens, 22 Me. 331 (1843)

Holton v. City of Bangor, 23 Me. 264 (1843)

Wallingford v. Fiske, 24 Me. 386 (1844)

Brown v. Veazie, 25 Me. 359 (1845)

Millett v. Inhabitants of Stoneham, 26 Me. 78 (1846)

Shimmin v. Inman, 26 Me. 228 (1846)

Smith v. Inhabitants of Readfield, 27 Me. 145 (1847)

Briggs v. Inhabitants of Lewiston, 29 Me. 472 (1849)

Payson v. Hall, 30 Me. 319 (1849)

Stickney v. City of Bangor, 30 Me. 404 (1849)

 

Smyth v. Titcomb, 31 Me. 272 (1850)

Hobbs v. Clements, 32 Me. 67 (1850)

Andrews v. Senter, 32 Me. 394 (1851)

Blanchard v. Dow, 32 Me. 557 (1851)

Williamson v. Dow, 32 Me. 559 (1851)

Campbell v. Inhabitants of Machias, 33 Me. 419 (1851)

Hemingway v. Inhabitants of Machias, 33 Me. 445 (1851)

Inhabitants of School Dist. in Tremont v. Clark, 33 Me. 482 (1851)

Coombs v. Warren, 34 Me. 89 (1852)

Williams v. Hilton, 35 Me. 547 (1853)

Augusta Bank v. City of Augusta, 36 Me. 255 (1853)

Inhabitants of Winslow v. County Comm’rs of Kennebec County, 37 Me. 561

           (1854), overruled in part, Perry v. Inhabitants of the Town of Lincolnville, 145 Me. 362, 75 A.2d 851 (1950)

Powers v. Inhabitants of Sanford, 39 Me. 183 (1855)

Phillips v. Phillips, 40 Me. 160 (1855)

Caldwell v. Hawkins, 40 Me. 526 (1855)

Trim v. Inhabitants of Charleston, 41 Me. 504 (1856)

Inhabitants of Frankfort v. White, 41 Me. 537 (1856)

Patterson v. Creighton, 42 Me. 367 (1856)

Herriman v. Stowers, 43 Me. 497 (1857)

Inhabitants of Orono v. Wedgewood, 44 Me. 49 (1857)

Adams v. Larrabee, 46 Me. 516 (1859), overruled, Millett v. Mullen, 95 Me.

          400, 420, 49 A. 871, 875 (1901)

Inhabitants of Hartland v. Church, 47 Me. 169 (1859)

Inhabitaants of Porter v. Stanley, 47 Me. 515 (1859)

 

Judkins v. Reed, 48 Me. 356 (1860)

Lovejoy v. Lunt, 48 Me. 377 (1860)

Hathaway v. Inhabitants of Addison, 48 Me. 440 (1860)

Allen v. Archer, 49 Me. 346 (1860)

Brackett v. Vining, 49 Me. 356 (1860)

Desmond v. Inhabitants of Machias Port, 48 Me. 478 (1861)

Church v. Rowell, 49 Me. 367 (1861)

Bowker v. Lowell, 49 Me. 429 (1861)

Inhabitants of Readfield v. Shaver, 50 Me. 36 (1861)

Inhabitants of Trescott v. Moan, 50 Me. 347 (1862)

Packard v. Tisdale, 50 Me. 376 (1862)

Littlefield v. Inhabitants of Brooks, 50 Me. 475 (1862)

Look v. Inhabitants of Industry, 51 Me. 375 (1863)

Inhabitants of Williamsburg v. Lord, 51 Me. 599 (1863)

Lowe v. Weld, 52 Me. 588 (1864)

Inhabitants of Scarborough v. Parker, 53 Me. 252 (1865)

Lambard v. County Comm’rs of Kennebec County, 53 Me. 505 (1866)

Inhabitants of Ellsworth v. Brown, 53 Me. 519 (1866)

Inhabitants of Bethel v. Mason, 55 Me. 501 (1867)

Egery v. Woodard, 56 Me. 45 (1868)

Inhabitants of Orono v. Veazie, 57 Me. 517 (1868)(Veazie I)

Inhabitants of Gorham v. Hall, 57 Me. 58 (1869)

Gilpatrick v. Inhabitants of Saco, 57 Me. 277 (1869)

Gould v. Monroe, 61 Me. 544 (1869)

 

City of Augusta v. North, 57 Me. 392 (1870)

Rogers v. Inhabitants of Greenbush, 58 Me. 390 (1870)

Larrabee v. Hodgkins, 58 Me. 412 (1870)

Greene v. Lunt, 58 Me. 518 (1870)

French v. Patterson, 61 Me. 203 (1870)

Stockwell v. Inhabitants of Brewer, 59 Me. 286 (1871)

Carter v. Allen, 59 Me. 296 (1871)

Gilman v. Inhabitants of Waterville, 59 Me. 491 (1871)

Nowell v. Tripp, 61 Me. 426 (1871)

Inhabitants of Orono v. Veazie, 61 Me. 431 (1871)(Veazie II)

Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co. v. City of Saco, 60 Me. 196 (1872)

Griffin v. Creppin, 60 Me. 270 (1872)

Seekins v. Goodale, 61 Me. 400 (1873)

Parsons v. City of Bangor, 61 Me. 457 (1873)

Phillips v. Sherman, 61 Me. 548 (1873)

Inhabitants of Orneville v. Pearson, 61 Me. 552 (1873)(Pearson I)

Hayford v. City of Belfast, 62 Me. 63 (1873)

Carville v. Additon, 62 Me. 459 (1873)

Greene v. Walker, 63 Me. 311 (1873)

Nason v. Ricker, 63 Me. 381 (1873)

Pearson v. Canney, 64 Me. 188 (1874)(Pearson II)

Farnsworth Co. v. Rand, 65 Me. 19 (1876)(Farnsworth Co. II)

Inhabitants of Freedom v. County Comm’rs of Waldo County, 66 Me. 172

          (1876)

Inhabitants of Fairfield v. County Comm’rs of Somerset County, 66 Me. 385        (1876)

Inhabitants of Stockton v. Staples, 66 Me. 197 (1877)

Waite v. Inhabitants of Princeton, 66 Me. 225 (1877)

Inhabitants of York v. Goodwin, 67 Me. 260 (1877)

Inhabitants of Levant v. County Comm’rs of Penobcot County, 67 Me. 429

(1877)

Porterfield v. City of Augusta, 67 Me. 556 (1877)

Inhabitants of Bucksport v. Woodman, 68 Me. 33 (1877)

Inhabitants of Boothbay v. Giles, 68 Me. 160 (1878)

Tolman v. Hobbs, 68 Me. 316 (1878)

Inhabitants of Boothbay v. Race, 68 Me. 351 (1878)

Treat v. Smith, 68 Me. 394 (1878)

Inhabitants of Elliot v. Spinney, 69 Me. 31 (1878)

Dyar v. Farmington Village Corp., 70 Me. 515 (1878)

Inhabitants of Harpswell v. Orr, 69 Me. 333 (1879)

Hall v. Inhabitants of Benton, 69 Me. 346 (1879)

Whitmore v. Learned, 70 Me. 276 (1879)

 

Inhabitants of Norridgewock v. Walker, 71 Me. 181 (1880)

Briggs v. Johnson, 71 Me. 235 (1880)

Snow v. Inhabitants of Brunswick, 71 Me. 580 (1880)(Snow I)

Garland v. Garland, 73 Me. 97 (1881)

Inhabitants of Brunswick v. Snow, 73 Me. 177 (1882)(Snow II)

Wiggin v. Temple, 73 Me. 380 (1882)

Inhabitants of Old Town v. Blake, 74 Me. 280 (1883)

Snow v. Winchell, 74 Me. 408 (1883)(Snow III)

Inhabitants of Dresden v. Goud, 75 Me. 298 (1883)

Cressey v. Parks, 75 Me. 387 (1883)(Cressey I)

Moulton v. Egery, 75 Me. 485 (1883)

Inhabitants of Orland v. County Comm’rs, 76 Me. 460 (1884)

          (Inhabitants of Orland I)

Inhabitants of Orland v. County Comm’rs, 76 Me. 462 (1884)

          (Inhabitants of Orland II)

Cressey v. Parks, 76 Me. 532 (1884)(Cressey II)

Inhabitants of Fairfield v. Woodman, 76 Me. 549 (1884)

Inhabitants of Machiasport v. Small, 77 Me. 109 (1885)

Inhabitants of Milford v. Inhabitants of Greenbush, 77 Me. 330 (1885)

Carlton v. Newman, 77 Me. 408, 1 A. 194 (1885)

Snow v. Weeks, 77 Me. 429, 1 A. 243 (1885)

Inhabitants of Kittery v. Proprietors of Portsmouth Bridge, 78 Me. 93,

2 A. 847 (1886), overruled in part, Stevens v. Dixfield & Mexico

Bridge Co., 115 Me. 402, 99 A. 94 (1916)

City of Bath v. Reed, 78 Me. 276, 4 A. 688 (1886)

City of Bath v. Whitmore, 79 Me. 182, 9 A. 119 (1887)

Inhabitants of Orneville v. Palmer, 79 Me. 472, 10 A. 451 (1887)

Libby v. Mayberry, 80 Me. 136, 13 A. 275 (1888)

Martin v. City of Portland, 81 Me. 293, 17 A. 72 (1889)

Thorndike v. Inhabitants of Camden, 82 Me. 39, 19 A. 95 (1889)

Inhabitants of Topsham v. Blondell, 82 Me. 152, 19 A. 93 (1889)

 

Gower v. Inhabitants of Jonesboro, 83 Me. 142, 21 A. 846 (1891)

City of Rockland v. Farnsworth, 83 Me. 228, 22 A. 103 (1891)

          (Mary Farnsworth)

Lord v. Parker, 83 Me. 530, 22 A. 392 (1891)

Ladd v. Dickey, 84 Me. 190, 24 A. 813 (1892)

City of Auburn v. Paul, 84 Me. 212, 24 A. 817 (1892)(Paul I)

Bowler v. Brown, 84 Me. 376, 24 A. 879 (1892)

Bragdon v. Inhabitants of Freedom, 84 Me. 431, 24 A. 895 (1892)

City of Rockland v. Ulmer, 84 Me. 503, 24 A. 949 (1892)(Ulmer I)

Jordan v. Hopkins, 85 Me. 159, 27 A. 91 (1892)

Whiting v. City of Ellsworth, 85 Me. 301, 27 A. 177 (1893)

United Copper Mining & Smelting Co. v. Franks, 85 Me. 321, 27 A. 185

          (1893)

Inhabitants of Embden v. Bunker, 86 Me. 313, 29 A. 1085 (1894)

Inhabitants of Cape Elizabeth v. Boyd, 86 Me. 317, 29 A. 1062 (1894)

Inhabitants of Orono v. Emery, 86 Me. 362, 29 A. 1095 (1894)

Skowhegan Savings Bank v. Parsons, 86 Me. 514, 30 A. 110 (1894)

Howe v. Moulton, 87 Me. 120, 32 A. 781 (1895)

City of Rockland v. Ulmer, 87 Me. 357, 32 A. 972 (1895)(Ulmer II)

Wheeler v. County Comm’rs, 88 Me. 174, 33 A. 983 (1895)

Miller v. Davis, 88 Me. 454, 34 A. 265 (1896)

Inhabitants of Wellington v. Small, 89 Me. 154, 36 A. 107 (1896)

Maddocks v. Stevens, 86 Me. 336, 36 A. 398 (1896)

Mason v. Belfast Hotel Co, 89 Me. 381, 36 A. 622 (1896)

          (Belfast Hotel Co. I)

Mason v. Belfast Hotel Co, 89 Me. 384, 36 A. 624 (1896)

(Belfast Hotel Co. II)

Farnsworth v. City of Rockland, 89 Me. 481, 36 A. 989 (1897)

          (Lucy Farnsworth I)

Inhabitants of Charleston v. Lawry, 89 Me. 582, 36 A. 1103 (1897)

Union Water Power Co. v. City of Auburn, 90 Me. 60, 37 A. 331 (1897)

          (Union Water Power Co. I)

City of Auburn v. Union Water Power Co., 90 Me. 71, 37 A. 335 (1897)

          (Union Water Power Co. II)

Bennett v. Davis, 90 Me. 102, 37 A. 864 (1897)

Rowe v. Friend, 90 Me. 241, 38 A. 95 (1897)

Inhabitants of Dresden v. Bridge, 90 Me. 489, 38 A. 545 (1897)

Creamer v. Inhabitants of Bremen, 91 Me. 508, 40 A. 555 (1898)

City of Augusta v. Kimball, 91 Me. 605, 40 A. 666 (1898)

Emery v. Inhabitants of Sanford, 92 Me. 525, 43 A. 116 (1899)

Green v. Alden, 92 Me. 177, 42 A. 358 (1898)

City of Rockland v. Farnsworth, 93 Me. 178, 44 A. 681 (1899)

(Lucy Farnsworth II)

Inhabitants of Farmingdale v. Berlin Mills Co., 93 Me. 333, 45 A. 39 (1899)

 

Inhabitants of Topsham v. Purinton, 94 Me. 354, 47 A. 919 (1900)

Burgess v. Robinson, 95 Me. 120, 49 A. 606 (1901)

Morrill v. Lovett, 95 Me. 165, 49 A. 666 (1901)

Millett v. Mullen, 95 Me. 400, 49 A. 871 (1901)

Jacques v. Parks, 96 Me. 268, 52 A. 763 (1902)

Mayo v. Dover & Foxcroft Village Fire Co., 96 Me. 539, 53 A. 62 (1902)

Stafford v. Morse, 97 Me. 222, 54 A. 397 (1902)

Milliken v. Houghton, 97 Me. 447, 54 A. 1075 (1903)

Opinion of the Justices (In re state Taxation), 97 Me. 595, 55 A. 827 (1903)

Smith v. Randlette, 98 Me. 86, 56 A. 199 (1903)

Inhabitants of Eliot v. Prime, 98 Me. 48, 56 A. 207 (1903)

Sweetsir v. Chandler, 98 Me. 145, 56 A. 584 (1903)

Inhabitants of Springfield v. Butterfield, 98 Me. 155, 56 A. 581 (1903)

Saco Water Power Co. v. Inhabitants of Buxton, 98 Me. 295, 56 A. 914

          (1903)

Inhabitants of New Limerick v. Watson, 98 Me. 379, 57 A. 79 (1903)

Inhabitants of Verona v. Bridges, 98 Me. 491, 57 A. 797 (1904)

Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. v. Inhabitants of the Town of Bradley,

          99 Me. 263, 59 A. 83 (1904)(Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I)

Edwards Mfg. Co. v. Farrington, 102 Me. 140, 66 A. 309 (1906)

Baker v. Webber, 102 Me. 414, 67 A. 144 (1907)

Inhabitants of East Livermore v. Livermore Falls Trust & Banking Co.,

          103 Me. 418, 69 A. 306 (1907)

Inhabitants of Bradley v. Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co., 104 Me. 276,

          71 A. 887 (1908)(Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. II)

Inhabitants of Greenville v. Blair, 104 Me. 444, 72 A. 177 (1908)

Inhabitants of Norway v. Willis, 105 Me. 54, 72 A. 733 (1908)

Roberts v. Moulton, 106 Me. 174, 76 A. 283 (1909)

John P. Squire & Co. v. City of Portland, 106 Me. 234, 76 A. 679 (1909)

 

McCann v. Inhabitants of Town of Minot, 107 Me. 393, 78 A. 465 (1910)

Eden v. Pineo, 108 Me. 73, 78 A. 1126 (1911)

Bresnahan v. Sherwin-Burrill Soap Co., 108 Me. 124, 79 A. 376 (1911)

Inhabitants of Georgetown v. Hanscome, 108 Me. 131, 79 A. 379 (1911)

Powell v. City of Old Town, 108 Me. 532, 81 A. 1068 (1911)

Inhabitants of Peru v. Estate of Charles Forster, 109 Me. 226, 83 A. 670

 

Sawyer v. Glimore, 109 Me. 169, 83 A. 673 (1912) 

Inhabitants of Boothbay v. E. I. DuPont deNemours Powder Co., 109 Me

          236, 83 A. 663 (1912)

Fenlason v. Shedd, 109 Me.326, 84 A. 409 (1912)

Inhabitants of Sandy River Plantation v. Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. 472,

84 A. 995 (1912)

Inhabitants of Bayville Village Corp. v. Inhabitants of Boothbay Harbor,

          110 Me. 46, 85 A. 300 (1912)

City of Auburn v. Paul, 110 Me. 192, 85 A. 571 (1912)(Paul II) 

Kelley v. Jones, 110 Me. 360, 86 A. 252 (1913)

City of Rockland v. Farnsworth, 111 Me. 315, 89 A. 65 (1913)

(Lucy Farnsworth III)

Paul v. Huse, 112 Me. 449, 92 A. 520 (1914)

Clark v. Gray, 113 Me. 443, 94 A. 881 (1915)

Morton v. Wilson, 115 Me. 70, 97 A. 219 (1916)

Stevens v. Dixfield & Mexico Bridge Co., 115 Me. 402, 99 A. 94 (1916)

Talbot v. Inhabitants of Wesley, 116 Me. 208, 100 A. 937 (1917)

Arnold v. City of Augusta, 118 Me. 399, 108 A. 322 (Me. 1919)

 

Foulkes v. Nevers, 119 Me. 315, 111 A. 335 (1920)

Hamilton v. Portland Pier Site Dist., 120 Me. 15, 112 A. 836 (1921)

Murray v. Ryder, 120 Me. 471, 115 A. 256 (1921)

Hunt v. Latham, 121 Me. 303, 117 A. 94 (1922)

Keyes v. State, 121 Me. 306, 117 A. 166 (1922)

Crabtree v. Ayer, 122 Me. 18, 118 A. 790 (1922)

Machias Lumber Co. v. Inhabitants of Machias, 122 Me. 304, 119 A. 805

          (1923)

Stowell v. Blanchard, 122 Me. 368, 119 A. 866 (1923)

Campbell v. Whitehorse, 122 Me. 409, 120 A. 529 (1923)

Hall v. Hamilton, 123 Me. 80, 121 A. 551 (1923)

Shawmut Mfg. Co. v. Town of Benton, 123 Me. 121, 122 A. 49 (1923)

Inhabitants of Brownville v. U. S. Pegwood & Shank Co., 123 Me. 379,

          123 A. 170 (1924)

See Opinion of the Justices, 123 Me. 573, 121 A. 902 (1923)

Desjardins v. Jordan Lumber Co., 124 Me. 113, 126 A. 486 (1924)

Spear v. City of Bath, 125 Me. 27, 130 A. 507 (1925)

Cumberland County Power & Light Co. v. Inhabitants of the Town of Hiram,       125 Me. 138, 131 A. 594 (1926)

Inhabitants of the Town of Frankfort v. Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. 1,

          145 A. 241 (1929)

 

Central Maine Power Co. v. Inhabitants of the Town of Turner, 128 Me. 486,

          148 A. 799 (1930)

Portland Terminal Co. v. City of Portland, 129 Me. 264, 151 A. 460 (1930)

Gilmartin v. Emery, 131 Me. 236, 160 A. 874 (1932)

McKay Radio & Telegraph Co. v. Inhabitants of the Town of Cushing,

131 Me. 333, 162 A. 783 (1932)(McKay Radio & Telegraph I), overruled in part, Assessors, Town of Bristol v. Eldridge, 392 A.2d 37 (Me. 1978)

Inhabitants of Bucksport v. Swazey, 132 Me. 36, 165 A. 164 (1933)

City of Biddeford v. Cleary, 132 Me. 116, 167 A. 694 (1933)

Inhabitants of the Town of Cushing v. McKay Radio & Telegraph Co.,

          132 Me. 324, 170 A. 60 (1934)(McKay Radio & Telegraph II)

Inhabitants of Town of Georgetown v. Reid, 132 Me. 414, 171 A. 907 (1934)

Alfred J. Sweet, Inc. v. City of Auburn, 134 Me. 28, 180 A. 803 (1935)

Pejepscot Paper Co. v. State, 134 Me. 238, 184 A. 764 (1936)

City of Old Town v. Robbins, 134 Me. 285, 186 A. 663 (1936)

In re Estate of Paradis, 134 Me. 333, 186 A. 672 (1936)

Cassidy v. Aroostook Hotels, Inc., 134 Me. 341, 186 A. 665 (1936)

Kelley v. Brunswick School Dist., 134 Me. 414, 187 A. 703 (1936)

City of Eastport v. Jonah, 134 Me. 428, 187 A. 471 (1936)

Tozier v. Woodworth, 135 Me. 46, 188 A. 771 (1936)(Tozier I)

Inhabitants of Town of Canton v. Livermore Falls Trust Co., 136 Me. 103,

          3 A.2d 429 (1939)

Van Woudenburg v. Valentine, 136 Me. 209, 7 A.2d 623 (1939)

Lowden v. Graham, 136 Me. 341, 9 A.2d 659 (1939)

 

Tozier v. Woodworth & Land, 136 Me. 364, 10 A.2d 454 (1940)(Tozier II)

Snell v. Libby, 137 Me. 62, 15 A.2d 148 (1940)

Inhabitants of the Town of Warren v. Norwood, 138 Me. 180, 24 A.2d 229

          (1941)

Vigue v. Chapman, 138 Me. 206, 24 A.2d 241 (1941)

S. D. Warren Co. v. Fritz, 138 Me. 279, 25 A.2d 645 (1942), corrected in

part, Assessors, Town of Bristol v. Eldridge, 392 A.2d 37 (Me. 1978)

Scavone v. Davis, 142 Me. 45, 45 A.2d 787 (1946)

Oceanic Hotel Co. v. Angell, 143 Me. 160, 57 A.2d 143 (1948)

Kramer v. Inhabitants of the Town of Linneus, 144 Me. 239, 67 A.2d 536

          (1949)

Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. City of Portland, 144 Me. 250, 68 A.2d 12 (1949)

Opinion of the Justices, 144 Me. 417, 66 A.2d 376 (1949)

 

Perry v. Inhabitants of the Town of Lincolnville, 145 Me. 362, 75 A.2d 851

(1950)(Perry I)

McDougal v. Hunt, 146 Me. 10, 76 A.2d 857 (1950)

Baxter v. Waterville Sewerage Dist., 146 Me. 211, 79 A.2d 585 (1951)

Dolloff v. Gardiner, 148 Me. 176, 91 A.2d 320 (1952)

Perry v. Inhabitants of the Town of Lincolnville, 149 Me. 173, 99 A.2d 294

(1953)(Perry II)

Dead River Co. v. Assessors of Houlton, 149 Me. 349, 103 A.2d 123 (1953)

Carlisle v. Bangor Recreation Center, 150 Me. 33, 103 A.2d 339 (1954)

Gray v. Hutchins, 150 Me. 96, 104 A.2d 423 (1954)

Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. City of Presque Isle, 150 Me. 181, 107 A.2d 475

          (1954)

Gaston v. Townsend, 150 Me. 292, 110 A.2d 593 (1954)

N. J. Gendron Lumber Co. v. Inhabitants of the Town of Hiram, 151 Me.

          450, 120 A.2d 560 (1956)

Dudley v. Varney, 152 Me. 164, 126 A.2d 285 (1956)

Blake v. Assessors of Town of Yarmouth, 152 Me. 321, 129 A.2d 207

(1957), overruled, Assessors, Town of Bristol v. Eldridge, 392 A.2d 37 (Me. 1978)

Opinion of the Justices, 155 Me. 30, 152 A.2d 81 (1959)

Emple Knitting Mills v. City of Bangor, 155 Me. 270, 153 A.2d 118 (1959)

 

Maine Lumber Co., Inc. v. Inhabitants of Town of Mechanic Falls, 157 Me.

347, 172 A.2d 638 (1961)

Public Service Co. of New Hampshire v. Assesors of Berwick, 158 Me. 285,

          183 A.2d 205 (1962)

McCarty v. Greenlawn Cemetery Ass’n, 158 Me. 388, 185 A.2d 127 (1962)

Lucerne-in-Maine Village Corp. v. Bennoch, 158 Me. 396, 185 A.2d 124

(1962)

Young v. Johnson, 161 Me. 64, 207 A.2d 392 (1965)

Buckley v. Northeastern Paving Corp., 161 Me. 330, 211 A.2d 889 (1965)

Kittery Electric Light Co. v. Assessors of the Town of Kittery, 219 A.2d 728

          (Me. 1966)(Kittery Electric Light Co. I), disavowed in part, Ram’s       Head Partners, LLC v. Town of Cape Elizabeth, 2003 ME 131, 834        A.2d 916

Kittery Electric Light Co. v. Assessors of the Town of Kittery, 219 A.2d 744

          (Me. 1966)(Kittery Electric Light Co. II)

Ouellette v. Daigle, 219 A.2d 545 (Me. 1966)

Maine Consolidated Power Co. v. Inhabitants of the Town of Farmington,

          219 A.2d 748 (Me. 1966)

Bangor-Hydro Electric Co. v. Johnson, 226 A.2d 371 (Me. 1967)

 

Inhabitants of Town of Alexander v. Maine Bonding & Casualty Co.,

          274 A.2d 439 (Me. 1971)

Arsenault v. Inhabitants of the Town of Roxbury, 275 A.2d 598 (Me. 1971)

Davis v. City of Ellsworth, 281 A.2d 138 (Me. 1971)

Eastport Water Co. v. City of Eastport, 288 A.2d 718 (Me. 1972)

Hann v. Merrill, 305 A.2d 545 (Me. 1972)

Martel v. Bearce, 311 A.2d 540 (Me. 1973)

City of Auburn v. Mandarelli, 320 A.2d 22 (Me.), app. dismissed, 419 U.S.

810 (1974)

Berry v. Daigle, 322 A.2d 320 (Me. 1974)

Frank v. Assessors and Inhabitants of the Town of Skowhegan, 329 A.2d

          167 (Me. 1974)

Opinion of the Justices, 339 A.2d 492 (Me. 1975)

Capitol Bank & Trust Co. v. City of Waterville, 343 A.2d 213 (Me. 1975)

Sevigny v. City of Biddeford, 344 A.2d 34 (Me. 1975)

Morrissette v. Connors, 350 A.2d 332 (Me. 1976)

Town of Acton v. McGary, 356 A.2d 700 (Me. 1976)

Edgerly v. Honeywell Information Systems, Inc., 377 A.2d 104 (Me. 1977)

Harrington v. Inhabitants of Town of Garland, 381 A.2d 639 (Me. 1978)

Fickett v. Hohlfeld, 390 A.2d 469 (Me. 1978)

Assessors, Town of Bristol v. Eldridge, 392 A.2d 37 (Me. 1978)

Tax Assessors of the Town of Sebago v. Drummond, 402 A.2d 469

(Me. 1979)

Inhabitants of the Town of Stonington v. Inhabitants of the Town of Deer

Isle, 403 A.2d 1181 (Me. 1979)

Farrelly v. Inhabitants of the Town of Deer Isle, 407 A.2d 302 (Me. 1979)

 

State v. Richard L. Hodges, Inc., 420 A.2d 247 (Me. 1980)

Shawmut Inn v. Inhabitants of the Town of Kennebunkport, 428 A.2d 384

          (Me. 1981)

Cummings v. Town of Oakland, 430 A.2d 825 (Me. 1981), app. dismissed,

          454 U.S. 1134 (1982)

Rice v. Amerling, 433 A.2d 388 (Me. 1981)

Freeport Minerals Co. v. Inhabitants of the Town of Bucksport, 437 A.2d

          642 (Me. 1981)

City of Augusta v. Allen, 438 A.2d 472 (Me. 1981)

Delta Chemicals, Inc. v. Inhabitants of the Town of Searsport, 438 A.2d

483 (Me. 1981)

P. H. Chadbourne & Co. v. Town of Bethel, 452 A.2d 400 (Me. 1982)

          (forest land)

Blaney v. Inhabitants of Town of Shapleigh, 455 A.2d 1381 (Me. 1983)

Seaborne v. Look, 464 A.2d 221 (Me. 1983)

Magno v. Town of Freeport, 486 A.2d 137 (Me. 1985)

Harwood v. Town of Southwest Harbor, 489 A.2d 507 (Me. 1985)

Town of Orient v. Dwyer, 490 A.2d 660 (Me. 1985)

Johnson v. Town of Dedham, 490 A.2d 1187 (Me. 1985)

Eastler v. State Tax Assessor, 499 A.2d 921 (Me. 1985)

Drebelbis v. Town of Bristol, 520 A.2d 709 (Me. 1987)

Great Northern Nekoosa Corp. v. State Tax Assessor, 522 A.2d 1316

(Me. 1987)(BPTR)

Cary v. Town of Harrington, 534 A.2d 355 (Me. 1987)

South Portland Associates v. City of South Portland, 550 A.2d 363

(Me. 1988)

Moser v. Town of Phippsburg, 553 A.2d 1249 (Me. 1989)

Brackett v. Larrivee, 562 A.2d 138 (Me. 1989)

Aucella v. Town of Winslow, 564 A.2d 68 (Me. 1989)(Aucella I),

 

Eastabrook v. Town of Bowdoin, 568 A.2d 1098 (Me. 1990)

Nadeau v. Town of Oakfield, 572 A.2d 491 (Me. 1990)

Aucella v. Town of Winslow, 583 A.2d 215 (Me. 1990)(Aucella II)

Town of Steuben v. Lipski, 602 A.2d 1171 (Me. 1992)

Jordan-Milton Machinery, Inc. v. City of Brewer, 609 A.2d 1166 (Me. 1992)

Town of Vienna v. Kokernak, 612 A.2d 870 (Me. 1992)

Aucella v. Town of Winslow, 628 A.2d 120 (Me. 1989)(Aucella III)

Flower v. Town of Phippsburg, 644 A.2d 1031 (Me. 1984)

Hamm v. Town of Medway, 644 A.2d 1388 (Me. 1994)

Central Maine Power Co. v. Town of Moscow, 649 A.2d 320 (Me. 1994)

          (BPTR)

City of Waterville v. Waterville Homes, Inc., 655 A.2d 365 (Me. 1995)       

(BPTR)

Glenridge Development Co. v. City of Augusta, 662 A.2d 928 (Me. 1995)

          (BPTR)

Muirgen Properties, Inc. v. Town of Boothbay, 663 A.2d 55 (Me. 1995)

IBM Credit Corp. v. City of Bath, 665 A.2d 663 (Me. 1995)(BPTR)

Wesson v. Town of Bremen, 667 A.2d 596 (Me. 1995)

Champion Intl. Corp. v. Town of Bucksport, 667 A.2d 1376 (Me. 1995)

City of Lewiston v. Tri-State Rubbish, Inc., 671 A.2d 955 (Me. 1996)

Weekley v. Town of Scarborough, 676 A.2d 932 (Me. 1996)

Bangor Publishing Co. v. Town of Bucksport, 682 A.2d 227 (Me. 1996)

McCullough v. Town of Sanford, 687 A.2d 629 (Me. 1996)

Finance Authority of Maine v. City of Caribou, 1997 ME 95, 694 A.2d 913

Town of Sanford v. J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, 694 A.2d 456 (BPTR)

McNaughton v. Kelsey, 1997 ME 182, 698 A.2d 1049

Interstate Food Processing Corp. v. Town of Ft. Fairfield, 1997 ME 193,

          698 A.2d 1074

Quoddy Realty Corp. v. City of Eastport, 1998 ME 14, 704 A.2d 407

Mobile Imaging Consortium v. City of Portland, 1998 ME 15, 704 A.2d 415

(BPTR)

Livonia v. Town of Rome, 1998 ME 39, 707 A.2d 83

S. D. Warren Co. v. Town of Standish, 1998 ME 66, 708 A.2d 1019

Nugent v. Town of Camden, 1998 ME 92, 710 A.2d 245

Ellen M. Leach Memorial Home v. City of Brewer, 1998 ME 118, 711 A.2d

149 (BPTR)

Rackliffe v. Northport Village Corp., 1998 ME 114, 711 A.2d 1282

Delogu v. City of Portland, 1998 ME 246, 720 A.2d 1153 (Delogu I) 

Goldstein v. Town of Georgetown, 1998 ME 261, 721 A.2d 180

Town of Freeport v. Ring, 1999 ME 48, 727 A.2d 901

City of Biddeford v. Adams, 1999 ME 49, 727 A.2d 346 (BPTR)

Fitzgerald v. City of Bangor, 1999 ME 50, 726 A.2d 1253

Town of Pownal v. Anderson, 1999 ME 70, 728 A.2d 1254

Capodilupo v. Town of Bristol, 1999 ME 96, 730 A.2d 1257

Pepperman v. Town of Rangeley, 1999 ME 157, 739 A.2d 851

 

See Stewart v. Town of Sedgwick, 2000 ME 157, 757 A.2d 773

Town of Southwest Harbor v. Harwood, Trustee, Cranberry Point Realty

Trust, 2000 ME 213, 763 A.2d 115

Forbes v. Town of Southwest Harbor, 2001 ME 9, 763 A.2d 1183

Yusem v. Town of Raymond, 2001 ME 61, 769 A.2d 865

Ocwen Federal Bank, FSB v. Gile, 2001 ME 120, 777 A.2d 275

Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2 v. Town of Ashland, 2003 ME 28, 

818 A.2d 1021 (BPTR)

International Woolen Co. v. Town of Sanford, 2003 ME 80, 827 A.2d 840

          (BPTR)

Ram’s Head Partners, LLC v. Town of Cape Elizabeth, 2003 ME 131,

          834 A.2d 916

Delogu v. City of Portland, 2004 ME 18, 843 A.2d 33 (Delogu II)

Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME 54, 850 A.2d 1145

Roberts v. Town of Southwest Harbor, 2004 ME 132, 861 A.2d 617

Town of Waltham v. PPL Maine, LLC, 2006 ME 88, 901 A.2d 816

State v. Falcone & Jannetti, 2006 ME 90, 902 A.2d 141, cert. denied,

          549 U.S. 1078 (2006)

UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP v. Town of Winslow, 2007 ME 36, 921 A.2d 146

          (BPTR)

Stevenson v. Town of Kennebunk, 2007 ME 55, 930 A.2d 1046, motion for

          reconsideration denied, 2007 ME 135, 930 A.2d 1051

Peaker v. City of Biddeford, 2007 ME 105, 927 A.2d 1169 (Peaker I)

Peaker v. City of Biddeford, 2008 ME 98, 950 A.2d 764 (Peaker II)

Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n v. Board of Selectmen/Assessors for the

          Town of Bristol, 2008 ME 159, 957 A.2d 977

 

Terfloth v. Town of Scarborough, 2014 ME 57, ___ A.3d ___

 

 

                    II.  Exemption From Taxation Cases

 

        Revenue Producing Municipal Facilities (30 M.R.S. § 4262)

 

Town of East Millinocket v. Town of Medway, 486 A.2d 739 (Me. 1985)

 

                         Abandoned Railroads (36 M.R.S. § 561)

 

Maine Central R.R. Co. v. Town of Dexter, 588 A.2d 289 (Me. 1991)(BPTR)

 

                              Public Property (36 M.R.S. § 651)

 

Brewer Brick Co. v. Inhabitants of Brewer, 62 Me. 62 (1873)

State v. Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. 488, affd, 96 U.S. 499 (1877)

City of Portland v. Portland Water Co., 67 Me. 135 (1877)

 

Inhabitants of Camden v. Camden Village Corp., 77 Me. 530, 1 A. 689

          (1885)

City of Rockland v. Rockland Water Co., 82 Me. 188, 19 A. 163 (1889)

          (also section 656)

 

City of Augusta v. Augusta Water Dist., 101 Me. 148, 63 A. 663 (1906)

 

Laughlin v. City of Portland, 111 Me. 486, 90 A. 318 (1914)

 

City of Belfast v. Hayford Block Co., 120 Me. 517, 115 A. 282 (1921)

Inhabitants of Whiting v. Inhabitants of Lubec, 121 Me. 121, 115 A. 896

          (1922)

Inhabitants of Ashland v. Wright, 139 Me. 283, 29 A.2d 747 (1943)

Greaves v. Houlton Water Co., 140 Me. 158, 34 A.2d 693 (1944)

(Greaves I)

City of Bangor v. City of Brewer, 142 Me. 6, 45 A.2d 434 (1946)

Greaves v. Houlton Water Co., 143 Me. 207, 59 A.2d 217 (1948)

(Greaves II)

 

Inhabitants of Boothbay v. Inhabitants of Boothbay Harbor, 148 Me. 31,

          88 A.2d 820 (1952)

Inhabitants of Owl’s Head v. Dodge, 151 Me. 473, 121 A.2d 347 (1956)

Marshall v. Inhabitants of Town of Bar Harbor, 154 Me. 372, 148 A.2d

687 (1959)

 

Opinion of the Justices, 231 A.2d 431 (Me. 1967)

 

Howard D. Johnson Co. v. King, 351 A.2d 524 (Me. 1976)

Exxon Corp. v. Maine Turnpike Authority, 351 A.2d 534 (Me. 1976)

 

Town of East Millinocket v. Town of Medway, 486 A.2d 739 (Me. 1985)

Town of Madison v. Town of Norridgewock, 544 A.2d 317 (Me. 1988)

 

Passamaquoddy Water Dist. v. City of Eastport, 1998 ME 94, 710 A.2d 897

Town of Embden v. Madison Water Dist., 1998 ME 154, 713 A.2d 328

          (BPTR)

Portland Water Dist. v. Town of Standish, 1999 ME 161, 740 A.2d 564

 

                 Institutions and Organizations (36 M.R.S. § 652)

 

Inhabitants of Baldwin v. Trustees of Ministerial Fund, 37 Me. 369 (1854)

          (also section 655)

 

Maine Baptist Missionary Convention v. City of Portland, 65 Me. 92 (1876)

 

City of Bangor v. Rising Virtue Lodge, No. 10, Free and Accepted Masons,

 73 Me. 428 (1882)

 

Inhabitants of Foxcroft v. Straw, 86 Me. 76, 29 A. 950 (1893)

Inhabitants of Foxcroft v. Piscataquis Valley Campmeeting Ass’n, 86 Me. 78,

29 A. 951 (1893)

City of Auburn v. Y.M.C.A. of Auburn, 86 Me. 244, 29 A. 992 (1894)

State v. Hamlin, 86 Me. 495, 30 A. 76 (1894)

 

Curtis v. Androscoggin Lodge, No. 24, Independent Order of Odd Fellows,

          99 Me. 356, 59 A. 518 (1904)

Inhabitants of Orono v. Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. 214, 74 A. 19

(1909)

 

Inhabitants of Orono v. Kappa Sigma Society, 108 Me. 320, 80 A. 831

(1911)

Inhabitants of Gorham v. Trustees of Ministerial Fund, 109 Me. 22,

82 A. 290 (1912)

 

Ferry Beach Park Ass’n of Universalists v. City of Saco, 127 Me. 136,

          142 A. 65 (1928)(Ferry Beach Park I)

 

Camp Emoh Associates v. Inhabitants of Lyman, 132 Me. 67, 166 A. 59

          (1933)

Ferry Beach Park Ass’n of Universalists v. City of Saco, 136 Me. 202,

          7 A.2d 428 (1939)(Ferry Beach Park II)

 

City of Lewiston v. All Maine Fair Ass’n, 138 Me. 39, 21 A.2d 625 (1941)

Calais Hospital v. City of Calais, 138 Me. 234, 24 A.2d 489 (1942)

Osteopathic Hospital of Maine v. City of Portland, 139 Me. 24, 26 A.2d 641

(1942)

MacDonald v. Stubbs, 142 Me. 235, 49 A.2d 765 (1946)

O’Connor v. Wassookeag School, Inc., 142 Me. 86, 46 A.2d 861 (1946)

 

Green Acre Baha’i Institute v. Town of Eliot, 150 Me. 350, 110 A.2d 581  

          (1954)(Green Acre Baha’i I)

 

Green Acre Baha’i Institute v. Town of Eliot, 159 Me. 395, 193 A.2d 564  

(1963)(Green Acre Baha’i II)

Holbrook Island Sanctuary v. Inhabitants of the Town of Brooksville,

          161 Me. 476, 214 A.2d 660 (1965)

See Johnson v. South Blue Hill Cemetery Ass’n, 221 A.2d 280 (Me. 1966)

 

State Y.M.C.A. v. Town of Winthrop, 295 A.2d 440 (1972)

Maine Medical Center v. Lucci, 317 A.2d 1 (Me. 1974)

Hurricane Island Outward Bound v. Town of Vinalhaven, 372 A.2d 1043

          (1977)

Nature Conservancy, Pine Tree State, Inc. v. Town of Bristol, 385 A.2d 39

          (1978)

 

Pentecostal Assembly of Bangor v. Maidlow, 414 A.2d 891 (Me. 1980)

Silverman v. Town of Alton, 451 A.2d 103 (Me. 1982)

Alpha Rho Zeta v. Inhabitants of City of Waterville, 477 A.2d 1131

(Me. 1984)

Christian Schools, Inc. v. Town of Rockport, 489 A.2d 513 (Me. 1985)

See City of Waterville v. Colby College, 512 A.2d 1039 (Me. 1986)

Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development Corp. v. Town of Madawaska,

          523 A.2d 581 (Me. 1987)

Advanced Medical Research Foundation v. Town of Cushing, 555 A.2d

          1040 (Me. 1989)

 

Camps Newfound/Owatonna, Inc. v. Town of Harrison, 604 A.2d 908

          (Me. 1992)(Camps Newfound/Owatonna I)

American Martial Arts Foundation v. City of Portland, 635 A.2d 962

          (Me. 1993)

Town of Poland v. Poland Spring Health Institute, Inc., 649 A.2d 1098

          (Me. 1994)

Camps Newfound/Owatonna, Inc. v. Town of Harrison, 655 A.2d 876

          (Me. 1995)(Camps Newfound/Owatonna II), rev’d, 520 U.S. 564

(1997)

Episcopal Camp Foundation, Inc. v. Town of Hope, 666 A.2d 108

(Me. 1995)

City of Lewiston v. Marcotte Congregate Housing, Inc., 673 A.2d 209

          (Me. 1996)(BPTR)

Camps Newfound/Owatonna, Inc. v. Town of Harrison, 1998 ME 20,

          705 A.2d 1109 (Camps Newfound/Owatonna III) 

The Salvation Army v. Town of Standish, 1998 ME 75, 709 A.2d 727

City of Lewistown v. The Salvation Army, 1998 ME 98, 710 A.2d 914

(BPTR)

 

Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center v. Town of Limington, 2001 ME

16, 769 A.2d 834 (Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I)

Cushing Nature & Preservation Center v. Town of Cushing, 2001 ME

149, 785 A.2d 342 (also farm and open space case)

Credit Counseling Centers, Inc. v. City of South Portland, 2003 ME 2, 814

A.2d 458

Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center v. Town of Limington, 2006 ME

44, 896 A.2d 287 (Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II)

 

Humboldt Field Research Institute v. Town of Steuben, 2011 ME 130,

36 A.3d 873

 

Estates of Veterans (36 M.R.S. § 653)

 

Inhabitants of Mechanic Falls v. Millett, 121 Me. 329, 117 A. 93 (1922)

Inhabitants of Athens v. Whittier, 122 Me. 86, 118 A. 897 (1922)

 

Inhabitants of the Town of Solon v. Holway, 130 Me. 415, 157 A. 236

          (1931)

 

Stockman v. City of South Portland, 147 Me. 376, 87 A.2d 679 (1952)

 

Dillon v. Johnson, 322 A.2d 332 (Me. 1974)

 

Lambert v. Wentworth, 423 A.2d 527 (Me. 1980)

 

                            Personal Property (36 M.R.S. § 655)

                    (not including cases considered by the Board of

             Environmental Protection pursuant to section 655(1)(N))

 

Gardiner Cotton & Woolen Factory Co. v. Inhabitants of Gardiner, 5 Me.

          133 (1827)

 

Inhabitants of Baldwin v. Trustees of Ministerial Fund, 37 Me. 369 (1854)

          (also section 652)

 

Farnsworth Co. v. Inhabitants of Lisbon, 62 Me. 451 (1872)(Farnsworth

Co. I)

Donnell v. Inhabitants of Webster, 63 Me. 15 (1874)

 

See Opinion of the Justices, 102 Me. 527, 66 A. 726 (1907)

 

Inhabitants of Leeds v. Maine Crushed Rock & Gravel Co., 127 Me. 51,

          141 A. 73 (1928)  

 

Inhabitants of Town of Milo v. Milo Water Co., 129 Me. 463, 152 A. 616

          (1930)(Milo Water Co. I)

Inhabitants of Town of Milo v. Milo Water Co., 131 Me. 372, 163 A. 163

          (1932)(Milo Water Co. II)

Milo Water Co. v. Inhabitants of Town of Milo, 133 Me. 4, 173 A. 152 (1934)

          (Milo Water Co. III)

Inhabitants of Town of Holden v. James, 136 Me. 115, 3 A.2d 431 (1939)

 

Opinion of the Justices, 141 Me. 442, 42 A.2d 47 (1945)

 

See Bridges Bros., Inc. v. Board of Assessors of the City of Calais,

223 A.2d 71 (Me. 1966)

 

Depositors Trust Co. v. City of Belfast, 295 A.2d 28 (Me. 1972)

 

Inhabitants of Town of Farmington v. Hardy’s Trailer Sales, Inc.,

          410 A.2d 221 (Me. 1980)

Roberta, Inc. v. Inhabitants of Town of Southwest Harbor, 449 A.2d 1138

          (Me. 1982)

 

Jordan-Milton Machinery, Inc. v. City of Brewer, 609 A.2d 1166 (Me. 1992)

Eagle Rental, Inc. v. City of Waterville, 632 A.2d 130 (Me. 1993)

Handyman Equipment Rental Co., Inc. v. City of Portland, 1999 ME 20,

          724 A.2d 605

 

                            Real Estate (36 M.R.S. § 656)

                    (not including cases considered by the Board of

              Environmental Protection pursuant to section 656(1)(E))

 

Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co. v. City of Saco, 60 Me. 196 (1872)

Plaisted v. Inhabitants of Lincoln, 62 Me. 91 (1873)

 

City of Rockland v. Rockland Water Co., 82 Me. 188, 19 A. 163 (1889)

          (also section 651)

Town of Paris v. Norway Water Co., 85 Me. 330, 27 A. 143 (1893)

Inhabitants of Dover v. Maine Water Co., 90 Me. 180, 38 A. 101 (1897)

 

See City of Portland v. New England Tel. & Tel. Co., 103 Me. 240, 68 A.

          1040 (1907)

 

Portland Terminal Co. v. City of Portland, 129 Me. 264, 151 A. 460 (1930)

In re Maine Central R.R. Co., 134 Me. 217, 183 A. 844 (1936)

Portland Terminal Co. v. Hinds, 134 Me. 434, 187 A. 716 (1936)(Hinds I)

 

Portland Terminal Co. v. Hinds, 141 Me. 68, 39 A.2d 5 (1944)(Hinds II)

 

Connecticut Bank & Trust Co. v. City of Westbrook, 477 A.2d 269 (Me. 1984)

 

 

III.  Classified Property Cases

 

See Knox Lime Co. v. Maine State Highway Comm., 230 A.2d 814 (Me. 1967)

(condemnation case,, and not a mine site case, but discusses valuing mineral resources)

 

See Opinion of the Justices, 335 A.2d 904 (Me. 1975)(tree growth)

Augusta Water Dist. v. Town of Readfield, 349 A.2d 768 (Me. 1976)

          (open space)

 

Dubois v. City of Saco, 645 A.2d 1125 (Me. 1994)(tree growth)

McBreairty v. Comm’r of Administrative & Financial Services, 663 A.2d 50

          (Me. 1995)(tree growth)

Chase v. Town of Machiasport, 1998 ME 260, 721 A.2d 636 (tree growth)

 

Cushing Nature & Preservation Center v. Town of Cushing, 2001 ME 149,

          785 A.2d 342 (farmland and open space; also section 652)

 

 

IV.  Equalized Municipal Valuation Cases

 

Town of Thomaston v. Bureau of Taxation, 490 A.2d 1180 (Me. 1985)

Bureau of Taxation v. Town of Washburn, 490 A.2d 1182 (Me. 1985)

Bureau of Taxation v. Town of Madison, 541 A.2d 939 (Me. 1988)

 

 

V.  Poverty Cases

(not including ancient pauper cases)

 

Macaro v. Town of Windham, 468 A.2d 604 (Me. 1983)

Joyce v. Town of Lyman, 565 A.2d 90 (Me. 1989)

 

Dodge v. Town of Norridgewock, 577 A.2d 346 (Me. 1990)

Gilmore v. City of Belfast, 580 A.2d 698 (Me. 1990)

Mason v. Town of Readfield, 1998 ME 201, 715 A.2d 179

 

Sager v. Town of Bowdoinham, 2004 ME 40, 845 A.2d 567

Hustus v. Town of Medway, 2004 ME 41, 845 A.2d 563

 

 


IMPORTANT POINTS FROM THE DECISIONS

 

 

                                I.  General Principles

 

Act of Separation by which Maine became a state

 

Trustees of Ministerial Fund, 109 Me. at 24-26, 82 A. at 291-

          92

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 17 n.4, 843 A.2d at 37 n.4

 

 

Taxation is an inherent attribute of sovereignty essential to the existence of government and exercised for the public good

 

                   Littlefield, 50 Me. at 476 (“The payment of taxes is the price

paid for the protection which government gives to person and to property”)

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 197

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 496

                   Camden Village Corp., 77 Me. at 536, 1 A. at 691

                   Inhabitants of Whiting, 121 Me. at 122, 115 A. at 897

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 3, 4, 145 A. at 242

                   Milo Water Co. II, 131 Me. at 378, 163 A. at 166

                   Norwood, 138 Me. at 195, 24 A.2d at 236

                   MacDonald, 142 Me. at 239, 49 A.2d at 767

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 185, 187, 91 A.2d at 324, 325

                   Mandarelli, 320 A.2d at 27 (“Taxation is the life-maintaining

process to government itself . . .  Taxation is recognized as a sovereign right.  As such it is an attribute of sovereignty.  It is essential to the very existence of government”)

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1136

 

 

Maine Constitution, Art. IX, § 8; the basis for all this discussion; oft-cited

                  

                   Paul I, 84 Me. at 216, 24 A. at 818 (“The purpose of the

constitutional provision is to equalize public burdens and not to assume those of individuals”)

                   Sawyer, 109 Me. at 181-82, 83 A. at 679  

Opinion of the Justices, 339 A.2d at 508-10 (excess

apportionment law to reimburse school districts for school construction is unconstitutional because effectively higher in some districts than others)         

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 927 (Forest Fire Suppression Act, 36

M.R.S. §§ 2711-2714, violates Art. IX, § 8 because it imposes a property tax not apportioned and assessed according to value of land)      

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶ 17, 720 A.2d at 1156 (“all property

taxes assessed must be assessed on an equal basis”)

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 12, 843 A.2d at 36 (“Article IX,

Section 8 mandates equality” and “prohibits munici-palities from engaging in unjust discrimination in the assessment of real estate taxes or the apportionment of real estate tax burdens”)

                   Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME 54, ¶ 9, 850 A.2d at 1148-

49 (initiated bill that would tax property on “full cash value” would violate Art. IX, § 8 by not taxing property at just value); ¶¶ 16-19,  850 A.2d at 1150-51 (initiated bill that would tax property differently according to date or purchase, depending on date of purchase—on either “full cash value” or “appraised value”—would violate Art. IX,

§ 8)

UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 11, 921 A.2d at 150

          (Constitution requires uniformity in mode of assessment

          and rate of taxation to ensure that all property owners

          share property tax burden equitably)

Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶ 11, ___ A.3d at ___

 

 

Historical changes to Art. IX, § 8

 

                   Hamlin, 86 Me. at 592, 30 A. at 79

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 16 & n.3, 843 A.2d at 37 & n.3

 

 

Art. IX, § 8 does not require that all property be taxed, but that whatever is taxed shall be assessed equally

 

                   Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 74

                   Portland Water Co., 67 Me. at 136-37

                   Opinion of the Justices, 102 Me. at 528, 66 A. at 727

                   Opinion of the Justices, 141 Me. at 447, 42 A.2d at 49

                   Opinion of the Justices, 155 Me. at 47, 152 A.2d at 89 (but

unlike property taxes, in cases of intangible personal property, Legislature may provide one mode of assessment as to one class and another mode as to another class)

                   Passamaquoddy Water Dist., 1998 ME 94, ¶ 11, 710 A.2d at

          900

                   Northport Village Corp., 1998 ME 114, ¶ 8, 711 A.2d at 1284

 

 

Art. IX, § 8 establishes two requirements for a valid property tax: a valuation requirement and an apportionment requirement

 

Hamlin, 86 Me. at 502, 30 A. at 79 (“section 8 . . . provides

for an equal apportionment and assessment according to value”)

Eastler, 499 A.2d at 924 (valuation requirement is to deter-

          mine just or market value; apportionment requirement

is to asses equally according to just value)

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 11, 721 A.2d at 640 (Art. IX, § 8

                             incorporates two concepts for assessing property: (1)                                 fair market value and (2) equity—that is, relative                                    uniformity with comparable properties) 

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 9 n.6, 769 A.2d at 870 n.6 (quoting

                             Chase)

                   Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME 54, ¶ 14, 850 A.2d at 1150

(quoting Eastler); ¶ 15, 850 A.2d at 1150 (“property taxes must be based on market value and must be apportioned equally according to that value”)

Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶ 11, ___ A.3d at ___ (an assessment

must be supported by two factual findings: (1) the property must be assessed at fair market value; and (2)

the assessed value must be equitable, that is, the property must be assessed at a relatively uniform rate comparable to property in the district)

 

 

To assess property according to its just value is a fundamental requirement of law

 

                   Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 243, 184 A. at 766 (“It is

incumbent on the assessors not to tax on an assessment above a just and fair value”)

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 734

                   Maine Consolidated Power Co., 219 A.2d at 749, 751

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 389

 

 

Assessment is to represent the owner’s equal portion or just proportion of the public burden of taxation

 

                   Patterson, 42 Me. at 377

                   Gower, 83 Me. at 146, 21 A. at 847

                   Paul I, 84 Me. at 216, 24 A. at 818

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 68, 166 A. at 60

                   Maine Consolidated Power Co., 219 A.2d at 749

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 924

                   J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶ 13, 694 A.2d at 459

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 14, 727 A.2d at 349

                  

 

The only permissible variation in the amount of tax is that resulting from the difference in value

 

                   Opinion of the Justices (In re State Taxation), 97 Me. at 597,

55 A. at 827

                   Maine Consolidated Power Co., 219 A.2d at 750

                   Passamaquoddy Water Dist., 1998 ME 94, ¶ 11, 710 A.2d at

901

 

 

To single out certain property and impose a tax upon it unequally in comparison to other property is unconstitutional

 

                   Opinion of the Justices, 123 Me. at 577, 121 A. at 904           

                       

 

Art. IX, § 7: The Maine Constitution requires decennial assessments, proportioned to entire estates with a taxed district to meet continuing and regularly recurring expenses

 

                   Hamlin, 86 Me. at 502, 30 A. at 79

 

 

Art. IX, §§ 7 and 8 are to be construed together; they do not require an absolute equality (given that the Legislature may exempt certain properties)

 

                   Hamlin, 86 Me. at 502, 503, 30 A. at 79

 

 

Property taxes, authorized by the Legislature and assessed locally, are among the oldest sources of revenue to maintain local governments

 

                   Norwood, 138 Me. at 195, 24 A.2d at 236

 

 

A state property tax that the Legislature has directed municipalities to collect cannot lawfully be held by the municipalities even if the law were to be declared unconstitutional

 

                   McGary, 356 A.2d at 707-08

 

 

Statutory implementation of constitutional provision

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 733 (section 708)

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 389

 

 

Taxation is legislative

 

                   Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 73-74 (“The legislature may deter-

                             mine the amount of taxation and select the object”)

                   Paul I, 84 Me. at 215, 24 A. at 818 (“. . . all taxes . . . must be

levied by the legislature. . . .”)

                   Prime, 98 Me. at 52, 56 A. at 208 (“Taxes can be legally

assessed only by authority of the statute”)

                   Livermore Falls Trust & Banking Co., 103 Me. at 424,

                             69 A. at 308-09 (“It is elementary that no tax can be

imposed without express statutory authority”)

                   In re Maine Central R.R. Co., 134 Me. at 219, 183 A. at 845

                   Hinds II, 141 Me. at 72, 39 A.2d at 7

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 211, 59 A.2d at 219

                   Green Acre Baha’i II, 159 Me. at 399, 193 A.2d at 566

                   Depositors Trust Co., 295 A.2d at 30

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 25, 27, 843 A.2d at 39, 40

 

 

The Legislature is never presumed to have relinquished its power of taxation

 

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 197-98

 

 

The Legislature cannot suspend its powers of taxation, Art. IX., § 9, or bind itself never to repeal or change a tax law in the future

 

                   Paul I, 84 Me. at 215, 24 A. at 818

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 5, 145 A. at 243

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 213, 59 A.2d at 220

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 185, 91 A.2d at 324

                   Opinion of the Justices, 155 Me. at 48, 152 A.2d at 90

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 28, 843 A.2d at 40

 

 

The Legislature has the same power to repeal a tax as to impose it

 

                   North, 57 Me. at 394

Berry, 322 A.2d at 328

 

 

The state can tax every person subject to its jurisdiction for all of his property wherever situated

 

                   Kimball, 91 Me. at 607, 40 A. at 667

 

 

The state can tax persons outside its jurisdiction for all their property within its jurisdiction

 

                   Kimball, 91 Me. at 607, 40 A. at 667

 

 

The taxing power of the state stops at the state’s boundary line

 

                   Kimball, 91 Me. at 607, 40 A. at 667

 

 

Maine has taxed its unorganized areas from its beginning as a state

 

                   Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 242, 184 A. at 766

 

 

Essential elements of taxation are (1) jurisdiction over the property; (2) property subject to taxation; (3) duly elected and qualified assessors; (4) property belonging to the party; and (5) a written order of selectmen that suit be brought in the name of the municipality

 

                   Emery, 86 Me. at 366-67, 29 A. at 1097 (re 5)

                   Ulmer II, 87 Me. at 362, 32 A. at 974 (re 1, 2, 3, and 4)

                   Lawry, 89 Me. at 584, 36 A. at 1104 (re 5)

                   Butterfield, 98 Me. at 160, 56 A. at 583 (re 1, 2, and 3)

                   Whittier, 122 Me. at 90, 118 A. at 898 (re 3, 4, and 5)

                   Vigue, 138 Me. at 209, 24 A.2d at 242 (re 3)

                   Hinds II, 141 Me. at 72, 39 A.2d at 7 (re 4)

                   Hardy’s Trailer Sales, 410 A.2d at 224 (re all 5)

 

 

Taxation involves two solely legislative steps: (1) determining the nature of the tax to be imposed; and (2) determining its effective imposition to insure collection and availability to the state for the purposes for which it is raised

 

                   Mandarelli, 320 A.2d at 27-28

 

 

Taxes may be imposed only for public purposes

 

                   Hooper, 14 Me. at 378-79

                   Allen, 60 Me. at 127-28

                   Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 73

                   Laughlin, 111 Me. at 491, 90 A. at 320

                   Portland Pier Site Dist., 120 Me. at 22, 112 A. at 840

                   Bangor Recreation Center, 150 Me. at 35, 103 A.2d at 340

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 923, 927 n.9

                   Northport Village Corp., 1998 ME 114 ¶ 8, 711 A.2d at 1284

Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶ 10, 720 A.2d at 1155

 

 

Public purpose is not dependent on voter approval, public ownership of the facilities at issue, or the economic need of the recipient of the aid

 

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶ 13, 720 A.2d at 1155

                  

 

Courts give great deference to legislative findings of public purpose

 

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶ 11, 720 A.2d at 1155

 

 

What the Legislature calls a tax is entitled to deference, but the characterization is not controlling

                  

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 925

 

 

Courts have a more limited role than the Legislature in providing means for citizens to obtain relief from abusive state action

 

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 328

 

 

All taxes—state, county, and local—are levied and collected by public officers acting for and under the authority of the state

 

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 44, 19 A. at 96

Ulmer I, 84 Me. at 507, 24 A. at 950

Milo Water Co. II, 131 Me. at 378, 163 A. at 166

Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 4, 145 A. at 242

In re Maine Central R.R. Co., 134 Me. at 219-20, 183 A. at 845

Dolloff, 148 Me. at 185, 187, 91 A.2d at 324, 325

 

 

Under Art. IX, § 9, the Legislature cannot surrender, or wholly delegate to a municipality, the right of taxation (or the right to exempt property from taxation), such that when municipalities tax they do so for the state

                  

                   Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 74-76

Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 496, 504, 506 (even to a

legislatively created corporation, except by the most clear and explicit language)

Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 4, 145 A. at 242-43

Dolloff, 148 Me. at 185, 91 A.2d at 324

Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 26, 843 A.2d at 39-40; id. ¶¶ 33-43

843 A.2d at 41-43 (concurring op.)

 

 

A municipality has no sovereignty, but is merely an agency of the state, with only those powers granted by the state

 

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 4, 145 A. at 242-43

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 185, 91 A.2d at 324

 

 

Municipalities act as agents of the state in the assessment and collection of taxes

 

                   Hooper, 14 Me. at 378

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 44, 19 A. at 96

                   Ulmer I, 84 Me. at 505-06, 24 A. at 950

                   Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. at 478, 84 A. at 997

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 4, 145 A. at 242

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 183-84, 185-86, 91 A.2d at 323, 324

                   Magno, 486 A.2d at 142

                  

 

A municipality has no power of taxation absent state legislative authority

                  

                   Paine, 5 Me. at 405       

                   Hooper, 14 Me. at 378

                   Carlton, 77 Me. at 415, 1 A. at 198

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 43-44, 19 A. at 96

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 4, 145 A. at 242

In re Maine Central R.R. Co., 134 Me. at 220, 183 A. at 845

 

 

Municipalities are treated very differently in regard to taxation, and do not have the same power as does the Legislature

 

Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 15, 843 A.2d at 37 (they “are

prohibited from taking unilateral actions to adopt exemptions, abatement or repayment schemes that result in unequal apportionment of property tax burdens with their boundaries”); id. ¶ 20, 843 A.2d at 38 (“legislative authorization is a prerequisite for a municipal property tax rebate or repayment program targeting selected properties”)

 

 

Powers of municipal corporations

 

                   Dover & Foxcroft Village Fire Co., 96 Me. at 548-52, 53 A. at

65-66

Laughlin, 111 Me. at 498, 90 A. at 323

Brunswick School Dist., 134 Me. at 422-23, 187 A. at 707

                   Greaves I, 140 Me. at 160-63, 165, 34 A.2d at 694-95, 696

 

 

A municipality’s authority to tax is delimited by its boundaries, which are fixed by the Legislature, and cannot be acquired or altered by prescription

 

                   Eden, 108 Me. at 77, 78 A. at 1128

 

 

A municipality can tax real estate within its boundaries, whether of residents or nonresidents, but not real estate outside the municipality

 

                   Briggs, 29 Me. at 473

                   Church, 47 Me. at 172

                   Judkins, 48 Me. at 387

                   Hathaway, 48 Me. at 450

                   Hall, 69 Me. at 347

                   Blake, 74 Me. at 283-84

                   Proprietors of Portsmouth Bridge, 78 Me. at 97, 2 A. at 847

                   Rockland Water Co., 82 Me. at 193, 19 A. at 164

                   Norway Water Co., 85 Me. at 335, 27 A. at 145-46 (property

is to be taxed where it is located)

Maine Water Co., 90 Me. at 182, 38 A. at 102 (same)

 

 

Municipalities cannot treat nonresidents and residents differently for taxation purposes, absent legitimate reasons to do so

 

                   Aucella III, 628 A.2d at 124

 

 

Whether the Legislature may create special districts, or unorganized territories, and provide for taxation of them, and do so differently from other areas so long as there is a special benefit to the taxed district or territory, reasonably proportionate to the tax burden, and taxes are uniformly assessed within the district or territory

 

                   Inhabitants of School Dist. No. 1, in Greene, 12 Me. 254

(passim)(school district is a quasi-corporation with limited powers)

                   Farmington Village Corp., 70 Me. at 526 (police and fire

protection corporation)

                   Dover & Foxcroft Village Fire Co., 96 Me. at 553-57, 53 A. at

66-68 (fire protection corporation)

                   Opinion of the Justices (In re State Taxation), 97 Me. at 597,

55 A. at 827

                   Augusta Water Dist., 101 Me. 148, 63 A. 663

                   Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. at 476-78, 84 A. at 996-97

                             (Maine Forestry District)

                   Portland Pier Site Dist., 120 Me. at 21-22, 112 A. at 839

                   Crabtree, 122 Me. at 21, 118 A. at 791 (bridge district)

                   Brunswick School Dist., 134 Me. at 419-20, 187 A. at 705-06

(irrelevant that taxing district and town it served had identical territory and inhabitants, so long as they had different taxation purposes)

Opinion of the Justices, 144 Me. at 419, 66 A.2d at 377

(same)

Waterville Sewerage Dist., 146 Me. at 216, 79 A.2d at 588

          (same)

                   Bangor Recreation Center, 150 Me. at 36-37, 103 A.2d at 341

                   Inhabitants of the Town of Stonington, 403 A.2d 1181

(passim)

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 922, 927 (Maine Forestry District taxation

                             scheme unconstitutional)

                   McBreairty, 663 A.2d at 54

                   Northport Village Corp., 1998 ME 114, ¶, 711 A.2d at 1284

(village tax provided improvements for village residents; benefits to nonresidents were only incidental)

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 17, 843 A.2d at 37-38 (Legislature

may deviate, on a state-wide basis, from equal apportionment and assessment mandates, as by exemptions); id. ¶¶ 29-30, 843 A.2d at 40 (Portland

Tax Relief Program violates Art. IX, §§ 8, 9)

 

 

A municipality cannot assess taxpayers of a school district to pay for erection of school in excess of that authorized for its construction

 

                   Carlton, 77 Me. at 415-418, 1 A. at 198-99

 

 

A tax cannot be levied on only a portion of real estate of a municipality created as a part of the whole, or on only one piece of real estate but not another similarly situated

 

                   Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 74-76

                   Farmington Village Corp., 70 Me. at 522, 526 528

                   Dover & Foxcroft Village Fire Co., 96 Me. at 554, 53 A. at 67

 

 

The Legislature may authorize a municipal corporation to buy, via taxation, an existing waterworks system even though the corporation will be compelled to carry out the obligations of the original water company for some outside the limits of the purchasing municipality

         

                   Dover & Foxcroft Village Fire Co., 96 Me. at 556-57, 53 A. at 68

 

 

Where a municipality is granted power to create a municipal debt, it has the right to levy taxes to pay the debt in the absence of any other means

 

                   Huse, 112 Me. at 450, 92 A. at 520

 

 

Municipalities rely on property taxes for revenue

 

                   Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME 54, ¶ 4, 850 A.2d at 1148

 

 

The property tax is a tax on the ownership of property (while an excise tax is levied only on use of property, with funds often dedicated to a particular industry)

 

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 924 & nn. 6, 7, 927

 

 

To determine whether a tax is a property tax or an excise tax, look to the method of establishing the tax rate (which is significant but not conclusive) and to what was being taxed (the subject matter of the taxation), which is the central issue

 

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 924-25

 

 

A property tax may be so unreasonable or oppressive as to be confiscatory

 

                   Opinion of the Justices, 123 Me. at 580, 121 A. at 905

 

 

Double taxation on the same property is against public policy, and is to be avoided

 

                   Augusta Bank, 36 Me. at 259

                    Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 199

                   Wheeler, 88 Me. at 180, 33 A. at 985 (tax on real property of

                             corporation to corporation itself and tax on shares of

corporation to shareholders)

                   Livermore Falls Trust & Banking Co., 103 Me. 418, 69 A. 306

(passim)(same)

                   Stevens, 115 Me. at 404, 99 A. at 95

                   Cf. Depositors Trust Co., 295 A.2d at 30 (no double taxation

may be imposed unless applicable statutes clearly require it)

 

 

It is not incumbent upon assessors to tax when it is not practicable

 

                   Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 243, 184 A. at 766 (as, for

example, when determination of existence of property would entail expense incommensurate with the profit of the tax to the state)

 

 

Property taxes are usually fixed by dividing the total sum to be raised by the total valuation of the property, the ratio yielding the tax rate

 

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 925

 

 

The Legislature is not required to distribute tax revenues or benefits equally; some private interests may benefit more than others, and the Constitution does not require commensurate contribution so long as there is a rational basis for the difference in treatment

 

                   Smyth, 31 Me. at 286

                   Paul I, 84 Me. at 215-17, 24 A. at 818

                   Bayville Village Corp., 110 Me. at 50-52, 85 A. at 302-03

                   Crabtree, 122 Me. at 21-23, 118 A. at 791-92 (to require

taxation to be exactly proportionate to benefits would paralyze the taxing power)

                   Lambert, 423 A.2d at 531 (distinguishing between classes of

veterans and their eligibility for veterans’ exemption)

                   McBreairty, 663 A.2d at 54 (distinguishing between

apportionment and assessment of taxes and the distribution of tax revenues)

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶ 18, 720 A.2d at 1156 (tax increment

                             financing; distinguishing between assessment and                                    spending of tax revenues)

 

 

Tax reimbursement programs

 

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶¶ 5, 6, 720 A.2d at 1154 (business

and equipment tax reimbursement (BETR), 36 M.R.S. §§ 6651-6659; tax increment financing (TIF), 30-A M.R.S. §§ 5251-5261)

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶¶ 5-8, 843 A.2d at 35-36 (Portland  

Property Tax Relief Program); id. ¶ 13, 843 A.2d at 37 (under the program, property taxes are apportioned unequally)

 

 

Tax increment financing (TIF) districts, 30 M.R.S. § 5253

 

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶ 23, 720 A.2d at 1157

 

 

Explanation of tax increment financing

 

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶ 19, 720 A.2d at 1156           

 

 

Constitutionality of tax increment financing

 

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶¶ 17-18, 720 A.2d at 1156

 

 

A tax is an assessment for a public purpose; assessments for local improvements are not taxes

 

                   Farmington Village Corp., 70 Me. at 522

                  

 

Assessments compared to taxes

 

                   Farmington Village Corp., 70 Me. at 526-28

 

 

A tax is an impost levied by the authority of government, upon its citizens, for support of the state

 

                   North, 57 Me. at 394

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 5, 145 A. at 243

 

 

A tax is not a debt (an amount due upon an agreement), or a demand

 

                   North, 57 Me. at 394

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 508

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 5, 145 A. at 243

 

 

A tax is not a contract

 

                   North, 57 Me. at 394

                   Hall, 123 Me. at 81, 121 A. at 551

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 5, 145 A. at 243

 

 

A municipality cannot accept a promissory note in lieu of payment of taxes: a note given for taxes does not discharge them; town treasurer cannot accept a note for payment of taxes, and assessors cannot ratify such acceptance and release one from liability to pay

 

                   Bunker, 86 Me. at 314, 29 A. at 1085-86

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 4, 145 A. at 242-43

 

 

Each municipality can determine for itself when taxes and interest on unpaid taxes are due, 36 M.R.S. § 505

 

                   Rockland Water Co., 82 Me. at 195-96, 19 A. at 165

 

 

Where a municipality did not vote to fix date when taxes should be payable, or that interest should be collected, no interest is due, 36 M.R.S. § 504

 

                   Snow, 77 Me. at 431-32, 1 A. at 243-44

                   Whittier, 122 Me. at 90, 118 A. at 898

                   Swazey, 132 Me. at 38, 165 A. at 165

                   McKay Radio & Telegraph II, 132 Me. at 325-26, 170 A. at 61

 

 

A void tax is no tax, and one is under no obligation to pay it

 

Hathaway, 48 Me. at 450

Lord, 51 Me. at 600-01

                   Woodman, 76 Me. at 551

                   Bridge, 90 Me. at 493, 38 A. at 546

Morrill, 95 Me. at 170, 49 A. at 668

                   Talbot, 116 Me. at 210, 100 A. at 938

 

 

A tax on a dead person is void

 

                   Morrill, 95 Me. at 168, 49 A. at 667

 

 

Abatement proceedings are the appropriate means through which to correct impermissible assessments

 

Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 128, 122 A. at 52  

                             (discrimination)

Capodilupo, 1999 ME 96, ¶ 4, 730 A.2d at 1258

 (overvaluation)

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶¶ 24-25, 727 A.2d at 351

                             (discrimination)

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 15, 834 A.2d at

920-21 (discrimination)

Town of Bristol Taxpayer’s Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 6 n.5,

          957 A.2d at 979 n.5 (discrimination)

 

           

Abatement procedures cannot be used to remedy a void assessment or

where the taxing authority is challenged as invalid

 

                   Herriman, 43 Me. at 500

                   Hathaway, 48 Me. at 450

                   Talbot, 116 Me. at 210, 100 A. at 938

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 324

                   Edgerly, 392 A.2d at 106

                   S. D. Warren, 1998 ME 66, ¶ 8, 708 A.2d at 1021

                  

 

One cannot recover a tax paid on ground it was illegal unless he paid it under protest or duress, which can exist only when a failure to pay produces irreparable injury: arrest or seizure of property

 

                   Smith, 27 Me. at 147

                   Rogers, 58 Me. at 393

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 326-27 (and this rule is equally applicable

                             when the challenge is to the constitutionality of a tax)

                   Exxon Corp., 322 A.2d at 536

                   McGary, 356 A.2d at 705, 707 (taxpayer has no right to a

refund of a state tax, voluntarily paid, even if the tax is later declared unconstitutional)

 

 

As a rule, all real estate is taxable (that is, unless subject to exemption)

 

                   Augusta Bank, 36 Me. at 259

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 197, 198, 200

                   Camden Village Corp., 77 Me. at 532, 1 A. at 689

                   Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. at 217, 74 A. at 21

                   Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 242, 184 A. at 766

Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1136

 

 

When land is taxed to a person, the primary obligation is upon the land

 

                   Hall, 123 Me. at 81, 121 A. at 551

 

 

What constitutes real estate, 36 M.R.S. § 551: all lands and all buildings and things erected on or affixed to land; this is a very broad definition

 

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 198 (all land

and buildings affixed to land)

                   Hall, 69 Me. at 347 (boom across river)

                   Proprietors of Portsmouth Bridge, 78 Me. at 97, 2 A. at 847

                             (bridge)

                   Rockland Water Co., 82 Me. at 194, 19 A. at 164 (aqueducts,

conduits, etc.)

                   Norway Water Co., 85 Me. at 332, 27 A. at 144 (same)

                   Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 242, 184 A. at 766 (all land

and all tenements and hereditaments connected thereto)

                   Stevens, 115 Me. at 403-04, 405, 99 A. at 95, 95-96 (bridge,

toll house, and land affixed thereto)

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 481, 121 A.2d at 352 (airport and build-

ings thereon)

                   Bangor-Hydro Electric Co., 226 A.2d at 374-79 (logs which

become telephone poles are personal property subject to sales tax, not real property, even after being set into ground)

PPL Maine, 2006 ME 88, ¶ 6, 901 A.2d at 818 (land, structures

affixed to land, and land with water power           appertaining thereto)

 

 

What constitutes fixtures

         

                   Norway Water Co., 85 Me. at 332, 27 A. at 144 (aqueducts,

conduits, etc. of water company not exempt)

John P. Squire & Co., 106 Me. at 237-41, 76 A. at 680-82

          (lengthy discussion of fixtures; five-story refrigerated                       unit is a fixture not taxable as personal property)

                   Inhabitants of Whiting, 121 Me. at 126-27, 128, 115 A. at 899

(poles and transmission lines exempt)

                   Greaves I, 140 Me. at 165, 34 A.2d at 696 (same; not exempt

outside jurisdiction of quasi-municipal corporation)

 

 

Commitment of taxes or warrant for collection, imposing liability, relates back to April 1st of the given year

 

                   Egery, 56 Me. at 46

 

 

One’s residence on April 1st of one year is immaterial on the question of residence in another year

 

                   Lucy Farnsworth II, 93 Me. at 184, 44 A. at 682

 

 

Change of ownership after April 1st is irrelevant until next April 1st

                  

                   Woodman, 68 Me. 33

                   Finance Authority of Maine, 1997 ME 95, ¶ 5, 694 A.2d at 915

 

 

What constitutes residency or domicile, subjecting one to taxation, as of April 1st of tax year

 

                   Judkins, 48 Me. at 387 (one cannot be domiciled in two

municipalities at once when he moves)

                   Rowell, 49 Me. at 369-70 (inhabitant means a resident in

any place; everyone must have a domicile somewhere, but no more than one; residence depends on presence without present intent to depart)

                    Littlefield, 50 Me. at 476-78 (every inhabitant of the state is

an inhabitant of some place and has an established residence, or dwelling, somewhere; where one is an inhabitant is where he has his domicile, which is a residence or dwelling at a particular place; this is a question of intent to remain)

                   Parsons, 61 Me. at 460-61 (change of domicile requires both

intent to, and fact of, move; one who leaves city on March 30th, moves out of state, and does not return is not taxable in that city although he wife remained there)

                   Staples, 66 Me. at 198-99 (ship’s master deemed a resident

of town in which he was domiciled and intended to live after his return from sea, not town in which he had previously resided)

                   Porterfield, 67 Me. at 557 (ship’s master was not liable for

tax in city where he had never lived, and in which his wife has resided temporarily while he was at sea; she could not change his domicile without intent on his part to change it)

                   Walker, 71 Me. at 182 (plaintiff who removed his goods from

another town upon learning that town intended to tax him was taxable in town to which he took goods and where he had taken up residence although he was not present there on April 1st)

                   Lucy Farnsworth I, 89 Me. at 483-84, 36 A. at 989-90

(attorney’s describing taxpayer as “of Rockland” in another case not binding as to her in present case)

                   Gilmartin, 131 Me. at 238-40, 160 A. at 875-76 (one may have

more than one residence, that is, places equipped as dwellings, but can have only one domicile, which is a combination of intent to remain and acts; taxpayer has burden to establish both, and failed to do so here)

                   Reid, 132 Me. at 416, 171 Me. at 908 (one may defend an

action to recover tax on real estate by showing he is not an inhabitant of taxing town)

                   Falcone and Jannetti, 2006 ME 90, ¶ 9, 902 A.2d at 143

(domicile has two components: residence and the

intent to remain; 36 M.R.S. § 5102(5) is not

unconstitutionally vague)

 

 

That one is an inhabitant of a municipality is a material fact to be pled and proved under statute requiring assessment of property of owners where they are inhabitants, and one who is not an inhabitant is not liable for payment of taxes

 

                   Mary Farnsworth, 83 Me. at 229, 22 A. at 103-04

 

 

Domicile may be difficult to determine, but assessors must decide

 

                   Nowell, 61 Me. at 430

 

 

How to treat a residence sitting on the line of two towns

 

Judkins, 48 Me. at 387 (tax situs is where the most

necessary and indispensable part is located)

 

 

Discussion of taxation where the locus of property, as between two adjacent towns, was confused

 

                   Blaney, 455 A.2d 1381 (passim)

 

 

What constitutes tax liability, 36 M.R.S. § 553: ownership or possession

 

                   Varney, 22 Me. at 334 (owner of life estate was properly

                             assessed taxes during his tenancy)

                   Hobbs, 32 Me. at 70 (assessors may (continue to) assess

tenants unless, prior to last assessment, municipality

is notified of change in ownership or occupancy)

                   Coombs, 34 Me. at 90-91, 92 (between mortgager and

mortgagee, the latter is the owner, but the former is the owner as regards all others; mortgagee in possession may be taxed; but when ownership of premises is in the mortgager for taxation purposes, a tenant acquires no title by assessment and sale of them as property of the mortgagee)

                   Williams, 35 Me. at 554-55 (a mortgagee of property is the

owner until possession is taken by the mortgagor, who then is responsible for paying taxes, 36 M.R.S. § 554)

Inhabitants of Baldwin, 37 Me. at 368-69 (legal interest is

sufficient for tax liability)

                   Desmond, 48 Me. at 480 (lessor of wharf liable for tax)

                   Garland, 73 Me. at 98-99 (owner of life estate was properly

                             assessed taxes during his tenancy)

                   Wheeler, 88 Me. at 180, 33 A. at 985 (“Real estate must be

taxed to the owner or person in possession”; munici-pality must deduct from a shareholder’s preferred stock in a company his proportional share of the value of the company’s real estate which is also taxed to the company) 

                   Kelley, 110 Me. at 365, 86 A. at 254 (owner of life estate was

properly assessed taxes during his tenancy)

                   Murray, 120 Me. at 474-75, 115 A. at 257-58 (tenant may be

required to pay taxes on real estate)

                   Inhabitants of Whiting, 121 Me. at 127, 115 A. at 900 (“For

purposes of taxation a person in possession may be considered as the owner”)

                   Livermore Falls Trust Co., 136 Me. at 106, 3 A.2d at 106

(holder of quitclaim deed may be taxed without further examination by assessors of record title)

                   Snell, 137 Me. at 68, 15 A.2d at 151 (land may be assessed

to either owner or person in possession on April 1st, and assessors may continue to tax person to whom land was last assessed, although ownership or occupancy has changed, unless notified of change) 

Hinds II, 141 Me. at 73, 39 A.2d at 7 (where one’s interest in

a building is merely contractual it is taxable to the lessor as owner of the entire property; where the interest of the building owner attains the status of a separable and distinct estate the building is taxable to the building owner); id. at 78, 39 A.2d at 9 (owner of building on leased land is owner for tax purposes; lessee of building on leased land is owner for tax purposes during lease)

Dodge, 151 Me. at 480-81, 121 A.2d at 352 (“A person in

possession of real estate is liable for taxes thereon”; lessee liable for taxes if not otherwise exempt)

Seaborne, 464 A.2d at 222 (“real estate taxes may be assessed

          either to the owner or to a nonowner who is in possession”)

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1136 (ownership may refer strictly

                             to title owner or to one having possession and control)

Mason, 1998 ME 201, ¶¶ 6, 8, 715 A.2d at 181 (mortgagors are

          owners for property tax purposes, but not one buying the

          property under an installment contract)   

                   PPL Maine, 2006 ME 88, ¶¶ 7-10, 12, 901 A.2d at 818-19

                             (owner of flowage rights holds an easement appurtenant,                         a non-possessory interest, in submerged land, and so

                             cannot be taxed as one in possession of such)

         

 

A tax can be imposed only on the owner as listed in the tax rolls, not an individual, even though the land to be taxed was described in deeds as being owned by the individual, where the individual had agreed to pay such taxes as the grantors knew they had to pay, and there was none

 

                   Tozier I, 135 Me. at 52-53, 188 A. at 774

 

 

A joint tenant or tenant in common may be considered the sole owner unless he or she has notified the assessor of one’s interests to the contrary, 36 M.R.S. §§ 555, 557

 

                   Blaney, 455 A.2d at 1386

                   See Brackett, 562 A.2d at 139-40

                   See Anderson, 1999 ME 70, ¶ 15, 728 A.2d at 1257

 

 

Assessment when the assessor has received notice of division of property by devise or names of devisees, 36 M.R.S. § 557

 

                   Swazey, 132 Me. at 38, 165 A. at 165

 

 

Where personal property is to be taxed; see 36 M.R.S. §§ 602, 603

 

                   Campbell, 33 Me. at 420 (logs located in one town were

taxable there only if owner “occupied” a mill or wharf in that town)

                   Desmond, 48 Me. at 479-81 (logs and lathe taxable in town

where wharf was located and taxpayer occupied wharf, although he lived elsewhere)

                   Look, 51 Me. at 376 (town cannot tax one who was not an

inhabitant on April 1st)

                   Brown, 53 Me. at 523 (logs not yet driven by April 1st to

sawmill were taxable in town where owner owns and occupies sawmill, as constructively present there)

                   Stockwell, 59 Me. at 288-89 (property of partnership, logs on

wharf, were taxable in city where partnership did business; they did not “occupy” wharf in other town where partners lived, and were not taxable there)

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 200-01 (all

personal property is taxed to the owner where he is an inhabitant; property of a corporation is taxed where the corporation has its place of business)

Waite, 66 Me. at 226 (store and stock of goods taxable by

town where they were located)

                   Martin, 81 Me. at 296-97, 17 A. at 73 (resident of town not

taxable in city where he maintained an office from which he conducted aspects of his business, but could not be said to have maintained a shop)

                   Gower, 83 Me. at 145-46, 21 A. at 847 (property employed in

trade taxable where mill was located, not where owner resided; cords of cut and split firewood, ready for sale, taxable where situated)

                   Creamer, 91 Me. at 513, 40 A. at 557 (follows Campbell)

Kimball, 91 Me. at 607-11, 40 A. at 667-69 (interest on

          intangible property, annunities, held out of state by    trustees for in-state annuitants not taxable in Maine);

          91 Me. at 611, 40 A. at 669 (but annuitants in Maine

          may be taxed)

                   Berlin Mills Co., 93 Me. at 337-39, 45 A. at 40 (follows Brown

and Gower; finished logs ready for sale taxable where situated)

                   Watson, 98 Me. 379, 57 A. 79 (passim)(goods were not

employed in trade and taxable where stored if merely held there for sale elsewhere)

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. II, 104 Me. at 279-80, 71 A. at

888-89 (wood in transit to mill was “employed . . . in the mechanic arts” in town where mill is located, and was not taxable in town where situated on April 1st; statute looked to real employment of property, not preparatory acts; follows Brown and Berlin Mills)

                    Willis, 105 Me. 54, 72 A. 733 (passim)(one must “occupy” a

mill to be taxed where it is located)

                   McCann, 107 Me. at 398, 78 A. at 467 (follows Watson)

                   Hanscome, 108 Me. at 134, 79 A. at 381 (although lumber

did not actually occupy landing place on April 1st, it was taxable in town where landing place was located; follows Brown)

                   Estate of Charles Forster, 109 Me. at 231, 83 A. at 672

(property not employed in trade or in the mechanic arts, and so were not taxable where stored during one step among many in transit to ultimate destination; follows Creamer and Watson)

                   E. I. duPont deNemours Powder Co., 109 Me. at 238, 83 A. at

664 (manufacture of lumber into shipping boxes is a mechanic art to be employed where manufacturing was to take place, and taxable there, not where it was situated on April 1st; follows Berlin Mills, Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. II, Hanscome, and McCann)

                   Morton, 115 Me. at 72, 97 A. at 219 (potatoes not employed

in trade were not taxable in town where stored)

                   Machias Lumber Co., 122 Me. at 307, 119 A. at 807 (logs

awaiting arrival in town in which company had its main business were taxable in that town, not where they were located on April 1st and where they were not to be sold, following Watson, McCann, and Morton)

                   Desjardins, 124 Me. at 117, 126 A. at 487 (portable mills are

personal property, unlike permanent mills; all manufac-tured lumber, whether of permanent or portable mills, was taxable in town where it was situated on April 1st)

                   Maine Crushed Rock & Gravel Co., 127 Me. at 55-56, 141 A.

at 74-75 (machinery is not articles employed in trade, which refers to trade in town where they are prepared for market, and was not subject to tax where not employed in the manufacture of goods)

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 144 Me. at 252-53, 262, 68 A.2d at

13-14, 18 (goods warehoused in South Portland for delivery to customers ordering goods in Portland, or sent to retail store in Portland for sale, were employed in trade, and taxable, in Portland (but statute passed immediately following decision changed result))  

                   Dead River Co., 149 Me. at 359-60, 103 A.2d at 128-29

(pulpwood, not a manufactured product, taxable in city of residence of owner; railroad ties, finished and ready for use, are manufactured product taxable where situated)

                   N. J. Gendron Lumber Co., 151 Me. at 453, 120 A.2d at 561

                             (manufactured lumber, awaiting shipment for sale, is

taxable at mill site, though employed in trade in the place to which it was to be sent for retail sale)

                   Hardy’s Trailer Sales, 410 A.2d at 223-24 (house trailers

were finished products and are taxable where kept for sale)

Richard L. Hodges, Inc., 420 A.2d at 250 (state cannot tax

          personal property permanently located outside state)

Jordan-Milton Machinery, Inc., 609 A.2d at 1167 (machinery

of nonresident business taxable where property is situated on April 1st, not where owner does business in state)

                   Tri-State Rubbish, Inc., 671 A.2d at 956 (equipment that is

not office equipment is taxable where taxpayer resides, that is, has its principal place of business)

                   Mobile Imaging Consortium, 1998 ME 15, ¶ 5, 704 A.2d at

                             416-17 (mobile MRI units were “professional                                              apparatuses” and so not taxable in principal place of                                 business of owner, but where they were situated on                                 April 1st)

 

 

Assessment of property of estates, 36 M.R.S. §§ 559, 605

 

                   Spinney, 69 Me. at 32

                   Bridge, 90 Me. at 493, 38 A. at 546 (executor or administrator

                             is liable for tax on personal property of decedent)

                   Prime, 98 Me. at 52, 56 A. at 208 (same)

Estate of Paradis, 134 Me. at 336 186 A. at 673 (heirs and

devisees are responsible for taxes accruing upon real estate after death of decedent)

                   Kramer, 144 Me. at 240-41, 67 A.2d at 536-37

                   Gray, 150 Me. at 102, 104 A.2d at 426

 


II.  Procedural Issues

 

Maine statutory procedures provide aggrieved taxpayers an adequate remedy at law

 

Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶¶ 4-5, 705 A.2d

at 1111-12 (and fact that one may have to appeal does not defeat this conclusion)

 

 

Tax avoidance by law is not tax evasion

 

                   Cf. Boyd, 86 Me. at 318, 29 A. at 1062 (“A refusal to pay a

                             tax is one thing.  A failure to pay is another.”)

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1139

                   See Falcone & Jannetti, 2006 ME 90, ¶ 29 n.13, 902 A.2d at

                             151 n.13 (dissenting op.)

 

 

36 M.R.S. § 152 gives a property owner the option to pay under protest or not pay an assessed tax without forfeiting the right to apply for an abatement or seek review of the validity of tax

                  

                   Town of East Millinocket, 486 A.2d at 742

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 588 A.2d at 291 n.3

 

 

BPTR or board of assessment review must decide case based only on

evidence in the record

 

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 10, 727 A.2d at 349 (BPTR)

                   Forbes, 2001 ME 9, ¶ 14, 763 A.2d at 1188 (BAR)

 

 

Board of assessment review can rely on evidence from another case, if it makes that evidence a part of the record in the case at issue

 

                   Forbes, 2001 ME 9, ¶¶ 15-17, 763 A.2d at 1188-89

 

 

Board of assessment review can ask parties to shorten their presentations when it has just reviewed similar cases

 

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 12 n.5, 763 A.2d at 118 n.5

 

 

Improper for Board of Property Tax Review member to visit the property in litigation without notice to parties

 

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶¶ 7-12, 727 A.2d at 348-49

 

 

In the absence of a record of findings, a court will assume assessors considered problems complained of (N. B.: point not to be followed after

Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I)

 

                   Frank, 407 A.2d at 171

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 394

                   Lipski, 602 A.2d at 1172

 

 

Municipality must state sufficiently its reasons for denying taxpayer’s claim, and may not be conclusory

                  

                   Dodge, 577 A.2d at 347 (poverty abatement)

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I, 2001 ME 16, ¶ 14,

769 A.2d at 838 (exemption)

Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 17, 769 A.2d at 872 (assessment)

Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 13, 814 A.2d at 462

          (exemption)

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶¶ 8, 17,

818 A.2d at 1024, 1026 (assessment; Board may not simply deem an expert’s opinion “not credible,” without more)

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 16, 834 A.2d at 921.

                   Peaker I, 2007 ME 105, ¶ 13 n.6, 927 A.2d at 1172 n.6

                             (quoting Ram’s Head Partners)

 

 

Assessors cannot reject a party’s evidence without support for doing so; unexplained mental conclusions are not sufficient; otherwise, one has used merely arbitrary guesswork and speculation

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 738-39 (in context of

                             substantial overvaluation)

 

 

Arbitrary assessment will be struck down in discrimination cases

 

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 307 (conscious resort to arbitrary

                             methods, treating like properties differently and

                             imposing unequal burdens on properties with the

same value, will invalidate assessment)

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 17, 727 A.2d at 350 (assessor acted

on “gut feeling”)

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 13, 834 A.2d at 920

(noting admission by assessor in cited case that his method of assessment was arbitrary)

 

 

Claim that administrative agency relied on incompetent evidence must be accompanied by a showing of prejudice

 

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 11, 814 A.2d at 462

 

 

Fact that there is conflicting evidence in the record, allowing for the drawing of different conclusions, does not mean there is a lack of substantial evidence for the conclusion reached by the local board

 

                   Forbes, 2001 ME 157, ¶ 6, 763 A.2d at 1186

 

 

Where the record of a hearing is incomplete or inadequate, a remand for a new hearing is required

 

                   Inhabitants of Levant, 67 Me. at 437

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I, 2001 ME 16,

¶ 17 n.6, 769 A.2d at 840 n.6

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 18-19, 834 A.2d at

921-22

 

 

Protective orders governing Board prevent the disclosure of confidential documents

 

                   Bangor Publishing Co., 682 A.2d at 230-31

 

 

Board of Property Tax Review has only adjudicatory functions and no enforcement authority

 

                   Town of Washburn, 490 A.2d at 1185

 

 

Board of assessment review has no enforcement authority

 

                   Freeport Minerals Co., 437 A.2d at 642 n.1

 

 

Motions to dismiss, because a taxpayer is arguably barred from the right to pursue relief, may inevitably lead to consideration of the merits of the case

 

Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 478, 214 A.2d at 662

                   Depositors Trust Co., 295 A.2d at 30          

Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 526-27

 

 

Technical defenses are not favored in administrative proceedings

 

                   Kellar, 20 Me. at 202 (absence of signing of assessment)

                   Moan, 50 Me. at 353 (“the defence is technical in character,

and though the defects in the proceedings of the town are numerous, they are not of such a character as will authorize the defendants to take refuge behind them”)

Reed, 78 Me. at 282, 4 A. at 691 (designation of defendants as administrators rather than executors does not void  assessment)

Whitmore, 79 Me. at 188-89, 9 A. at 121 (list of assessments not signed by assessors)

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 47 (difference between “D. Knowlton &

Co.” and “D. Knowlton Company” too slight to invalidate

collection of taxes)

Ulmer I, 84 Me. at 507-08, 24 A. at 950-51 (grouping of three

properties for single assessment; but see now 36          M.R.S. § 708)

Ulmer II, 87 Me. at 359-61, 361-62, 32 A. at 972-73, 973-74           (omissions or irregularities that have not occasioned                taxpayer any loss or injustice will be disregarded;              supplemental assessment did not increase tax

liability)

Belfast Hotel Co. I, 89 Me. at 382-83, 36 A. 622 (tax collector

          joined in his declaration school district tax with state, county, and city taxes)

Lawry, 89 Me. at 583-84, 36 A. at 1104 (lists committed to

tax collector need not contain exact description of real estate; “If the collector made no objection, it is difficult to see on what ground the defendant can base his complaint”)

Blair, 104 Me. at 445-46, 72 A. at 178 (election of assessors)

Sherwin-Burrill Soap Co., 108 Me. at 128, 79 A. at 378 (no

possible harm could result to taxpayer over question whether there was a vacancy in the office of tax collector; “the tax is neither increased nor diminished”)

Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. at 474, 84 A. at 995-96 (election

and qualification of assessors)

                   Lucy Farnsworth III, 111 Me. at 317-18, 89 A. at 66 (error in

naming person to be assessed)

Huse, 112 Me. at 452-53, 92 A. at 521 (village corporation

copying previous assessment of town rather than making an original and independent assessment)

                   Whittier, 122 Me. at 90, 118 A. at 898 (commitment of

          supplemental list of taxes not covered by original

warrant, and signed in name of selectmen rather than assessors)

                   U. S. Pegwood & Shank Co., 123 Me. at 380-81, 123 A. at 171

(lack of uniformity of names of town officials; sufficiency of return of warrant for town meeting; sufficiency of oaths administered to assessors, tax collector, and town treasurer; qualification of tax collector, and name of party taxed)

Tozier I, 135 Me. at 47-48, 188 A. at 772 (precise name of

          land or lake association when it was know as well by    one name as the other)

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 484-85, 121 A.2d at 354 (signing of

supplemental assessment)

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 364 (city’s reliance 

on typographical error regarding tax years at issue  

is “unworthy of modern, simplified administrative procedure”)

 

 

Lesser standards of due process apply to tax collections than to laws of general application

 

                   Norwood, 138 Me. at 197, 24 A.2d at 237

 

 

Flexibility is required in administrative proceedings

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 364

                   Kokernak, 612 A.2d at 874

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 599 n.6

 

 

Comments by board of assessment review are not evidence of wrong legal standard

 

                   McCullough, 687 A.2d at 630-31

 

 

But courts may examine them to shed light on incomplete or ambiguous findings

 

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 14 n.1, 834 A.2d at

920 n.1

 

 

Administrative proceedings are (generally) not governed by the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 364-65

                  

 

Application of now-M.R. Civ.P. 6(a)                

 

                   Cressey I, 75 Me. at 394-95 (when act to be done by law falls

                             on a Sunday, the act must be done by the next day)

                   Fenlason, 109 Me. at 327-28, 84 A. at 409-10 (time period

                             specifying when legal action can be taken begins on

                             day after precipitating event)

 

 

Administrative proceedings are (generally) not controlled by the Maine Rules of Evidence

 

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 11, 814 A.2d at 462

 

 

Decision of the State Board of Assessment Review or BPTR is final agency action under APA, 5 M.R.S. § 11001

 

                   Rice, 433 A.2d at 389, 391 (State Board of Assessment

Review)

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931 n.6 (BPTR)

 

 

Decisions of municipal and state administrative agencies are accorded finality of judicial decisions

 

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 588 A.2d at 292

 

 

Tax abatement appeals are judicial proceedings

 

                   Wheeler, 88 Me. at 182, 33 A. at 986

                   S. D. Warren Co., 138 Me. at 286, 25 A.2d at 648

 

 

To permit tax proceedings to be extended without just cause is against public interest, for municipalities depend upon prompt action by tax officials and prompt payment of taxes for their maintenance, and this is hampered by long, unjustified delays

 

                   Smyth, 31 Me. at 286-87

                   S. D. Warren Co., 138 Me. at 286-87, 25 A.2d at 649

 

 

Effect of wrong characterization or designation of person to be assessed

 

                   Farnsworth Co. II, 65 Me. at 22-23 (taxes may be collected

from a corporation whose name is misstated in the assessment and tax list only through mistake of the assessors)

                   Spinney, 69 Me. at 31-32 (real estate cannot be taxed to

heirs when it has been given to devisees)

                   Woodman, 76 Me. at 550-51 (taxes could not be assessed

against an estate when there was an administratrix)

                   Reed, 78 Me. at 282, 4 A. at 691 (calling executors adminis-

trators of no consequence)

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 47 (difference between “D. Knowlton &

Co.” and “D. Knowlton Company” too slight to invalidate

collection of taxes)

                   Lucy Farnsworth III, 111 Me. at 317-18, 89 A. at 66 (calling

an administratrix an executrix of no consequence)

                   U. S. Pegwood & Shank Co., 123 Me. at 381, 123 A. at 172

(assessment against “United States Pegwood . . .” rather than “U. S. Pegwood . . .” of no consequence)

Tozier I, 135 Me. at 47-48, 188 A. at 772 (difference between

Unity Land & Lake Improvement Association” and “United Lake Land and Improvement Association” of no consequence)

 

 

Who may bring suit in the name of a municipality, see now 36 M.R.S. § 1032

 

                   Goodwin, 67 Me. at 262 (suit to recover taxes may be

                             brought in name of inhabitants of town)

                   Boyd, 86 Me. at 318-19, 29 A. at 1063 (town officers must

                             exercise discretion in each case, and cannot simply

                             give blanket authorization to tax collector)

                   Emery, 86 Me. at 365, 29 A. at 1096 (selectmen may direct

                             tax collector in writing to bring action of debt)

                   Small, 89 Me. at 158, 36 A. at 108 (written direction to bring

                             suit need not include time and place of direction)

Milo Water Co. I, 129 Me. at 465, 152 A. at 616-17 (tax

          collector had no right to bring suit to recover taxes

for town without written directive from selectmen) 

Cleary, 132 Me. at 118-19, 167 A. at 694-95 (mayor and

                             treasurer, not order of board of alderman and common                             council with mayor’s approval)

                   Jonah, 134 Me. at 430, 187 A. at 472 (mayor and treasurer,

                             not city manager whose role is only administrative)

                   PPL Maine, 2006 ME 88, ¶ 6, 901 A.2d at 818 (municipality

                             may bring suit for collection of taxes)

         

 

Abatement appeals should not be captioned as against a municipal board of assessment review because such a board has no enforcement authority

(although this rule has not been followed religiously by the Law Court)

 

                   Freeport Minerals Co., 437 A.2d at 642 n.1

 

 

Abatement proceedings against the tax collector and assessor are really suits against the municipality

 

Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶ 15, 705 A.2d

                             at 1114

 

 

Unnecessary to caption cases as “Inhabitants of the Town of . . . ,” etc.

(although this rule has not been followed religiously by the Law Court)

 

                   Town of Washburn, 490 A.2d at 1185

 

 

Tax warrants need not be captioned “In the name of the State of Maine,” etc.

 

                   Mussey, 3 Me. at 302

 

 

Scope of judicial review

 

                   Wheeler, 88 Me. at 182, 33 A. at 986 (courts have no right to

review only the exercise of judgment of county commis- sioners in valuing property)

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 268, 59 A. at 86

(courts are not boards of equalization)

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 33, 180 A. at 805 (courts do not

sit to review or correct mere errors)

                   Gaston, 150 Me. at 294, 110 A.2d at 594 (same)

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 739 (same)

 

 

Judicial review of administrative decision is limited: complete re law, but only as to reasonableness of conclusions

 

                   Frank, 322 A.2d at 170

 

 

Judicial deference to administrative agency’s interpretation of statute or procedure

 

                   Roberta, 449 A.2d at 1140

                   Town of Thomaston, 490 A.2d at 1182

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 365

                   Delogu I, 1998 ME 246, ¶ 21, 720 A.2d at 1157

 

 

Commissioners/boards of assessment review are to give no deference to tax assessors, but are to review independently the assessment

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 366

                   Dodge, 577 A.2d at 347

                   Kokernak, 612 A.2d at 873

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶¶ 4, 7, 704 A.2d at 408,

409

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 13, 721 A.2d at 640

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 8, 763 A.2d at 118

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 8, 769 A.2d at 870

 

 

Courts likewise review commissioners/boards of assessment and State

Board of Property Tax Review directly

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 366

                   Lipski, 602 A.2d at 1172

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna I, 604 A.2d at 909

                   Kokernak, 612 A.2d at 873

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 322

                   Waterville Homes, 655 A.2d at 366

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931

                   Muirgen Properties, 663 A.2d at 58

Marcotte Congregate Housing, 673 A.2d at 211

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 933

                   Wesson, 677 A.2d at 598

                   Finance Authority of Maine, 1997 ME 95, ¶ 4, 694 A.2d at 914

Interstate Food Processing, 1997 ME 193, ¶ 3, 698 A.2d at 1075

                   Nugent, 1998 ME. 92, ¶ 7, 710 A.2d at 247

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 98, ¶ 5, 710 A.2d at 915

                   Madison Water Dist., 1998 ME 154, ¶ 4, 713 A.2d at 329

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 14, 721 A.2d at 640

                   Goldstein, 1998 ME 261, ¶ 5, 721 A.2d at 181

                   Pepperman, 1999 ME 157, ¶ 3, 739 A.2d at 852

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 6, 763 A.2d at 117

Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I, 2001 ME 16, ¶ 4,

769 A.2d at 836

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 7, 769 A.2d at 869

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 10, 814 A.2d at

461-62

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 9,

818 A.2d at 1024 (substantial evidence review of Board’s findings are equated with clearly erroneous review of court findings)

UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 7, 921 A.2d at 149

Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 7, 957 A.2d

at 979

Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶ 3, 36 A.3d

          at 874

Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶ 10, ___ A.3d at ___

 

 

All statutory requirements for perfecting an appeal are jurisdictional and require strict compliance

 

                   Rice, 433 A.2d at 391

 

 

Taxpayer must appeal in a timely manner to avoid finality of administra-tive decision

 

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 588 A.2d at 292

 

 

Where appeal period of one case was tolled, but not that of other cases tried with it but not formally consolidated, appeals of them must be dismissed when usual appeal period ended before appeals were taken because timely filing of appeals are mandatory and jurisdictional

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. II, 219 A.2d at 746-47

 

 

Where the decision of local board of assessment review has not determined the amount of abatement, an appeal of that decision is interlocutory and must be dismissed, as the determination to be made is neither ministerial nor collateral

 

                   Peaker I, 2007 ME 105, ¶ 13, 927 A.2d at 1172

 

 

Appeal taken to Law Court directly from decision of local board of assessment review, rather than to Superior Court, must be dismissed because no final judgment exists

 

                   Peaker II, 2008 ME 98, ¶¶ 7, 8, 950 A.2d at 765

 

 

Supplementing record on appeal disapproved

 

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 599 n.7

 

 

Freedom of Access Act, 1 M.R.S. §§ 401-410

 

                   Bangor Publishing Co., 682 A.2d at 229-30

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 6-10, 721 A.2d at 638-40

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶¶ 16-18, 769 A.2d at 872

                   Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 6 n.4,

                             957 A.2d at 978 n.4

 

 

Adequacy of notice of appeal under the Administrative Procedure Act

 

                   Town of Thomaston, 490 A.2d at 1181-82

 

 

State does not admit liability by waiving immunity from suit

 

                   Keyes, 121 Me. at 313, 117 A. at 171

 

 

“Aggrieved party”/Standing

 

                   In re Maine Central R.R. Co., 134 Me. at 220, 183 A. at 845

                   Mandarelli, 320 A.2d at 25

                   Morissette, 350 A.2d at 333-34 (individuals cannot seek

                             abatement of tax levied against corporation)

                   Seaborne, 464 A.2d at 222

                   Town of Washburn, 490 A.2d at 1185-86 (under APA)

Passamaquoddy Water Dist., 1998 ME 94, ¶¶ 8-9, 710 A.2d

at 900

                   Mason, 1998 ME 201, ¶¶ 4-6, 715 A.2d at 180-81

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 1 n.1, 843 A.2d at 34 n.1 (renters

who do not pay taxes have no standing)

 

 

A taxpayer can seek a declaratory judgment to determine whether tax assessment is invalid or void, or can proceed administratively by seeking abatement to determine whether property is improperly assessed, discriminatorily excessive, or exempt from taxation, and can join both claims

 

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 477, 214 A.2d at 661

                             (exemption)

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 324, 325-26 (illegal assessment)

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 333-34 (illegal assessment)

                   Lambert, 423 A.2d at 530 (exemption)

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1141 (exemption)

                   Christian Schools, 489 A.2d at 514 (exemption)

                   Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 583

                             (exemption)

                   Dodge, 577 A.2d at 347 & n.5 (poverty abatement)

Maine Central R.R. Co., 588 A.2d at 293 (exemption)

Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶ 4, 705 A.2d

          at 1112 (exemption)

S. D. Warren Co., 1998 ME 66, ¶¶ 7-8, 708 A.2d at 1021

          (abatement; void tax)

Passamaquoddy Water Dist., 1998 ME 94, ¶ 3, 710 A.2d at

899 (exemption)

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 16, 724

A.2d at 608-09 (exemption)

                   Capodilupo, 1999 ME 96, ¶ 4, 730 A.2d at 1258 (revaluation)

                   Portland Water Dist., 1999 ME 161, ¶¶ 1, 5, 740 A.2d at 565,

566 (exemption)

          Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶¶ 1, 19,

785 A.2d at 343, 347 (exemption)

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶¶ 8 & n.2, 14-17,

814 A.2d at 461 & n.2, 462-63 (exemption)

                   Town of Bristol Taxpayes’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 6 n.5,

957 A.2d at 979 n.5 (court properly rejected declaratory judgment in discrimination abatement case)

 

 

Declaratory judgment action can be used even if taxpayer has not fully complied with providing “true and perfect lists” of property under 36 M.R.S. § 706

 

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 16, 724

A.2d at 608-09

 

 

Declaratory judgment action cannot be used to avoid untimely appeal

 

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 588 A.2d at 292

 

 

Jurisdiction: cognizance of class of cases to which the one being adjudged belongs; proper parties; point decided must be in substance and effect within the issue

 

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 335 

 

 

Justicability

 

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 325-26

 

 

Judicial notice

 

                   Mussey, 3 Me. at 302 (statute directs assessors to issue tax

warrants to collectors)

                   Bayville Village Corp., 110 Me. at 51, 85 A. at 302-03

(contribution of summer resorts and game preserves are a matter of common knowledge and statistics)

                   Dead River Co., 149 Me. at 359, 103 A.2d at 129 (meaning of

“pulpwood”)

                   Mandarelli, 320 A.2d at 26 (pleadings)

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 335 (jurisdictional issues)

 

 

Official notice by administrative board, 5 M.R.S. § 9058

 

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 9 n.1, 727 A.2d at 349 n.1

 

 

Class actions to challenge legality of a tax assessed on all taxpayers

 

                   Carlton, 77 Me. at 411-15, 1 A. at 195-97 (semble)

 

 

Taxpayers may join together to present abatement requests, 36 M.R.S.

§ 849, M.R. Civ.P. 20

 

                   Capodilupo, 1999 ME 96, ¶ 4, 730 A.2d at 1259

                   Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 5 n.3,

                             957 A.2d at 978 n.3

 

 

Estoppel is a doctrine to be used sparingly

 

Passamaquoddy Water Dist., 1998 ME 94, ¶ 10 n.3, 710 A.2d                   at 900 n.3

 

 

There can be no estoppel asserted against the exercise by the state of its taxing power

 

                   Milo Water Co. II, 131 Me. at 379, 163 A. at 166

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 184, 186-88, 91 A.2d at 323-24, 325

                   Magno, 486 A.2d at 142

                   Flower, 644 A.2d at 1031

                   Ring, 1999 ME 48, ¶ 13, 727 A.2d at 906

                   Fitzgerald, 1999 ME 50, 726 A.2d 1253 (passim)

 

 

Waiver distinguished from estoppel

 

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 184, 91 A.2d at 323-24

 

 

Intervention

 

                   Bangor Publishing Co., 682 A.2d at 231

 

 

Mandamus

 

                   Smyth, 31 Me. at 280, 287

                   Edwards Mfg. Co., 102 Me. at 142, 66 A. at 310-11

                   Young, 161 Me. 64, 207 A.2d 392 (passim)

 

 

Mootness

 

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 327-28 (through repeal of statute)

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 304 n.1 (agreement between parties to

change name of defendant)

 

 

Res judicata (claim preclusion)/collateral estoppel (issue preclusion)

 

                   Maine Water Co., 90 Me. at 182, 38 A. at 102

                   Sevigny, 344 A.2d at 38-39

Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶¶ 8-18, 705

A.2d at 1112-15

 

 

Effect of stipulations is to bind parties in another proceeding concerning the same case

 

                   Sevigny, 344 A.2d at 39

 

 

When parties enter into stipulations on appeal, they are to be approved first by county commissioners or board of assessment review that had the initial fact-finding role

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44,

¶¶ 9 n.2, 40-41, 896 A.2d at 290 n.2, 298

 

 

Evidentiary presumptions

 

                   Eastabrook, 568 A.2d at 1100 (fact that town cannot find 30-

year old lien certificate does not defeat the presumption that it was filed)

 

 

Vagueness

 

                   Falcone and Jannetti, 2006 ME 90, ¶ 6, 902 A.2d at 143

                             (domicile for tax purposes)

 

 

One who questions the constitutionality of a law or of administrative acts must show that he was injured by such

 

                   Livermore Falls Trust Co., 136 Me. at 107, 3 A.2d at 431

                   Norwood, 138 Me. at 194, 24 A.2d at 236

                   Mandarelli, 320 A.2d at 26

                   Falcone and Jannetti, 2006 ME 90, ¶ 5, 902 A.2d at 142

 

 

The Law Court has no authority to render advisory opinions

 

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 335

 

 

Statutory canons and rules of interpretation are helpful, necessary, time-tested, and revered, but are to be judiciously consulted and applied

 

                      Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, 158 Me. at 290, 183

                             A.2d at 208

 

 

Look to legislative purpose to determine severability, 1 M.R.S. § 71(8)

 

                   Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME ¶¶ 25, 26, 850 A.2d at 1152

 

 

Specific statutory provisions take precedence over general provisions

 

Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶ 19, 705 A.2d                             at 1115

 

 

Courts are not concerned with the wisdom of statutes, but only whether they comport with the Constitution

 

                   Crabtree, 122 Me. at 20, 118 A. at 791

 

 

Whether statutes are mandatory or directory

 

                   Mussey, 3 Me. at 296-97

                   Race, 68 Me. at 354

                   Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. at 476, 84 A. at 996

                   Hann, 305 A.2d at 549-50

 

 

Tax statutes are to be construed strictly and not extended by implication

 

                    Millett, 95 Me. at 415, 49 A. at 873 (and conversely, statutes

                             that relieve citizens of tax forfeiture are to be construed                            liberally)    

                   Livermore Falls Trust & Banking Co., 103 Me. at 424, 69 A.

at 309

                   Hinds II, 141 Me. at 72, 39 A.2d at 7

 

 

Ambiguous tax statutes, imposing a burden on citizens, are to be construed in a light most favorable to the citizen

 

                   Millett, 95 Me. at 415, 49 A. at 873

                   McCarty, 158 Me. at 392-93, 185 A.2d at 129

                   Blaney, 455 A.2d at 1386

 

 

When construing a statute, look first to the plain meaning of the statutory language, seeking to give effect to legislative intent; and if the statute is clear on its face, do not look beyond the words themselves 

 

                   Tri-State Rubbish, Inc., 671 A.2d at 956

                   Intertstate Food Processing Corp., 1997 ME 193, 4, 698 A.2d                             at 1075

Ellen M. Leach Memorial Home, 1998 ME 118, ¶ 5, 711 A.2d

at 151

 

 

Statutes are to be interpreted to give effect to legislative intent and real purpose, not to nullify such

 

                   Hanscome, 108 Me. at 133, 79 A. at 380 (even if seemingly

in conflict with the words of the statute)

                   Roberta, 449 A.2d at 1140

                   Eagle Rental, 632 A.2d at 131

 

 

To determine legislative intent of a specific provision of law, court should consider entire legislation of which word or section at issue is a part

 

                   Hanscome, 108 Me. at 133, 79 A. at 380

                   Freeport Minerals Co., 437 A.2d at 644

                   Town of East Millinocket, 486 A.2d at 741

                   Town of Madison, 544 A.2d at 319

                  

 

A statutory tax scheme is to be considered as a whole in order to reach a harmonious result

 

Interstate Food Processing, 1997 ME 193, ¶ 4, 698 A.2d at 1076 

 

                  

Words and phrases in a statute are to be construed according to their common meaning

 

                   Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 244, 184 A. at 767

 

 

Words are to be given meaning and are not to be treated as meaningless and superfluous or as surplusage

 

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 9, 724 A.2d                            at 607-08

 

 

Statutes are not always to be interpreted literally, but with intent of the Legislature in mind

 

                   Hanscome, 108 Me. at 133, 79 A. at 380

 

 

Court is to look to the purpose of a statute and avoid a construction that leads to a result clearly not within the Legislature’s contemplation

 

                   Wright, 139 Me. at 285, 29 A.2d at 748

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 212, 59 A.2d at 219

                   Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, 158 Me. 289, 291, 183

                             A.2d at 207, 208 (statute that provided for appeal “not

                             less than 30 days after” deemed denial must be read as                            “within 30 days after”)   

 

 

Courts are to avoid absurd results even if that means disregarding the strict letter of the law

 

                   Wright, 139 Me. at 285, 29 A.2d at 748

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 212, 59 A.2d at 219

Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, 158 Me. at 291, 183

                             A.2d at 208

                   Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 532-33

 

 

Strict construction of statutes will not be followed so closely as to make legislation unreasonable (where statute is a trifle indistinct but its meaning ascertainable)

 

                   Inhabitants of Whiting, 121 Me. at 125-26, 126, 115 A. at 899

                   Madison Water Dist., 1998 ME 154, ¶ 7, 713 A.2d at 330

 

 

A thing within the letter of statute is not within the statute if not within the intent of the statute

 

                   Hanscome, 108 Me. at 133, 79 A. at 380

 

 

Legislation must be considered in light of changed circumstances; times change; the wants and needs of people change

 

                   McCann, 107 Me. at 400, 78 A. at 467

                   Laughlin, 111 Me. at 491, 90 A. at 320               

                   Madison Water Dist., 1998 ME 154, ¶¶ 7-8, 713 A.2d at 330

 

 

The meaning of a word in a statute depends on how the Legislature employed it

 

                   Dead River Co., 149 Me. at 358, 103 A.2d at 129

 

 

Courts may resort to dictionary definitions in construing statutes

 

                   McCann, 107 Me. at 399, 78 A. at 467

 

 

Definitions—

 

          “Domicile” means residence and the intent to remain

 

                   Falcone and Jannetti, 2006 ME 90, ¶ 9, 902 A.2d at 143

 

“Doom” means “to assess” or “the assessment”

 

                   Race, 68 Me. at 354

                   Bridge, 90 Me. at 491, 492, 38 A. at 546

                   Sweetsir, 98 Me. at 151, 56 A. at 586

         

“Doom” day (April 1st)—ownership on that date fixes tax liability, see 36 M.R.S. §§ 502, 708

         

                   Donnell, 63 Me. at 16

                   Woodman, 68 Me. 33

                   Sweetsir, 98 Me. at 154, 56 A. at 587

                   Edgerly, 377 A.2d at 109

                   Freeport Minerals Co., 437 A.2d at 643

                   Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 477 A.2d at 272

                   See Town of Thomaston, 490 A.2d at 1181

                   Finance Authority of Maine, 1997 ME 95, ¶ 5, 694 A.2d at 914

 

“Each” means every one of any number separately considered, and

“all” means every one of the whole number

 

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 510

 

          “Employed in trade” refers to things prepared for market

         

                   Maine Crushed Rock & Gravel Co., 127 Me. at 55, 141 A. at 74

 

          “Give” means to deliver, transfer, put into one’s possession, make

          over to another

 

                   Williams, 35 Me. at 553

 

“Growth” of wild land refers to the enlargement and increase of trees valuable for timber and wood

 

          Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 244, 184 A. at 767

 

“Land” or “lands” means all real estate and all tenements and hereditaments connected therewith

 

                   Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 242, 184 A. at 766

 

“Landing” or “landing place” means a place on navigable water for

taking on passengers or a place for depositing and storing logs for

transportation and shipment by water or rail

 

                   McCann, 107 Me. at 399, 78 A. at 467

                   Maine Crushed Rock & Gravel Co., 127 Me. at 55, 141 A. at

74-75

 

          To “manufacture” is to apply labor to make a new and different

article with a distinctive name, character, and use; to make, create, or produce by hand or machinery

 

                   Maine Crushed Rock & Gravel Co., 127 Me. at 56, 141 A. at 75                           (does not include quarrying of rock)

                   Buckley, 161 Me. at 332-33, 211 A.2d at 890-91 (mixing of

aggregate with asphalt under controlled heat procedures to produce hot top is manufacturing)

 

“Manufactured lumber” includes all logs that have passed through a mill to be converted into boards, even if not fully finished

 

                   Desjardins, 124 Me. at 117, 126 A. at 487

 

“Mill” includes both the machine used for grinding and the building housing the machine

 

                   Willis, 105 Me. at 56, 72 A. at 734

 

“Nonresidential property” is defined by statute, 36 M.R.S. §§ 843(1-A), 844(2), as that which “is used primarily for commercial, industrial or business purposes, excluding unimproved land that is not associated with a commercial, industrial or business use”

 

                   Ellen M. Leach Memorial Home, 1998 ME 118, ¶¶ 4 & n.1, 6,

711 A.2d at 151 & n.1

         

“Nonresident land” means “land of a nonresident”

 

                   Portland Terminal Co., 129 Me. at 268, 151 A. at 462

 

“Occupy” means having control of in whole or part; having a special right to use

 

                   Hanscome, 108 Me. at 133, 79 A. at 380

 

          “Overrated”: overvaluation vis à vis just value, not other property

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 268, 59 A. at 85

                   Swazey, 132 Me. at 37, 165 A. at 164

 

“Persons” and “inhabitants”

 

                   Inhabitants of Baldwin, 37 Me. at 371-72 (“persons” include

                             corporations)

                   Morrill, 95 Me. at 169, 49 A. at 667 (“person” is a living being;

“deceased person” is one who is dead, see 36 M.R.S.

§ 559)

                   Hustus, 2004 ME 41, ¶ 8, 845 A.2d at 565 (quoting 36

M.R.S. § 111(3); “person” includes people)

 

          “Real estate” includes land and all tenements and hereditaments

connected therewith, and all rights thereto, and interests therein

see 36 M.R.S. § 551

 

Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 200

 

“Rebate” is a return of part of a payment, serving as a discount or

reduction

 

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 41, 843 A.2d at 43 (concurring op.)

 

          “Rossing” is the mechanical process for removing bark

 

                   Machias Lumber Co., 122 Me. at 305, 119 A. at 806

 

          “Similar” has two meanings: “exactly corresponding” or “precisely             alike,” and “nearly corresponding” or “resembling in many respects”

 

                   Stowell, 122 Me. at 372, 119 A. at 868

 

The terms “timber,” “logs,” “pulpwood,” and “railroad ties” have no fixed definition, though Court defines “pulpwood” and determines that “railroad ties” are manufactured where prepared for final use

 

                   Dear River Co, 149 Me. at 358, 359-60, 103 A.2d at 128, 129

 

“Trade” embraces any sort of dealing by way of sale or exchange; commerce; traffic; it is applicable to a manufacturer of articles of trade as well as to a wholesale or retail dealer

 

          Gower, 93 Me. at 145, 21 A. at 847

          Berlin Mills Co., 93 Me. at 338, 339, 45 A. at 40

          Emple Knitting Mills, 155 Me. at 273, 153 A.2d at 120

 

          A “widow” is a woman whose husband has died and who has not

remarried

 

          Holway, 130 Me. at 416, 157 A. at 236

 

 

Maine’s valuable and unique forest resource

 

                   Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. at 476-77, 84 A. at 997

                   Opinion of the Justices, 335 A.2d at 912 n.1

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 922 (Legislature’s concern with funding

forest fire protection services)

 

 

Shorefront property vs. nonshorefront property

 

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 19, 721 A.2d at 642

                   See Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 3, 769 A.2d at 868-69

 

 

Maine’s advantageous geographical position and natural features (supplemented by wharves and port facilities promise growth in maritime commerce, to the advantage of the entire state)

 

                   Portland Pier Site Dist., 120 Me. at 22, 112 A. at 839-40

 

 

Maine’s beautiful coastline property

 

                   Bayville Village Corp., 110 Me. at 51, 85 A. at 302 (“The

natural advantages of the coast of Maine offer flattering inducements to non-residents, seeking recreation and rest, to establish permanent summer homes within the State”)

                   Gaston, 150 Me. at 293, 110 A.2d at 594

                   Cf. Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 2, 763 A.2d at 116

 

 

Conservation easements

 

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 596

 

                  

Reliance of Aroostook County on potatoes

 

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 190, 107 A.2d at 480

 

 

Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin Colleges are doing excellent educational work, but are no part of the state educational system

 

                   Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. at 222, 74 A. at 23

 

 

Reliance on Property Tax Bulletin

 

                   Roberta, 449 A.2d at 1140-41 (#8: pleasure boats)

 

 

Reliance on Maine Assessment Manual, 36 M.R.S. § 331

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 390 n.4

                   Allen, 438 A.2d at 477 (1947 edition of Guide for Use of

Assessors set forth recommended guidelines for separate assessment of parcels)

 


III.  Assessment/Collection of Taxes

 

The entire process of collecting taxes, from valuing and assessing property to providing information regarding amounts due and accepting of funds for payment, is part of a unitary process intended to assure that government carries out paramount function of taxation by which it is enabled to exist and function

 

                   Fitzgerald, 1999 ME 50, ¶ 11, 726 A.2d at 1255

 

 

Powers of the State Tax Assessor, 36 M.R.S. §§ 201, 301 et seq., 381 et seq.,

 

                   Pejepscot Paper Co., 134 Me. at 242-43, 184 A. at 766 (board

of state assessors has authority to tax unorganized areas)

                   Young, 161 Me. at 72-73, 73-74, 207 A.2d at 396, 397

 

 

The State Tax Assessor has no authority over local assessors, except in his discretion to order assessors to place on the tax rolls property previously exempt

 

                   Young, 161 Me. at 72, 74, 207 A.2d at 396, 397

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 334           

 

                  

Although assessors (and tax collectors) are chosen and employed by the municipalities they serve, they are public officers of the sovereign, not agents of municipalities

 

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 44, 19 A. at 96 (assessors and tax

                             collectors)

                   Lucy Farnsworth II, 93 Me. at 183, 44 A. at 682

                   Butterfield, 98 Me. at 157, 56 A. at 582

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 270, 59 A. at 86

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 4, 145 A. at 242

                   McKay Radio & Telegraph Co. I, 131 Me. at 335, 162 A. at 784

                   Tozier I, 136 Me. 146, 188 A. at 771 (tax collector)

                   Stockman, 147 Me. at 384, 87 A.2d at 684

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 182-83, 91 A.2d at 323

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 185, 107 A.2d at 477

                   Young, 161 Me. at 71, 207 A.2d at 396

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 335

                   Capitol Bank & Trust Co., 343 A.2d at 218-19

                   Sevigny, 344 A.2d at 41 (and holding office de jure entitles

                             one to his salary)

                   Eldridge, 392 A.2d at 40

                   Flower, 644 A.2d at 1032

 

 

Assessors are not subject to the direction and control of a municipality

 

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 44, 19 A. at 96

                   Lucy Farnsworth II, 93 Me. at 183, 44 A. at 682

                   U. S. Pegwood & Shank Co., 123 Me. at 382, 123 A. at 172

                   McKay Radio & Telegraph Co. I, 131 Me. at 336, 162 A. at 784

                   Milo Water Co. II, 131 Me. at 377, 163 A. at 166

                   Young, 161 Me. at 71, 207 A.2d at 396

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 334-35

 

 

They are accountable to no one—only to their personal faithfulness and integrity—so long as they perform their duties in accordance with constitutional mandate and statutory direction

 

                   Trim, 41 Me. at 505

                   Herriman, 43 Me. at 499

                   Rowe, 90 Me. at 244, 38 A. at 95

                   Maine Consolidated Power Co., 219 A.2d at 751

 

 

As public officers, assessors are responsible for only their own acts, and not prior acts of the town

 

                   Clough, 8 Me. at 342

 

 

Their terms and duties are fixed by law, which cannot be altered by a municipality; see 36 M.R.S. § 313 for chief assessors

 

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 44, 19 A. at 96

                   Lucy Farnsworth II, 93 Me. at 183, 44 A. at 682

 

 

Removal of an assessor, 36 M.R.S. § 314 (for chief assessors), must meet due process requirements

 

                   Sevigny, 344 A.2d at 40 (need for impartial hearing officer)

 

 

A tax warrant originally signed by “selectmen” may be corrected to show they acted as “assessors”

 

                   Whittier, 122 Me. at 88, 118 A. at 898

 

 

Assessors and selectmen may be the same or different individuals

 

McKay Radio & Telegraph Co. I, 131 Me. at 335, 162 A. at 784

 

 

If a town does not select assessors, the selectmen are the assessors, 36 M.R.S. § 703

 

                   Trafton, 15 Me. at 261 (“the inhabitants of towns are obliged

                             by law to choose assessors or selectmen, who must be                               assessors, if others be not chosen . . . “)

                   Gould, 61 Me. at 546

                   Goud, 75 Me. at 298-99

                   See Jordan, 85 Me. at 160, 27 A. at 91

                  

 

But selectmen must be sworn as assessors, 36 M.R.S. § 703

 

                   Goud, 75 Me. at 299 (“No oath, no competency; no

competency, there can be no legal assessment”)

                   Jordan, 85 Me. at 160-61, 27 A. at 92 (selectman who was

chosen at town meeting at which no assessors were selected cannot act as an assessor)

 

 

Legality of calling or place or notice of city council or selectmen/assessors, village corporation, or school district meeting and effect on legality of taxes

 

                   Ford, 8 Me. at 343

                   Trafton, 15 Me. 258

                   Hathaway, 48 Me. at 444

                   Paul I, 84 Me. at 217-19, 24 A. at 818-19

                   Union Water Power Co. II, 90 Me. at 77-79, 37 A. at 336-37

Huse, 112 Me. at 451-52, 92 A. at 521

                   Perry II, 149 Me. at 176-77, 99 A.2d at 296

 

 

Challenge to legality of selection of assessors and/or tax collector, or to their having been sworn

 

                   Morrell, 1 Me. at 250 (failure of tax collector to give bond)

                   Mussey, 3 Me. at 298-300 (failure of assessor to take oath is

 nonacceptance of office)

Clough, 8 Me. at 343 (tax collector duly chosen at legal town

          meeting)

Kellar, 20 Me. at 204 (tax collector, having given bond, could

 not deny legality of his election)

                   Payson, 30 Me. at 325-26 (tax collector must be legally                                       qualified to act as such for there to be a valid tax sale)

                   Blanchard, 32 Me. at 558 (tax collector presumed to have

                             been legally chosen in absence of contrary evidence)

                   Hathaway, 48 Me. at 443-44 (record of town meeting need

not show assessors were chosen by ballot)

                   Allen, 49 Me. at 351-52 (town officials not shown to be

                             assessors have no authority to assess taxes)       

Shaver, 50 Me. at 41 (question whether sureties consented

to being on tax collector’s bond, to be accepted by town)

Moan, 50 Me. at 352-53 (even assuming “a medley of

irregularities” in selecting tax collector, question is whether they are of such character to exonerate payment of taxes

Lord, 51 Me. at 600-01 (where law required three assessors

and one never was sworn after being elected, the other two were not a majority of the three, and their actions were void; failure to take oath is nonacceptance of office)

Mason, 55 Me. at 503 (question whether tax collector was

           duly sworn not resolved)

                   Greene, 58 Me. at 532 (evidence sufficient to show tax collector

                             was duly sworn)

                   Gould, 61 Me. at 547-48 (failure of tax collector to take oath

and give bond is nonacceptance of office)

Carville, 62 Me. at 461 (there need not have been a vacancy

in office of tax collector to name new collector, where present collector had not fulfilled his duties)

                   Small, 77 Me. at 113 (same as Lord)

                   Reed, 78 Me. at 279-81, 4 A. at 689-91 (change in length of

term of office of does not affect city charter providing that one serves as assessor until successor is elected)

                   Palmer, 79 Me at 472-73, 10 A. at 451 (moderator of town

meeting without authority to swear those elected as assessors)

                   Parker, 83 Me. at 534, 22 A. at 392-93 (village corporation

clerk can swear assessors when no statute requires them to be sworn at all)

                   Bowler, 84 Me. at 378-79, 24 A. at 879-80 (after moderator

was sworn by town clerk, use of ditto marks do not show assessors were duly sworn)

                   Jordan, 85 Me. at 161, 27 A. at 92 (selectman who was

chosen at town meeting at which no assessors were selected cannot act as an assessor)

                    Whiting, 85 Me. at 303-04, 27 A. at 177 (city clerk may

testify to administration of oath being given to tax collector)

                   Belfast Hotel Co. II, 89 Me. at 387 (abbreviated term used in

                             municipal record for office of assessor)

                   Union Water Power Co. II, 90 Me. at 79, 37 A. at 337

(irregular method of electing assessor and tax collector of no consequence where assessor may be assumed to have held office from previous election)

                   Randlette, 98 Me. at 91, 56 A. at 200-01 (municipal officers

                             were bound to approve bond if sum and sureties are                                 satisfactory, thus tax collector lawfully claimed office)

                   Butterfield, 98 Me. at 156, 56 A. at 581-82 (same person

cannot be both assessor and tax collector, and a tax collector elected assessor is at best an assessor de facto)

                    Bridges, 98 Me. at 492, 57 A. at 798 (taxpayer cannot

                             challenge assessment, by bill of exceptions, based on                                claim of defective election of assessors)     

                   Baker, 102 Me. at 418, 67 A. at 145-46 (no evidence showing                             election or qualification of tax collector)

                   Blair, 104 Me. at 445-46, 72 A. at 178 (even if not choosing

tax collector by ballot is irregular, he is nonetheless a de facto officer to whom taxes must be paid)

                   Sherwin-Burrill Soap Co., 108 Me. at 125-27, 79 A. at 377-78

                             (return of town warrant for election of aldermen, who                                elected assessors and tax collector, could be amended,                             thus legitimating election of assessors and tax                                         collector and assessment and commitment of tax)

                   Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. at 474-75, 84 A. at 996 (record

sufficiently showed assessors were duly sworn and qualified)

                   Lucy Farnsworth III, 111 Me. at 316-17, 321-22, 89 A. at 66,

68-69 (legality of assessment not affected by any irregularity in election of tax collector)

                    U. S. Pegwood & Shank Co., 123 Me. at 380, 123 A. at 171

(town complied with statute requiring election of “three or more assessors” when it elected three)

                   Norwood, 138 Me. at 184-86, 24 A.2d at 231-32 (record

sufficient to show town duly elected and qualified

assessor)

                   Vigue, 138 Me. at 209-10, 24 A.2d at 242-43 (it is presumed

that all actions relating to election of assessors are proper unless challenged)

                   Wright, 139 Me. at 285-86, 29 A.2d at 748 (town clerk was

                             properly sworn, so as to be able to swear assessors)

Hann, 305 A.2d at 550 (verbal and informal appointment of

          tax collector rendered tax lien unenforceable)    

Stevenson, 2007 ME 55, ¶ 8, 930 A.2d at 1048 (where town

charter provided that board of assessment review must have three members and did not provide for alternates, board with only two members had no authority to act);

¶¶ 13-19, 930 A.2d at 1050-51 (concurring opinion would hold that 1-1 board vote on assessment request

did not have the effect of affirming assessor’s decision, but board with quorum could act)

 

 

Assessors were duly sworn when they took oath to faithfully and impartially perform their duties

 

                   Patterson, 42 Me. at 376

                   Gould, 61 Me. at 547

 

 

A board of assessment review is not partial simply because its members are taxpayers of the town in which the abatement request is made

 

                   Paul II, 110 Me. at 197-99, 85 A. at 573-74

 

 

Whether assessors who are not properly sworn have de facto authority

 

                   Reed, 78 Me. at 279-81, 4 A. at 689-91 (assessor assumed to                              have been held over by previous election)

                   Union Water Power Co. II, 90 Me. at 79, 37 A. at 337 (same)

                   Butterfield, 98 Me. at 158, 56 A. at 582 (no)

 

 

A board of assessors that by law does not exist does not have jurisdiction over abatement dispute, and parties cannot give it jurisdiction

 

                   Stevenson, 2007 ME 55, ¶ 10 n.2, 930 A.2d at 1049 n.2

 

 

Powers of assessors

 

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 44-45, 19 A. at 96

                   Rowe, 90 Me. at 243-44, 38 A. at 95 (assessors’ authority to

assess and commit taxes need not await State Treasurer’s warrant directing local assessments)

                   Lucy Farnsworth II, 93 Me. at 183, 44 A. at 682

                   Butterfield, 98 Me. at 157, 56 A. at 582

                   Paul II, 110 Me. at 200-03, 85 A. at 574-76 (Board of Public

Works, acting as assessors, could make assessments for sewer only in proportion to benefit provided, but statute did not expressly grant power of assessment)

                   Young, 161 Me. at 71-73, 207 A.2d at 396-97

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 334-35

 

 

Assessors have the authority to require all persons liable to be taxed to provide “true and perfect lists” of property under oath, now under 36 M.R.S. § 706, or else a taxpayer is not entitled to an abatement if he does not comply

 

                   Inhabitants of Winslow, 37 Me. at 562

                   Patterson, 42 Me. at 377

                   Lambard, 53 Me. at 507

                   Inhabitants of Freedom, 66 Me. at 176

                   Inhabitants of Fairfield, 66 Me. at 387

Inhabitants of Orland I, 76 Me. at 461

Inhabitants of Orland II, 76 Me. at 466-67

Edwards Mfg. Co., 102 Me. at 143, 66 A. at 311

Powell, 108 Me. at 533-34, 537, 81 A. at 1068

Portland Terminal Co., 129 Me. at 266-67, 151 A. at 461

                   Perry I, 145 Me. at 365-66, 75 A.2d at 853

                   Dead River Co., 149 Me. at 352, 103 A.2d at 125-26

                   Maine Lumber Co., 157 Me. at 350, 172 A.2d at 640

 

 

Rights of assessors to require a taxpayer, upon inquiry, to provide information under the fourth paragraph of now-36 M.R.S. § 706 as to

“the nature, situation and value” of the property

 

                   Inhabitants of Freedom, 66 Me. at 176 (assessors have a

reasonable time after April 1st to make inquiries)

                   Inhabitants of Levant, 67 Me. at 436-37 (taxpayer must

answer all proper inquiries)

                   Cf. Inhabitants of Orland I, 76 Me. at 461 (under former law,

municipality could not require that a “true and perfect list” include value of the property)

Powell, 108 Me. at 535-37, 81 A. at 1069-70 (inquiry need

not be in writing; assessors may require answers to be in writing; statute does not place a time limit on the inquiry, which although made after April 1st must be understood to have related to that date)

                   Champion Intl. Corp., 667 A.2d at 1377 (taxpayer cannot be

                             deprived of right to appeal if assessors do not first

demand a “true and perfect list” of property under the first paragraph of 36 M.R.S. § 706)

 

 

Under previous statutes, the failure of assessors to give notice to inhabi-tants of a town to bring their lists of taxable property before an assess-ment was made was not a condition precedent to a valid assessment

 

                   Mussey, 3 Me. at 300-01

                   Race, 68 Me. 351 (passim)

                   See Perry I, 145 Me. at 365, 75 A.2d at 852-53

 

 

Requirement of notice under present statute

 

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 304-05

 

 

Nonresidents formerly had no obligation to provide “true and perfect lists” of property

 

                   John P. Squire & Co., 106 Me. at 236, 76 A. at 680

                   Cf. Edwards Mfg. Co., 108 Me. at 143, 66 A. at 311

                   Portland Terminal Co., 129 Me. at 267, 151 A. at 461

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 304

 

 

But this changed by statutory amendment in 1944

 

                   Dead River Co., 149 Me. at 357, 103 A.2d at 128

 

 

One not liable to taxation at all is not required to file a 36 M.R.S. § 706 list

 

Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 478, 214 A.2d at 662

                   Depositors Trust Co., 295 A.2d at 30          

Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 526-27

                   Madison Water Dist., 1998 ME 154, ¶ 5, 713 A.2d at 330

                    Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 9, 724

A.2d at 608

 

 

Inquiries that assessors are authorized to make under 36 M.R.S. § 706 should be concerned only with nonexempt property

 

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 10, 724

A.2d at 608

 

 

“Property liable to taxation” in the fourth paragraph of 36 M.R.S. § 706

refers to property that is not exempt; exempt property is not liable to taxation while nonexempt property is liable to taxation

 

                   Depositors Trust Co., 295 A.2d at 30

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 10, 724

A.2d at 608

 

 

One purpose of the law is to assist assessors in making correct and complete assessment

 

                   Perry I, 145 Me. at 365-66, 75 A.2d at 852-53

 

 

Another purpose is to prevent property liable to be taxed from escaping taxation

 

                   Brown, 53 Me. at 521

                   Dead River Co., 149 Me. at 357, 103 A.2d at 128

 

 

The list must be furnished before an assessment is made

 

                   Perry I, 145 Me. at 363, 365, 75 A.2d at 851, 852-53

                   Maine Lumber Co., 157 Me. at 349, 172 A.2d at 639

 

 

Once a taxpayer has listed property as his, he cannot claim he is not the owner, at least in the absence of fraud, accident, or mistake

 

                   Dead River Co., 149 Me. at 353-56, 103 A.2d at 126-27

 

 

Assessors are not bound by the list provided by a taxpayer, but may assess property not included in the list

 

                   Gilpatrick, 57 Me. at 278-79

                   Perry I, 145 Me. at 365, 75 A.2d at 852-53

 

 

The assessors’ authority to demand that taxpayers provide a “true and perfect list” of their taxable property does not mean it must be delivered personally by a taxpayer

 

                   Perry I, 145 Me. at 366-69, 75 A.2d at 853-54 (overruling

                             Inhabitants of Winslow v. County Comm’rs of Kennebec

                             County, 37 Me. 561 (1854))

 

 

The only permissible reason for not filing a “true and perfect list” is that the taxpayer “was unable” to do so; the statute does not permit a “good cause” or “reasonable excuse” inquiry

 

                   Edwards Mfg. Co., 102 Me. at 143-44, 66 A. at 311

(taxpayer’s misapprehension that it was not required to file list of no consequence)

                   Maine Lumber Co., 157 Me. at 350-51, 172 A.2d at 640 (same)

 

 

Assessors can assess an overlay of no more than 5%, 36 M.R.S. § 710

         

                   Mosher, 11 Me. at 138

                   Parker, 83 Me. at 533, 22 A. 392

                  

 

Assessors have the duty to assess for delinquencies as much as to make an original assessment

 

                   Patterson, 42 Me. at 380

 

 

Assessors can make assessments only within their authority and jurisdiction, and beyond that may be sued for recovery of taxes assessed

 

                   Mosher, 11 Me. at 138

                   Powers, 39 Me. at 187 (town may be liable for illegal

                             assessment)

                   Patterson, 42 Me. at 379

                   Herriman, 43 Me. at 499

                   Hathaway, 48 Me. at 445

 

 

Assessors’ correction of assessment, as by interlineation, before commitment of taxes is permissible and is not an abatement

 

                   Lucy Farnsworth III, 111 Me. at 320, 89 A. at 68

                   Hayford Block Co., 120 Me. at 518-19, 115 A. at 283

 

 

Whether assessors must sign the assessment and commitment, 36 M.R.S. § 709

 

                   Colby, 3 Me. 227 (passim)(tax warrant is not valid unless

                             signed by assessors)

                   Foxcroft, 4 Me. at 75-76 (same)

                   Johnson, 15 Me. at 31 (“the lists should bear upon them the

                             official sanction of a majority of the assessors,                                            evidenced by their signatures”)

                   Kellar, 20 Me. at 202 (requirement that assessment,

                             preparatory to issuance of tax list and warrant, was

                             not signed “savors somewhat of a technicality, to say                                 the least of it”)

                   Lancey, 21 Me. at 473 (assessors’ signing supplementary tax

                             list and referring to original list satisfied requirements                                        or commitment of taxes)

                   Lowe, 52 Me. at 589 (signed commitment referring to list of

                             assessments complied with statute to allow tax                                          collector to act)  

                   Pearson II, 64 Me. at 190 (assessors must have signed commit-

                             ment for municipal treasurer to act against tax collector                           for failing to have collected taxes)

                    

 

A lawful tax list requires the signatures of at least a majority of a board of assessors

 

                   Cassidy, 134 Me. at 343, 344, 186 A. at 666, 667

 

 

Assessors of village corporation chartered within town can adopt previous assessments of town

 

                   Huse, 112 Me. at 452, 92 A. at 521

 

 

A municipality is not liable for assessors’ failure to assess particular property

 

                   Emery, 92 Me. at 531, 43 A. at 118

                   Lucy Farnsworth II, 93 Me. at 183, 44 A. at 682  

 

 

Although their failure in previous years to tax property that by law should have been taxed does bind a municipality in a subsequent year

 

                   Lucy Farnsworth II, 93 Me. at 184, 44 A. at 682

 

 

One cannot be both a tax collector and an assessor at the same time

 

                   Butterfield, 98 Me. at 156, 56 A. at 581-82

                   Sherwin-Burrill Soap Co., 108 Me. at 127, 79 A. at 378

                             (the duties of tax collector have no connection with

valuation of property)

 

 

Assessors have nothing to do with the collection of taxes

 

                   Inhabitants of Milford, 77 Me. at 332

 

 

Tax collector is an indispensable party when taxpayer seeks recovery of money based on the claim that the tax is invalid; assessor does not have possession of collected taxes, and in not a proper party

 

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 327

 

 

The Legislature has delegated the collection of taxes to municipalities

 

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 5, 145 A. at 243

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 185, 91 A.2d at 324

 

 

Proceedings for tax collection are broadly construed, except when involving forfeitures

 

                   Cressy II, 76 Me. at 534

                   McKay Radio & Telegraph II, 132 Me. at 325, 170 A. at 61

 

 

Powers and duties of a tax collector

 

                   Gould, 15 Me. at 29 (tax collector, holding in his hands “the

sinews of government,” is bound to collect all moneys assessed for given year for which he had sufficient warrant)

Johnson, 15 Me. at 32 (tax collector must pay over moneys

collected based on tax list, though without proper tax warrant)

Deane, 17 Me. at 102 (tax collector’s return on warrant was

prima facie evidence of payment of overage to taxpayer)

Kellar, 20 Me. at 202 (tax collector bound to obey tax warrant,

          in due form)

Brown, 25 Me. at 362 (tax collector must comply with

procedural particularity to enforce tax sale)

Millett, 26 Me. at 81-93 (duties and relationship of tax collector to town described)

Blanchard, 32 Me. at 558 (tax collector exercising power of

          distraint, see now 36 M.R.S. §§ 991, 992, must

          immediately pay to taxpayer any overage collected       from sale of chattels)

Williamson, 32 Me. at 559-60 (tax collector exercising power

of distraint cannot sell more chattels than necessary to cover taxes due)

Clark, 33 Me. at 483 (tax collector bound to proceed under

 warrant from competent authority)

Phillips, 40 Me. at 161-62 (quoting Brown)

White, 41 Me. at 538-39 (tax collector cannot enforce

collection on a defective tax warrant, and is not at

fault for not collecting pursuant to such warrant)

                   Wedgewood, 44 Me. at 50 (defects in tax warrant may

excuse executing warrant, but tax collector must account for taxes collected without objection)

                   Stanley, 47 Me. at 519 (taxes not collected as required

                             cannot be used, if moneys are collected in subsequent                                       years, to appropriate deficiency in balance in earlier                                 year)

                   Brackett, 49 Me. at 357 (tax collector may not exercise

                             power of distraint beyond terms of warrant)

                   Bowker, 49 Me. at 430 (tax collector may not arrest, see now

                             36 M.R.S. § 993, for failure to pay taxes, one not

                             subject to taxation)

                   Moan, 50 Me. at 352 (to be liable on his bond for omitting

an act, it must be shown that tax collector had legal warrant to enforce collection; bond adequate though “inartfully drawn”)

                   Packard, 50 Me. at 387 (tax collector cannot compel

payment of taxes except as provided by statute)

Parker, 53 Me. at 254-55 (tax collector could proceed

although without proper bond, when there was a valid warrant)

                   Mason, 55 Me. at 503 (tax collector armed with tax bills and                               warrant signed by assessors is protected against suit)

                   Hall, 57 Me. at 61-62 (tax collector must faithfully obey

directions in tax warrant, and is chargeable for all taxes committed to him; and may distrain and sell goods an chattels of delinquent taxpayers, and commit them to jail)

Carter, 59 Me. at 298 (tax collector exercising power of

distraint must immediately pay to taxpayer any overage collected from sale of chattels)

Seekins, 61 Me. at 404 (tax collector exercising power of

          distraint cannot sell more chattels than necessary to

          cover taxes due)

Pearson II, 64 Me. at 190 (tax collector has authority to act

only with legal warrant and perfect list of taxes assessed

and committed)

Goodwin, 67 Me. at 262 (tax collector is proper person to make

demand for taxes; suit to recover taxes may also be brought in name of inhabitants of town)

Giles, 68 Me. at 161-62 (tax collector not obligated to execute

a facially defective warrant, but taxpayers may waive defect by payment)

Orr, 69 Me. at 333-34 (failure of assessors to provide

description of real estate excused tax collector, who since absconded, from collecting taxes thereon)

Snow I, 71 Me. at 581-82 (tax collector has cause of action,

                             for noncollection of taxes, against town treasurer if he                               illegally issued warrant)

                   Snow II, 73 Me. at 179 (defect in warrant excuses tax collector

                             from collecting, but not from not paying taxes collected

thereon)

                   Snow III, 74 Me. at 410-12 (when treasurer legally issues tax

warrant, tax collector is liable for noncollection of taxes)

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 45 (tax collector, once he has legal

warrant, is chargeable with paying whole amount to treasurer)

Miller, 88 Me. 454, 34 A. 265 (tax collector need not make

          absolute demand for payment of taxes due; anything                      that plainly brings home to taxpayer that collector                        requires payment is sufficient)

Maddocks, 89 Me. at 337, 89 A. at 398 (tax collector is not                        authorized to determine validity of assessment)

Belfast Hotel Co. II, 89 Me. at 387, 36 A. at 623 (tax collector           may use the records of assessment to collect taxes)

Bennett, 90 Me. at 104-06, 37 A. at 865-66 (denial of due

          process to require deposit of amount of tax, interest,

          and charges owed to challenge its forfeiture by tax sale);

          90 Me. at 106, 37 A. at 866 (tax collector is mere

          ministerial officer)

Fenlason, 109 Me. at 329-30, 84 A. at 410 (tax collector may

          not arrest taxpayer for nonpayment of taxes until after                    12th day following demand, see now 36 M.R.S. § 993)

Clark, 113 Me. 443, 94 A. 881 (passim)(demand by tax

          collector for payment of taxes due must be made in

          person)

Milo Water Co. I, 129 Me. at 465, 152 A. at 616-17 (tax

          collector had no right to bring suit to recover taxes                          for town without written directive from selectmen) 

Cleary, 132 Me. at 118, 167 A. at 694 (tax collector liable

for taxes committed to him but not collected)

                   Hann, 305 A.2d at 547 (tax collector’s lien invalid unless all

conditions precedent to foreclosure have been complied with)

 

 

Compensation of tax collector, 36 M.R.S. §§ 756, 759

 

                   Bragdon, 84 Me. at 433, 24 A. at 896 (town cannot impose

penalty on tax collected for late payment to town of taxes collected where it would work injustice)

                   Bennoch, 158 Me. at 399-400, 185 A.2d at 126-27 (village

corporation within town must compensate tax collector for supplies as town voted to compensate her)

 

 

The giving of a bond by the tax collector, see now 36 M.R.S. § 755, being directory only, is not a condition precedent to his assuming his duties

 

                   Parker, 53 Me. at 256

Giles, 68 Me. at 161

 

 

Payment of taxes may be shown by receipt of tax collector, 36 M.R.S. § 757

 

                   Campbell, 122 Me. at 414, 120 A. at 532

 

 

A tax collector is responsible for only his own illegalities, but not those arising from the assessment

 

                   Clough, 8 Me. at 342 (tax warrant protects collector from all

                             irregularities prior to commitment)

                   Caldwell, 40 Me. at 528 (tax collectors warrant is protection

                             against any illegality but his own)

                   Judkins, 48 Me. 386 (same)

                   Parker, 53 Me. at 255 (same)

                    Nowell, 61 Me. at 428, 430-31 (tax warrant protects collector

                             from all irregularities antecedent to commitment,

                             including taxing of nondomiciliary)

                   Pearson I, 61 Me. at 556 (tax collector is excused from service

under a warrant that is repugnant to prescribed form and not in accord with statutory provisions)

                   Carville, 62 Me. at 461 (lack of notice; improper description

                             of land; admissibility of parol evidence to describe land)

 

 

Surety on tax collector’s bond can be required to pay, where defalcations are found in collector’s office, only that part of audit expense attributable to discovery and analysis of tax collector’s shortages

 

                   Maine Bonding & Casualty Co., 274 A.2d at 442

 

 

The tax committed is the only basis for fixing the amount of taxes due

 

                   Pearson II, 64 Me. at 190

 

 

The abatement process, with appeal to the proper tribunal, is the method to correct overvaluation, -assessment, -taxation

                  

                   Holton, 23 Me. at 268

                   Stickney, 30 Me. at 410-12

                   Hemingway, 33 Me. at 446

                   Herriman, 43 Me. at 500

                   Gilpatrick, 57 Me. at 280-81

                   Waite, 66 Me. at 226

                   Rockland Water Co., 82 Me. at 192, 194, 19 A. at 164

                   Paul I, 84 Me. at 219, 24 A. at 819

                   Portland Terminal Co., 129 Me. at 267, 151 A. at 461

(abatement is the only remedy if property is overvalued, not owned by the taxpayer, or exempt, or if one is assessed taxes on property laying in another municipality)

                   Reid, 132 Me. at 416, 171 Me. at 908 (overvaluation may

exist in either assessing to a person property he does not own or estimating too highly that which he does own, but overvaluation is not a defense to an action to recover tax on real estate, unless one is not an inhabitant of taxing town)

                   Perry II, 149 Me. at 174, 99 A.2d at 295

                   Berry, 332 A.2d at 324 (“Abatement, which is always initially

requested from the assessor, is restricted to the issue of over-taxation”)

 

 

Overvaluation can arise in assessing property which a person does not own or in too highly estimating its value

 

                   Whitmore, 79 Me. at 186, 9 A. at 120

 

 

The assessment in fact, not what assessors intended to do or thought they did, determines what was assessed

 

                   Sweetsir, 98 Me. At 152, 56 A. at 586

                   S. D. Warren, 1998 ME 66, ¶ 9, 708 A.2s at 1022

 

 

Whether a request for abatement need be in writing; see now 36 M.R.S.

§ 841(1)

 

                   Inhabitants of Levant, 67 Me. at 435-36

                   Inhabitants of Orland II, 76 Me. at 467

 

 

Assessors need not keep a written record of their handling of a request for abatement

 

                   Inhabitants of Levant, 67 Me. at 436

 

 

No abatement is available or need be sought if a tax imposed was void

 

                   Herriman, 43 Me. at 500

                   Hathaway, 48 Me. at 450

                   Talbot, 116 Me. at 210, 100 A. at 938

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 324

                   Edgerly, 392 A.2d at 106

                   S. D. Warren, 1998 ME 66, ¶ 8, 708 A.2d at 1021

 

 

Whether a taxpayer can recover taxes assessed ostensibly for an illegal purpose or in a defective manner, 36 M.R.S. § 504

 

                   Rogers, 58 Me. at 391, 394 (general claim of illegality

insufficient)

                   Gilman, 59 Me. at 493-94 (illegal purpose)

                   Hayford, 62 Me. at 65 (errors, mistakes, or omissions of

assessors)

                   Carlton, 77 Me. at 410, 1 A. at 194 (Court suggests

overvaluation is an illegality, by irregularity in assessment, for which one as the remedy of abatement)

                   Blondell, 82 Me at 156, 19 A. at 94-95 (errors, mistakes, or

                             omissions of assessors do not void assessment)

                   Rowe, 90 Me. at 245, 38 A. at 95 (same)

                   Creamer, 91 Me. at 514-15, 40 A. at 557-58 (taxpayer cannot

                             recover taxes voluntarily paid even if illegally assessed,

but nonresident can sue to recover taxes paid under protest)

                   Emery, 92 Me. at 530-31, 43 A. at 118 (same as Rowe)

                   U. S. Pegwood & Shank Co., 123 Me. at 382, 123 A. at 172

(same)

                   Goldstein, 1998 ME 261, ¶ 10, 721 A.2d at 182 (errors leading

                             to overvaluation do not constitute an illegality)

 

 

The abatement process need not be undertaken by taxpayer to obtain relief from over-taxation under 36 M.R.S. § 504 due to a municipality’s clerical error

 

                   Eastport Water Co., 288 A.2d at 723-24

 

 

A municipality has no power to abate a tax assessed by the local assessors

 

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 43, 46-47, 19 A. at 96, 97

                   Lucy Farnsworth II, 93 Me. at 183, 44 A. at 682

                   U. S. Pegwood & Shank Co., 123 Me. at 382, 123 A. at 172

                   Cf. Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 5, 145 A. at 243

(municipality may abate taxes assessed, but only through assessors following rigid rules)

Dolloff, 148 Me. at 186, 91 A.2d at 324 (same)

Milo Water Co. II, 131 Me. at 377, 163 A. at 166

Young, 161 Me. at 71, 207 A.2d at 396

 

 

Assessors’ failure to make a record of assessment or file certificate of assessment does not give a taxpayer ground to challenge the assessment

if the commitment of taxes has been subscribed to by the assessors and is in the hands of the tax collector

 

                   Lowe, 52 Me. at 589

                   Walker, 71 Me. at 183

                   Whitmore, 79 Me. at 188-89, 9 A. at 121

 

 

Either the list in the hands of the assessors or the list in the hands of the tax collector may be relied upon

 

                   Howe, 87 Me. at 121-22, 32 A. at 781-82

 

 

Commitment of taxes means all things have been done by assessors to complete the assessment

 

                   Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. at 476, 84 A. at 996

 

 

Assessors can commit taxes anytime after April 1st, when assessment is made, and statute directing time of commitment to tax collector was directory only although written with “shall”

 

                   Lewis and Maxcey, 109 Me. at 476, 84 A. at 996

 

 

Informalities in a tax warrant do not defeat its authority

 

                   Parker, 83 Me. at 533, 22 A. 392

 

 

But a warrant must state a date by which taxes are due

 

                   Jacques, 96 Me. at 270, 52 A. at 763

 

 

Assessors may make supplemental assessments; see now 36 M.R.S. §§

581-B, 713, 713-B, 1331

 

                   Gould, 61 Me. at 547

                   Dubois, 645 A.2d at 1127 (tree growth withdrawal penalty is

                             supplemental assessment)

 

 

But only if there was a lawful tax list or assessment to supplement

 

                   Walker, 71 Me. at 183-84 (assessment)

                   Cassidy, 134 Me. at 348, 186 A. at 668 (tax list)

 

 

If a supplemental assessment is permissible, property still must be assessed as of April 1st as a part of the original assessment

 

                   Lancey, 21 Me. at 473

                   Prime, 98 Me. at 53-54, 56 A. at 208-09

                   Sweetsir, 98 Me. at 154, 56 A. at 587

 

 

A supplemental assessment is valid only if municipality asserts property was not assessed and was omitted by mistake from original assessment, but not if they simply made an error in judgment of the value of property

 

                   Bridge, 90 Me. at 492-93, 38 A. at 546

                   Purinton, 94 Me. 354, 47 A. 919 (passim)

                   Sweetsir, 98 A. at 152, 56 A. at 586

                   S. D. Warren Co., 1998 ME 66, ¶ 8, 708 A.2d at 1021

 

 

If a municipality contends its assessors did not assess certain property, and so can issue a supplemental assessment, the municipality bears the burden of sustaining the validity of the supplemental assessment

 

                   Sweetsir, 98 Me. at 152, 56 A. at 586

                   S. D. Warren, 1998 ME 66, ¶ 10, 708 A.2d at 1022

 

Refunds after tax abatements are paid by the taxing authority, not by assessors or tax collectors as individuals

                  

Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶ 15, 705 A.2d

          at 1114

 

 

Interest on tax refunds, 36 M.R.S. §§ 111(5), 505, 506-A

 

Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶¶ 19-20, 705

A.2d at 1115

 

 

Proper assessment practice requires that property be described sufficiently to identify it with reasonable certainty, either by its own terms or by reference to a recorded document or other writing that contains a sufficient description, and more specifically for tax liens and tax sales

 

                   Porter, 1 Me. at 307-08 (tax sale; land formerly located in                                    adjacent town)

                   Brown, 25 Me. at 364 (“It behooves collectors, in advertising

lands to be sold for taxes, to give such a description as will enable owners to know, that the lands advertised are theirs”)

                   Adams, 46 Me. at 519 (tax sale; inadequate description))

                   Larrabee, 58 Me. at 414 (same)

                   Griffin, 60 Me. at 271 (same)

                   French, 61 Me. at 209 (assessment and tax sale; description                               must be reasonably certain, but not in minute detail)

                   Veazie II, 61 Me. at 433 (tax sale; inadequate description of                                land)

                   Greene, 63 Me. at 313 (tax sale; land must be described                                     distinctly)

                   Nason, 63 Me. at 382-83 (tax sale; advertisement for sale must

                             contain sufficient description of property)

                   Whitmore, 70 Me. at 279 (tax sale; inadequate description)

                   Moulton, 75 Me. at 486 (same)

                   Inhabitants of Orland II, 76 Me. at 467-68 (assessment; record  

                             produced with adequate description)

                   Cressey II, 76 Me. at 534

                   Libby, 80 Me. at 138, 13 A. at 275

                   Parsons, 86 Me. at 516, 30 A. at 111 (tax sale; inadequate                                  description of land)

                   Lawry, 89 Me. at 583, 36 A. at 1103

                   Alden, 92 Me. at 183, 42 A. at 360

                   Burgess, 95 Me. at 124, 126, 49 A. at 607, 607-08

                   Millett, 95 Me. at 412, 49 A. at 872 (tax sale; inadequate                                     description of land)

                   Baker, 102 Me. at 419, 67 A. at 146

                   Kelley, 110 Me. at 365, 86 A. at 255

                   Foulkes, 119 Me. 315, 111 A. 335 (passim)(tax sale in                                        unincorporated township)

                   Hunt, 121 Me. at 304-05, 117 A. at 95 (tax deed need not

                             refer specifically to buildings, as they pass with the                                  land, and terms that describe the property’s use are                                sufficient)

                   Keyes, 121 Me at 312, 117 A. at 170

                   Milo Water Co. II, 131 Me. at 376, 163 A. at 165

                   Norwood, 138 Me. at 187, 24 A.2d at 233

                   Oceanic Hotel Co., 143 Me. at 162, 57 A.2d at 144 (tax sale)

                   Perry II, 149 Me. at 178-79, 99 A.2d at 297 (tax lien)

                   Gray, 150 Me. at 103-04, 104 A.2d at 427 (lien certificate

need not refer specifically to buildings, as they pass with the land, and terms that describe the property’s use are sufficient)

                   McCarty, 158 Me. at 394, 185 A.2d at 130

                   Ouellette, 219 A.2d at 547 (tax lien, 36 M.R.S. §§ 942, 943)

                   Arsenault, 275 A.2d at 599-600 (tax lien, 36 M.R.S. § 552)

                   Davis, 281 A.2d at 139 (same)

                   Fickett, 390 A.2d at 471 (same)

                   Dwyer, 490 A.2d at 662 (same)

                   Aucella I, 564 A.2d at 69 (tax lien, 36 M.R.S. § 552)

                   Eastabrook, 568 A.2d at 1098-99 (tax lien, 36 M.R.S.

§§ 552, 942)

                   Nadeau, 572 A.2d at 492

                   Hamm, 644 A.2d at 1389-90 (tax lien, 36 M.R.S. §§ 552,

                             942, 943; description of property subject to lien is                                     sufficient if it describes the property by metes and                                    bounds, or landmarks, or refers to a plan or map by                                name, or tells the location of the particular plan or                                        map; need not be in minute detail)

                   Dubois, 645 A.2d at 1127

                   Anderson, 1999 ME 70, ¶ 8, 728 A.2d at 1256 (tax lien, 36

                             M.R.S. § 552)

 

 

Assessors have reasonable discretion to determine whether or not separate parcels exist

 

                   Fickett, 390 A.2d at 471

                   Allen, 438 A.2d at 476 (mere presence of road does not

require finding that land is two parcels)

 

 

Separate and distinct parcels of real estate are to be assessed and taxed separately, and land separately from buildings, see now 36 M.R.S. § 708

 

                   Wallingford, 24 Me. at 390

                   Shimmin, 26 Me. at 233

                   Nason, 63 Me. at 382

                   Gray, 150 Me. at 103, 104 A.2d at 427

                   McCarty, 158 Me. at 393, 185 A.2d at 130

                   Fickett, 390 A.2d at 471

Allen, 438 A.2d at 475

                   Johnson, 490 A.2d at 1190-91 (tax liens for noncontiguous                                 parcels are to be recorded separately)

 

 

But the description of property taxed or separate valuations on each of several parcels is not required in a town’s assessment      

                  

                   Blake, 74 Me. at 284

                   Cressy II, 76 Me. at 534 (noting difference between

assessments and forfeitures by tax sales)

Ulmer I, 84 Me. at 507-08, 24 A. at 950-51(same)

                   Piscataquis Valley Campmeeting Ass’n, 86 Me. at 80, 29 A. at                                      951  

                   Lucy Farnsworth III, 111 Me. at 318-19, 89 A. at 67 (tax on

personal estate)

                   Swazey, 132 Me. at 37, 165 A. at 164

                   Kramer, 144 Me. at 241, 67 A.2d at 537 (assessment on

devisee under will made in gross, without showing assessment for individual lots, not improper when lien certificate provided liability of each lot)

                   Fickett, 390 A.2d at 471

 

 

There must be strict compliance with statutory requirements to divest property owners of property by lien and foreclosure

 

                   Keene, 19 Me. at 370

                   Shimmin, 26 Me. at 232-33

                   Greene, 58 Me. at 532

                   French, 61 Me. at 210

                   Tolman, 68 Me. at 317

                   Treat, 68 Me. at 395 (tax deed in name of tax collector, not

                             the municipality, could not convey title)

                   Cressey II, 76 Me. at 534

                   United Copper Mining & Smelting Co., 85 Me. at 322,

                             27 A. at 185

                   Bowler, 84 Me. at 377, 24 A. at 879

                   Parsons, 86 Me. at 515, 30 A. at 111

                   Stafford, 97 Me. at 223, 54 A. at 397

                   Roberts, 106 Me. at 177, 76 A. at 284

                   Baker, 102 Me. at 419, 67 A. at 146

                   Kelley, 110 Me. at 365, 86 A. at 255

                   Stowell, 122 Me. at 370

                   Milo Water Co. II, 131 Me. at 376, 163 A. at 165

                   Robbins, 134 Me. at 288, 186 A. at 664 (purpose of tax sales

                             is to facilitate the substantial right of redemption)

                   Van Woudenburg, 136 Me. at 210, 211-12, 7 A.2d at 624-25

                             (municipal clerk must record copy of collector’s notices                             and his certificate)

                   Lowden, 136 Me. at 344-45, 9 A.2d at 660-61 (statutory                                     requirements as to place of sale not complied with)

                   Norwood, 138 Me. at 183, 24 A.2d at 231

                   Scavone, 142 Me. at 46, 45 A.2d at 787

                   Dudley, 152 Me. at 167, 126 A.2d at 287

                   Blaney, 455 A.2d at 1387 (failure of notice voids tax lien

certificate)

                   Cary, 534 A.2d at 356, 358 (tax lien certificate must contain

name of owner of property; actual knowledge satisfies notice, but not recording, requirements)

                   Nadeau, 572 A.2d at 492 n.2 (same)

                   Hamm, 644 A.2d at 1389 n.2 (same)

                   Dubois, 645 A.2d at 1127

                   Cf. Livonia, 1998 ME 39, ¶¶ 7, 8, 707 A.2d at 86 (mailing of                               lien claim, return receipt requested, sufficient to meet                                     due process requirements of notice although live-in

                             companion with bipolar disorder signed for notice)

                   Anderson, 1999 ME 70, ¶ 16, 728 A.2d at 1257-58

                             (where real estate is not assessed to the record owner,

                             the record owner must be notified of tax lien before                                   property may be divested, 36 M.R.S. § 942, unless                                    record owner has actual notice, 36 M.R.S. § 943,                               provided that the municipality has named the record                                       owner on the lien certificate)

 

 

Taxes legally assessed on an estate create a lien thereon, 36 M.R.S. § 552

 

                   Hobbs, 32 Me. at 70

                   Williams, 35 Me. at 554

                   Ring, 1999 ME 48, ¶ 6, 727 A.2d at 903-04

 

 

Real estate cannot be forfeited by lien to enforce the collection of a tax on personal property

 

                    Scavone, 142 Me. at 46, 45 A.2d at 787-88

 

 

There can be no valid tax lien without a prior valid assessment

 

                   Norwood, 138 Me. at 183, 24 A.2d at 231

 

 

Taxpayer can challenge validity of a tax in a lien proceeding

 

                   Exxon Corp., 351 A.2d at 536-37

 

 

Taxpayers have the duty to learn what is being done to enforce a lien of taxes against their property

 

                   Mandarelli, 320 A.2d at 30

                   Ring, 1999 ME 48, ¶ 14, 727 A.2d at 906

 

 

Municipality had no duty to inform taxpayer, purchasing other property from municipality, that it was not applying any of the money to discharge tax liens

 

                   Harrington, 381 A.2d at 641-42

 

 

Interest and fees on tax liens, 36 M.R.S. §§ 942, 942-A, 943

 

                   Aucella I, 564 A.2d at 69

                   Ring, 1999 ME 48, ¶ 6, 727 A.2d at 904

 

 

A municipality cannot discriminate against nonresidents in not permitting redemption, and reconveyance, of foreclosed property

 

                   But see Roberts, 106 Me. 174, 76 A. 283 (passim)(discussing

                             different tax sale notice requirements for residents                                    versus nonresidents)

                   Aucella II, 583 A.2d at 216-17 (discussing discriminatory

intent as component of equal protection)

See Aucella III, 628 A.2d at 124 (“Nonresidence of a state,

          town, or locality is not a permissible basis for different

          treatment of property owners absent a  legitimate reason

          for the distinction”)

 

 

Notice requirements for tax liens/foreclosures/sales

 

                   Porter, 1 Me. at 307-08 (notice should have stated that land,                               now in Brownfield, was formerly in town of Porter)                           Lovejoy, 48 Me. 377 (passim)

                   Phillips, 61 Me. at 551 (tax collector must have complied

with advertising and sale requirements)

                   Tolman, 68 Me. at 318 (uncertainty as to contents of                                          advertising of property rendered notice inadequate)

                   Wiggin, 73 Me. at 381-82 (notice requirements that                                            collector must comply with)

                   Ladd, 84 Me. at 194, 24 A. at 814 (same)

                   United Copper Mining & Smelting Co., 85 Me. at 323,

                             27 A. at 185-86 (discussion of publication)

                   Stafford, 97 Me. 222, 54 A. 397 (passim)(failure to record                                   notice of foreclosure)

                   Roberts, 106 Me. 174, 76 A. 283 (passim)

                   Lowden, 136 Me. at 345, 9 A.2d at 661 (public not given                                     notice of place of sale)

                   Mandarelli, 320 A.2d at 29

                   Cummings, 430 A.2d 825 (passim)

                   McNaughton, 1997 ME 182, ¶¶ 6-8, 698 A.2d at 1051-52

                   Ocwen Federal Bank, FSB, 2001 ME 120, ¶ 11-21, 777 A.2d

                             at 279-82 (town that recorded tax lien must be joined

                             as necessary party in foreclosure action)

 

 

Procedure for tax sales, see now 36 M.R.S. §§ 1071-1084

 

                   Brown, 25 Me. 359 (passim)

                   Hobbs, 32 Me. at 71-72

                   Phillips, 40 Me. at 161-62

                   Veazie I, 57 Me. at 517 (passim)

                   Roberts, 106 Me. 174, 76 A. 283 (passim)

                   Keyes, 121 Me at 315-28, 117 A. at 172-77

                   Robbins, 134 Me. at 289, 186 A. at 665

                   Norwood, 138 Me. 180, 24 A.2d 229 (passim)

                   Dolloff, 148 Me. at 181-82, 91 A.2d at 322

 

 

Tax collector cannot sell more property than is required to pay taxes due

 

                   Andrews, 32 Me. at 399

                   Lovejoy, 48 Me. at 378

                   Whitmore, 70 Me. at 279

                   Briggs, 71 Me. at 236

                   Wiggin, 73 Me. at 382

                   Ladd, 84 Me. at 194, 24 A. at 814

                   Milliken, 97 Me. at 448, 54 A. at 1075                

 

 

A purchaser of land by a tax deed must obtain relief for consideration paid

from the covenanter, not the state or municipality, if the deed proves defective, absent a waiver of immunity from suit

 

                   Arnold, 118 Me. at 400-02, 108 A. at 332-33

                   Keyes, 121 Me. at 314, 117 A. at 171

 

 

The rule of caveat emptor does not apply to the purchase of real estate at a sheriff’s sale where there has been a complete failure of title

 

                   Martel, 311 A.2d at 547

 

 

Authority of local board of assessment review to reconsider a previous decision

 

                   Forbes, 2001 ME 157, ¶¶ 7-12, 763 A.2d at 1186-88

                             (discussion of 30-A M.R.S. § 2691(3)(F))

 

 

Appeal process described

 

                   International Woolen Co., 2003 ME 80, ¶ 11, 827 A.2d at 842-43

 

 

Appeals from abatement decisions are a matter of legislative privilege, not constitutional right

 

                   Paul II, 110 Me. at 197, 85 A. at 573

 

 

An enlargement of the period to appeal to the Superior Court is not permitted where there exists a statutorily-provided appeal period

 

                   Reed, 393 A.2d at 162

 

 

The Law Court formerly had held that a municipality was not a party to an appeal challenging the denial of a request for abatement and that assessors had to be served with notice of the litigation

 

                   McKay Radio & Telegraph Co. I, 131 Me. at 336, 162 A. at 784

                   Blake, 152 Me. at 325, 129 A.2d at 209

 

 

Now, however, in an abatement appeal, the municipality, not the assessors, is deemed the proper party adverse to the taxpayer, and so assessors have no right to appeal

 

                   Eldridge, 392 A.2d at 40 & n.2, correcting S. D. Warren Co.,

                             138 Me. at 286, 25 A.2d at 648

                   Drummond, 402 A.2d at 470

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 388

                   See Freeport Minerals Co., 437 A.2d at 642 n.1

                   Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 477 A.2d at 271 n.5

 

 

Naming the State Tax Assessor or a municipality as a party does not make local assessors parties to a case

 

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 334, 335

 

 

Once a petitioner has appealed, he has taken the case out of the munici-pality’s hands, and so the Superior Court would be giving merely an advisory opinion re whether assessors followed the law in this regard

 

                   Dodge, 577 A.2d at 347

 

 

Statutory requirement that an appeal from tax assessors must be taken to a board of assessment review, see now 36 M.R.S. §§ 843(1), or to the county commissioners, see now section 844(1)

 

                   Whitmore, 79 Me. at 187, 9 A. at 120

                   Kokernak, 612 A.2d at 873

 

 

Who may appeal when the ownership of property changes hands during the tax year under consideration

 

                   Freeport Minerals Co., 437 A.2d at 643-44 (record owner

                             requested abatement, and subsequent owner could

have done so, subsequent owner appealed to board

of assessment review, and both appealed to court)

 

 

Formerly, a taxpayer must have paid taxes in order to appeal (N. B.: now modified by statute)

 

                   Dubois, 645 A.2d at 1128 (application of former statute)

                   Interstate Food Processing, 1997 ME 193, ¶ 5, 698 A.2d at 1076

 

 

The failure to pay taxes by due date when an appeal is taken after due date will result in suspension, not dismissal, of appeal

 

                   Interstate Food Processing, 1997 ME 193, ¶ 6, 698 A.2d at 1076

 

 

Whether an appeal to county commissioners or a board of assessment review was timely

 

                   Kokernak, 612 A.2d at 873-74 (county commissioners)

                   International Woolen Co., 2003 ME 80, ¶¶ 13-15, 827 A.2d at

843-44 (board of assessment review)

 

 

A deemed denial may be thought of as a pocket veto

 

                   Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, 158 Me. at 291, 183

                             A.2d at 208

 

 

An agreement to extend the period for a municipality to decide an appeal may be granted by a taxpayer implicitly

 

                   Kokernak, 612 A.2d at 874

                   International Woolen Co., 2003 ME 80, ¶ 12, 827 A.2d at 843

 

 

A municipality does not lose authority to consider an appeal after the expiration of the deemed denial period

 

                   International Woolen Co., 2003 ME 80, ¶¶ 13-15, 827 A.2d at

843-44

 

 

While an aggrieved party is entitled to a de novo hearing before Board, 36 M.R.S. § 273, 843(1-A), 844(2), this does not mean the party is entitled to a de novo determination of the assessment

 

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 322-23

 

 

Remedy questions: (a) county commissioners, (b) board of assessment review, or (c) Board of Property Tax Review has the power only to grant abatements as they see fit, not to remand a case to assessors to recom-pute tax due

 

                   Muirgen Properties, 663 A.2d at 58, (a)

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶¶ 24, 26, 727 A.2d at 351, 352, (c)

                   See Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 7, 763 A.2d at 117, (b)

 

 

Remand for further findings by commissioners/board of review

 

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna I, 604 A.2d at 910

 

 

Assessment in the first instance is not for the courts

 

                   Perry II, 149 Me. at 175, 99 A.2d at 295

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 934

 

 

A court does not decide which of opposing figures is better, nor does it substitute its own estimate of value; that is a function of a board of assessment review, upon consideration of all the evidence

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 369

                   Muirgen Properies, 663 A.2d at 59

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 934

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶¶ 8, 11, 704 A.2d at 409,                            410

 

 

Due consideration requires at least fair and reasonable consideration, with an open mind, while judging the weight of the evidence, and a factor relied upon must be reflected in the finding of value

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 369

 


IV.  Valuation of Property

 

Fair market value = just value = correct, honest, true, real value

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 30, 130 A. at 508

Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 31, 180 A. at 804

Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 188, 107 A.2d at 479

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 734

Frank, 329 A.2d at 173

Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 389

Eastler, 499 A.2d at 924

Muirgen Properties, 663 A.2d at 58

Weekley, 676 A.2d at 934

McCullough, 687 A.2d at 631

J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶ 13, 694 A.2d at 459

Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶ 9, 704 A.2d at 409

Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 19, 763 A.2d at 120

Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME 54, ¶ 15, 850 A.2d at 1150

Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶¶ 11 & n.5, 19, ___ A.3d at ___ & n.5, ___

 

 

Value is measured by highest price a normal purchaser, under normal conditions, would pay for it; what the property will bring at a fair public sale, with a willing seller and willing buyer

 

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 30, 130 A. at 508

Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 32, 180 A. at 804

Frank, 329 A.2d at 173

Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 394

Weekley, 676 A.2d at 934

J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶ 13, 694 A.2d at 459

 

 

Emphasis on arm’s length nature of transaction of comparable property in assessing value of property in question

 

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶¶ 10, 11, 14, 19, 763 A.2d at 118,

119, 120

Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶¶ 13, 16, 

818 A.2d at 1025, 1025-26

Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶¶ 16, ___ A.3d at ___ (town erred in

finding that taxpayer failed to prove he purchased property in an arm’s length transaction, and so led town to disregard evidence of sales price); at ¶ 17, ___ A.3d at ___ (town’s finding that taxpayer did not purchase property at arm’s length was unsupported); at ¶ 18, ___ A.3d at ___ (that property was on the market for three years affirmatively supports the sales price as representative of market value); at ¶ 19, ___ A.3d at ___ (arm’s length sale price is best evidence of market value)

 

 

Fair means nondiscriminatory, and just means in line with the fair market value of the property

 

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 13, 769 A.2d at 871

 

 

If property is assessed at its true market value, and the valuation is consistent with those of similar properties, a taxpayer has suffered no constitutional harm

 

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 11, 721 A.2d at 640

                   Roberts, 2004 ME 132, ¶ 4, 861 A.2d at 618 

 

 

Size of parcel alone does not determine land value

 

                   McDougal, 146 Me. at 14, 76 A.2d at 860

 

 

Value must be distinguished from valuation

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 270, 59 A. at 86

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 126, 122 A. at 51

 

 

But they may be intimately related

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 393 n.8

 

 

Value-in-use is not necessarily value

 

                   IBM Credit Corp., 665 A.2d at 665-66 (dissenting op.)

 

 

If true value cannot be determined, uniformity and equality are preferred

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 129-30, 122 A. at 53

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 29, 130 A. at 508

Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 734          

                    Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 307

Town of Thomaston, 490 A.2d at 1182

J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶¶ 13, 17, 694 A.2d at 459,                  461

UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 13, 921 A.2d at 151

          (“Where uniformity conflicts with just or market value,                              treating like taxpayers equally must prevail”)

 

 

Determining the correct method of valuation of personal property

 

                   N. J. Gendron Lumber Co., 151 Me. at 454-55, 456, 120 A.2d

at 562, 563 (manufactured lumber should have been valued under statutory annual average amount formula, not amount on hand as of April 1st)

                   Emple Knitting Mills, 155 Me. at 275, 153 A.2d at 121

(materials that make up finished merchandise, as well as finished merchandise kept on hand for sale, should have been valued under statutory average amount formula)

 

 

In appraising real property, consider all uses to which it may be put by owner and all conditions which affect its value

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 272, 59 A. at 87

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 32, 180 A. at 804

 

Consider all factors and surroundings in assessing value

 

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶ 5, 704 A.2d at 408

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 18, 721 A.2d at 641

                   Pepperman, 1999 ME 157, ¶ 4, 739 A.2d at 853

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 8, 769 A.2d at 870

 

 

Assessor must consider all relevant factors, 36 M.R.S. § 701-A

 

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶¶ 11, 16, 921 A.2d

                             at 150, 151 (emphasizing that value arises from                                         “presently possible” land use, its “current use,” and its                             “legally permissible” use)

 

 

But under 36 M.R.S. § 701-A, an assessor need not apply each listed   factor but may determine which of them applies, and need not assign

equal weight to them

                  

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 932

                   Pepperman, 1999 ME 157, ¶ 4, 739 A.2d at 853

Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 11, 769 A.2d at 871

 

 

Auction or foreclosure sale is not the measure of true market value; it is less

 

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 30, 130 A. at 508

                   McCullough, 687 A.2d at 631

 

 

A sale of stock of a close corporation may well not be equivalent to a public sale

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 395

 

 

Sale (purchase) price is the best (though not conclusive or dispositive) evidence of market value

 

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 599 n.5

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 934; 935-36 (dissenting op.)

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 19, 763 A.2d at 120

Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶ 19, ___ A.3d at ___

 

 

Asking price, when not obtained, may be disregarded as evidence of value

 

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 599 n.5

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 19, 763 A.2d at 120

 

 

Use of similar factors, such as how long property had been on the market, what other offers had been received, difficulties seller had in obtaining offers, etc.

 

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 934

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 19, 763 A.2d at 120

                  

 

Actual sales of other property may bear upon value of property in question

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 270, 59 A. at 86

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 395 (reliance on recent sale)

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 933-34

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 21, 727 A.2d at 350-51

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶¶ 11-22, 763 A.2d at 118-21

                   Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶ 12, ___ A.3d at ___

 

 

Board of assessment review, in its discretion, can properly ignore sales of land after April 1st of the year in question

 

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 18, 763 A.2d at 120

 

 

Valuation in another year is not admissible on value of property in year in question

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 270-71, 59 A. at 86

 

 

Use of sales ratio analysis

 

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 933; 935 n.1 (dissenting op.)

 

 

Assessors are to recognize the value of property over a measurably stable time, not the temporary and extraordinary, fleeting or speculative

 

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 32, 180 A. at 804

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 173

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 368

 

 

Violent fluctuations in municipal revenues are not desirable; stability of revenue is important and should be considered

 

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 32, 180 A. at 804

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 175

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 368

 

 

But cannot so control as to ignore constitutional requirement of just value

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 368

 

 

Consider effect of federal regulations—effecting a mortgage subsidy (an intangible) to a low income housing project—governing property

 

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931

                  

 

Consider value of purchase power agreement (an intangible) when inextricably intertwined with a tangible asset, a hydroelectric facility

 

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶¶ 19-20, 921 A.2d

                             at 152-53

 

 

Mathematical precision or exactitude, perfection, or absolute equality in valuation is impossible; uniformity can be only approximated; some guesswork is involved

 

                   Augusta Bank, 36 Me. at 259

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 267-68, 59 A. at 85

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 130, 122 A. at 53

                   Cumberland County Power & Light Co., 125 Me. at 139, 131 A.

                             at 595

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 33, 36, 180 A. at 805, 807

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 188, 107 A.2d at 479

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 734, 739

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 173

                   Drebelbis, 520 A.2d at 710

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 369

 

 

Experts are not usually in agreement; valuation is not so precise

 

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 189, 107 A.2d at 479

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 743

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 171

 

 

All appraisal methods are imperfect and involve judgment

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 267, 59 A. at 85

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 369

 

 

Thus, perfect relief should not be anticipated; practical justice should be attained; taxation must be practical and bring results

 

                   Cressey II, 76 Me. at 534

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 184, 185, 107 A.2d at 477

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 484, 121 A.2d at 354

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 741

 

 

Property need not be assessed at full value, but if assessors use a percentage of true value (and it makes no difference what they use), then they must do so uniformly/with equality

 

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 190, 107 A.2d at 480

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 734, 739

 

 

Value is usually proved by the opinion of the owner, opinions of experts, and by price of sales of similar properties in the neighborhood

 

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 189, 107 A.2d at 479

 

 

But value need not be presented only through expert testimony

 

                   Waterville Homes, 655 A.2d at 367 n.1

 

 

Assessors need not be bound by expert appraisals

 

                   Drebelbis, 520 A.2d at 710

 

 

Board of assessors can accept part of a witness’ evidence of value and reject other parts of such evidence, and reject it all based on flaws in part of the testimony

 

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶¶ 20-21, 763 A.2d at 120-21

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶¶ 15-16,

818 A.2d at 1025-26

 

 

Assessors are not always people of special training or expertise; they may be semi-skilled, and after all exercise judgment differently and imperfectly

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 267, 59 A. at 85

                   Cumberland County Power & Light Co., 125 Me. at 139, 131 A.

                             at 595                  

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 184, 107 A.2d at 477

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 484, 121 A.2d at 354

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 171

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 390-91

                   Goldstein, 1998 ME 261, ¶ 7, 721 A.2d at 181-82

 

 

Assessors’ practical methods are much more valuable than, and as likely to be correct as, theoretical contentions of experts

 

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 185, 107 A.2d at 477

 

 

Things put in a colloquial or unstudied manner often state meaning more vividly and forcefully than literal statements.  Plain common sense

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 126-27, 122 A. at 52

 

 

Assessors are said to have special knowledge of local conditions, better judgment of values, and are in the best position to evaluate value and obsolescence (but still may fail)

                  

                   Whitmore, 79 Me. at 187, 9 A. at 120

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 268, 59 A. at 85

                   Cumberland County Power & Light Co., 125 Me. at 139, 140,

131 A.2d at 595

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 394

 

 

Assessors properly relied on information from professional appraisers, State Tax Assessors Office, their own knowledge, and comparables

 

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna I, 604 A.2d at 910

 

 

They may rely on others and delegate measuring and pricing, while retaining ultimate authority

 

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 176

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 392

 

 

Assessors must keep themselves informed of the methods used by professionals they hire

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 393

 

 

State has undertaken to train assessors and eliminate nonexpert valuation, so as to alleviate assessment inequality, 36 M.R.S. § 301 et seq.

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 391 n.5

 

 

The Legislature has established minimum assessing standards, 36 M.R.S. § 327, but has not set forth the methods local assessors may use

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d 389-90

                   IBM Credit Corp., 665 A.2d at 662-63

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 598

 

 

Local assessors have considerable leeway or flexibility in choosing the method or combinations of methods to achieve just valuations

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 390

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 366

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 324

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 598

                   J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶ 14, 694 A.2d at 459

                   Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME 54, ¶ 16 & n.7, 850 A.2d at

                             1150 & n.7

 

 

Record supported methodology of board of assessment review

 

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶¶ 4, 16, 17, 763 A.2d at 117, 119-20

 

 

Remedy for burden of too-heavy taxes lies not with courts; it is only when one bears a disproportionate share that he has a case in court; however, assessment substantially in excess of true value give rise to a presumption of inequality

 

                   Cumberland County Power & Light Co., 125 Me. at 140, 131

A. at 595

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 31, 180 A. at 804

                   Gaston, 150 Me. at 293-94, 110 A.2d at 594

 

 

Overvaluation means vis à vis true value only, not vis à vis other property by adjusting the valuation of those properties

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 268-69, 59 A. at

85-86

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 125, 122 A. at 52

                   Swazey, 132 Me. at 37, 165 A. at 164

 

 

So evidence showing merely disproportionate valuation is not admissible

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 269, 59 A. at 86

 

 

If appraisal is uniformly too high on properties, taxpayers need not show overvaluation in relation to other like properties

 

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 28, 29, 130 A. at 508

 

 

And so if other properties are undervalued, petitioner, whose property is valued properly, still loses; otherwise there would be an undermining of every valuation in town

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 268, 59 A. at 85-86

 

 

If Board rejects petitioner’s evidence of value, and instead makes its own

calculations, it remedies deficiencies in petitioner’s case and relieves petitioner of his burden to prove his case

 

                   Waterville Homes, 655 A.2d at 367

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 10, 763 A.2d at 118

 

 

Burden of proof: Petitioner must establish a prima facie case

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 125, 122 A. at 51

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 31, 180 A. at 804

 

 

Burden of proof: Petitioner must “clearly” prove his case

 

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 29, 130 A. at 508

 

 

Burden of proof: Petitioner must prove his case “indisputably”

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 131, 122 A. at 54

 

 

Burden of proof: Requiring petitioner to prove his case by a preponderance of the evidence misstates burden

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 744

 

 

Burden of proof: Petitioner for abatement must show that the overvaluation was “manifestly wrong”

 

                   Shawmut  Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 131, 122 A. at 54

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 29, 30, 130 A. at 508, 509

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 33, 180 A. at 805

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 186, 191, 107 A.2d at 477,

480

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 174

                   Delta Chemicals, 438 A.2d at 484

                   Great Northern Nekoosa Corp., 522 A.2d at 1317

                   Lipski, 602 A.2d at 1172

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna I, 604 A.2d at 909

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 323

                   Waterville Homes, 655 A.2d at 366-67

                   Glenridge Properties, 662 A.2d at 931

                   Muirgen Properties, 663 A.2d at 58

                   IBM Credit Corp, 665 A.2d at 664

                   Wesson, 676 A.2d at 5f98

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 934

                   McCullough, 687 A.2d at 630

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 12, 13, 721 A.2d at 640

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 13, 727 A.2d at 349

                   Stewart, 2000 ME 157, ¶ 9, 757 A.2d at 776 (dictum)

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶¶ 7, 8, 763 A.2d at 117

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶¶ 8, 15, 769 A.2d at 870, 872

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 7, 818

A.2d at 1024

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 9, 834 A.2d at 919

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 9, 921 A.2d at 149

                   Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶ 12, ___ A.3d at ___

 

 

It is not enough for a taxpayer, to meet its burden, to show flaws in the assessor’s methodology; taxpayer must further demonstrate affirmatively  how those flaws would have resulted in overvaluation or discrimination

 

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931-32

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶¶ 11, 13-15, 769 A.2d at 871, 872

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 7, 818

A.2d at 1024

 

 

Impeachment of the assessment is not enough to show it was manifestly wrong; the petitioner also must affirmatively demonstrate, by credible evidence, the just value of the property; without such the Board has no

basis to compare local assessment and petitioner’s version of just value

 

                   Waterville Homes, 655 A.2d at 366-67

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931-32

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 599

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 22, 727 A.2d at 351

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 9, 763 A.2d at 118

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶¶ 8, 13-15, 769 A.2d at 870, 871-72

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 8,

                             818 A.2d at 1024

                   Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 3 n.1,

                             957 A.2d at 978 n.1

                            

 

A taxpayer need not convince the Board of the ultimate accuracy of its proposed valuation, but its proposal must be sufficiently credible to convince the Board that the property is substantially overvalued, or else the Board need not undertake its own independent determination of value

 

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 8, 818

A.2d at 1024

 

 

Excess valuation requires a comparison between the local assessment and the version of value that the petitioner for abatement contends is just

                  

                   Delta Chemicals, 438 A.2d at 484

                   Waterville Homes, 655 A.2d at 367

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 14, 763 A.2d at 119

 

 

Board must make an independent determination of value by an accepted  method, and cannot categorically refuse to consider a party’s analysis;

otherwise, the Board’s valuation is arbitrary and unreasonable

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 366

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶ 5, 704 A.2d at 408-09

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶¶ 14-17,

818 A.2d at 1025-26

 

 

There is a presumption of validity and good faith to the assessors’ valuation, and it is the burden of the owner/taxpayer (the party seeking the abatement) to show overvaluation or discrimination—that is, an assessment not in conformity with law

 

                   Whitmore, 79 Me. at 186, 9 A. at 120

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 268, 271, 59 A. at

85, 86

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 125, 130, 122 A. at 52, 53

                   Cumberland County Power & Light Co., 125 Me. at 140, 131 A.

                             at 595

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 32-33, 180 A. at 805

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 186, 189, 107 A.2d at 477,

479

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 734-35, 744

                   Maine Consolidated Power Co., 219 A.2d at 749

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 171, 174

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 306

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 392, 393

                   Delta Chemicals, 438 A.2d at 484

                   Lipski, 602 A.2d at 1172

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna I, 604 A.2d at 909

                   Waterville Homes, 655 A.2d at 366-67

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931

                   Muirgen Properties, 663 A.2d at 58

                   IBM Credit Corp., 665 A.2d at 664

                   Chase 1998 ME 260, ¶ 13, 721 A.2d at 640

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 13, 727 A.2d at 349

                   Stewart, 2000 ME 157, ¶ 9, 757 A.2d at 776 (dictum)

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 7, 763 A.2d at 117

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 8, 769 A.2d at 869-70

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 7, 818

A.2d at 1023-24

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 9, 834 A.2d at 919

 

                  

If the assessment is so unreasonable that (1) property is substantially overvalued, and an injustice results, or (2) there has been an unjust discrimination, or (3) some fraud, dishonesty, or illegality, courts will give relief; if not, assessors’ judgment will not be overturned

 

Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 128, 129, 122 A. at 52 (stating

first two possibilities as grounds for relief, but referring also to the third)

Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 189, 107 A.2d at 479

Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 734, 739, 740

Maine Consolidated Power Co., 219 A.2d at 751

Frank, 329 A.2d at 171-72

Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 393

Delta Chemicals, 438 A.2d at 484

Moser, 553 A.2d 1249

Camps Newfound/Owatonna I, 604 A.2d at 909

Kokernak, 612 A.2d at 872

Central  Maine Power, 649 A.2d at 323

Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931

Muirgen Properties, 663 A.2d at 58

Wesson, 667 A.2d at 598

McCullough, 687 A.2d at 630

Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 12, 721 A.2d at 640

Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 13, 727 A.2d at 349

Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 8 n.3, 763 A.2d at 117 n.3

Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 9, 769 A.2d at 870

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 7, 818

A.2d at 1024

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 9, 834 A.2d at 919

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 9, 921 A.2d at 149

                   Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 8, 957 A.2d

                             at 979

Terfloth, 2014 ME 57, ¶ 12, ___ A.3d at ___

 

 

If the taxpayer has shown overcome the presumption of validity of an assessment and, so, that the assessment is manifestly wrong, the Board must reach its own determination of just value and grant such an abate-

ment as it thinks proper, 36 M.R.S. §§ 843(1-A), 844(2)

 

                   Quoddy Realty Corp.,1998 ME 14, ¶ 11, 704 A.2d at 410

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶¶ 24-25 727 A.2d at 351

                   Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶ 7, 763 A.2d at 117

 

 

Petitioner must show overvaluation was “manifestly unjust” or unreasonable in light of the circumstances

 

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 929

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 9, 769 A.2d at 870

 

 

Or that unjust discrimination exists

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 131, 122 A. at 52

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 186, 191, 107 A.2d at 477,

480

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 174

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 306-07

Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 22, 727 A.2d at 351

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 9, 769 A.2d at 870

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 9, 834 A.2d at 919

 

 

Unjust discrimination defined

 

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 13, 834 A.2d at 920

                             (“Most property tax discrimination cases involve a                                      defined methodology that results in unequal treatment”)

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 12, 843 A.2d at 35 (occurs “when a

municipal assessment system ‘necessarily results in unequal apportionment’”; there is “underassessment or overassessment of one set of similarly situated properties”; or “when selected properties receive an assessment reduction that does not benefit similarly valued property”)

                   Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME 54, ¶ 17, 850 A.2d at 1151

(“The under or over assessment of one set of similarly

situated properties will support a finding of unjust discrimination”)

                   Roberts, 2004 ME 132, ¶ 4, 861 A.2d at 618 (if valuation is

                             consistent with similar properties there is no

                             constitutional harm)               

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 13, 921 A.2d at 151

                             (quoting Ram’s Head Partners)                   

                   Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 11, 957 A.2d

                             at 979 (citing Ram’s Head Partners for proposition that

“only similarly situated properties must receive approximately equivalent tax treatment”)

         

 

Discrimination means a distinctly higher valuation, arrived at intentionally or with systematic purpose, which must be undone to place the complain-ant on a plane of equality with others in his class—that is, it violates the essential principle of practical uniformity

 

                   Shawmut Mfg Co., 123 Me. at 129, 130, 122 A. at 53

Cumberland County Power & Light Co., 125 Me. at 140, 141,

          131 A. at 595

                   Gaston, 150 Me. at 294, 110 A.2d at 594

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 739-40

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 173

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 394

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 11, 834 A.2d at 919

 

 

This has been considered a matter of due process

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 127, 122 A. at 52

 

 

And equal protection

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 129, 122 A. at 53

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 10, 834 A.2d at 919

 

 

Only similarly situated properties must receive approximately equivalent tax treatment

                  

                   Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 11 & n.6,

                             957 A.2d at 979 & n.6

 

 

Discrimination can be proved by showing similarly situated property is assessed at drastically lower valuation; there are no distinctions between the properties that justify the disparity; and the municipality’s rationale for the lower valuation is unfounded or arbitrary

 

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 12, 834 A.2d at 920

 

 

The Law Court has recognized the possibility that circumstances may arise in which the disparate tax treatment of different categories of property becomes so extreme that abatement could be justified even without showing they are similarly situated

 

                        Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 11 n.6, 

957 A.2d at 979 n.6 (but no such showing was made

here)

           

 

To establish a claim of discrimination, one must demonstrate that his property as a whole, not simply a component part, has been valued differently than comparable properties

 

                   Roberts, 2004 ME 132, ¶ 4, 861 A.2d at 618

 

 

Petitioner must show either (1) the property was assessed at more than its just value or (2) the property was assessed at a higher rate than was the general mass of other taxable property

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 128, 131, 122 A. at 52, 53-54

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 744

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 306

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 389

                   Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶ 11, 15, 721 A.2d at 640

 

 

More recently the Court has rejected the requirement that any given

property had to be treated similarly with the general mass of taxable property

                  

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 10, 834 A.2d at 919

                   Town of Bristol Taxpayers’ Ass’n, 2008 ME 159, ¶ 11, 957

                             A.2d at 979-80

 

 

Property asserted to have been assessed discriminatorily is not to be compared to the general mass of property, but to property similarly situated

 

          Moser, 553 A.2d at 1250

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶¶ 10-11, 14, 834 A.2d                              at 919, 920

 

 

Where a hydroelectric facility is a qualifying facility under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, thus allowing it to have a purchase power agreement (PPA) with a utility and to be exempt from utility regulations, the Board correctly determined that the PPA was inextricably entwined with it physical plant so that the PPA was properly considered a part of its value, though the PPA itself was intangible property, which did not discriminate against the facility

 

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶¶ 14-16, 921 A.2d

                             at 151-52

 

 

That is, unjust discrimination can exist in an unjustly discriminatory formula or methodology that results in unequal valuations

 

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 22, 727 A.2d at 351

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 13, 834 A.2d at 920

 

 

In alleging unjust discrimination, taxpayers need not show values of their individual properties but can rely on an appraiser’s analysis of neighborhood properties or assessment by municipality

 

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 22, 727 A.2d at 351

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 12, 834 A.2d at 919-20

 

 

Remedy for unjust discrimination in valuation is abatement

 

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 128, 122 A. at 52

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶¶ 24-25, 727 A.2d at 351-52

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 15, 834 A.2d at 920-21

 

 

It has been said that in a discrimination case, the system used by the assessors must have a necessary potential for discrimination

 

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 307

 

 

But since any approach has the potential for discrimination—that is, unjust apportionment—Farrelly is clarified to mean that the assessors’

system necessarily will have such a result

 

                   Moser, 553 A.2d at 1250

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 598

 

 

Discrimination exists only where petitioners show that the assessors’ system necessarily resulted in unequal apportionment

 

                   Adams, 1999 ME 49, ¶ 14, 727 A.2d at 349

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 10, 834 A.2d at 919

 

 

Mere errors of judgment by assessors do not prove discrimination

 

                   Gaston, 150 Me. at 294, 110 A.2d at 594

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 740

 

 

Discrimination does not exist in sporadic differences in valuations

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 740

 

 

An aggrieved taxpayer must show more than some isolated, specific, or sporadic instances of lower valuation or spot disparity to others; such do not show invidious discrimination, but mere errors

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 266-67, 59 A. at 85

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 740-41 

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶ 11, 834 A.2d at 919

 

 

It is not sufficient to show merely an error; it is only when there is systematic purpose by the assessors to cast a disproportionate share

on a taxpayer, or class of taxpayers, that courts will intervene

 

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 266-67, 59 A. at 85

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 127, 130, 122 A. at 52, 53

                   Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 33, 180 A. at 805

                   Gaston, 150 Me. at 293-94, 110 A. at 504

Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 739

 

 

Another statement of this: If assessors have been honest with themselves, fair with the public, and true to their oaths, their judgment controls

 

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 189, 190, 107 A.2d at 480

Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 734

 

 

Town’s failure to assess certain properties of others cannot make assessment of property in question illegal; that is, undervaluation of other properties is not a defense to over-taxation of one’s own property

 

                   Maine Water Co., 90 Me. at 181-82, 38 A. at 102

                   Blair, 104 Me. at 446-47, 72 A. at 178

                   Swazey, 132 Me. at 37, 165 A. at 164

                   Tozier II, 136 Me. at 366, 10 A.2d at 455

 

 

Look for whether there has occurred a failure to exercise a fair and impartial judgment, or a conscious resort to arbitrary methods, different from those used to assess other like properties, thereby imposing an unequal burden

                  

                   Farrelly, 407 A.2d at 307

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 393

 

 

Discrimination does not require actual fraud

 

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 29, 130 A. at 508

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 740

 

 

But fraudulent action by assessors may be corrected by a court

 

                   Whitmore, 79 Me. at 186, 9 A. at 120

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 128, 122 A. at 52

 

 

An illegal tax is one unauthorized by law; illegality involves a board’s acting beyond its authority

 

                   Herriman, 43 Me. at 499 (assessors assessing one who is not

                             an inhabitant of the town have committed an illegality)

                   Stockman, 147 Me. at 380, 87 A.2d at 683

Goldstein, 1998 ME 261, ¶ 7, 721 A.2d at 181 (misclassifica-

Tion of property that results in an assessment that is too high or too low is a classic error in valuation); ¶ 8, 621 A.2d at 182 (errors in calculating value are not illegalities because they do not affect the taxability of the property); ¶ 10 (mistakes in the application of the methods used to reach a valuation are not illegalities)     

                   Yusem, 2001 ME 61, ¶ 14 n.12, 769 A.2d at 872 n.12

                   See UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 17, 921 A.2d

                             at 152 (taxpayer claimed town “exceeded the bounds of                            its taxing authority”); ¶18 (illegality occurs “when there                       is an ‘impropriety in the manner in which the property                             was assessed’ . . . , but not when the assessor has                                 made errors in value calculation”)

 

 

Intangible property that is inextricably entwined with a tangible asset may be considered in determining just value of the tangible property

 

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 931

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 19, 921 A.2d at 152

 

 

Methods of appraising value:           

(1) sales comparison, or market data

(2) income, or capitalization

(3) cost, or reproduction, less depreciation

 

Alfred J. Sweet, 134 Me. at 32, 180 A. at 804

Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 737

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 390

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 366-67

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 6, 818

                             A.2d at 1023

                   Opinion of the Justices, 2004 ME 54, ¶ 16 n.7, 850 A.2d at

                             1150 n.7

 

 

These are only devices to determine fair value

 

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 175-76

 

 

The objective of all is the same: to determine just or market value

                  

                   Harwood, 489 A.2d at 508

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 369

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶ 6, 704 A.2d at 409

 

 

And in the end it is a question of fact whether any formula or methodology determines just value

 

                   Great Northern Nekoosa Corp., 522 A.2d at 1317

            

 

Theoretically, all three methods may be employed, but often only one or two are useful in a given case

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 390

 

 

It is error for assessors to feel compelled to use only one method of appraisal

 

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶ 6, 704 A.2d at 409

 

 

An inherently discriminatory method cannot produce a just result,

even if by chance the method arrives at a just result

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 393 n.8

                   J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶ 14, 694 A.2d at 460

 

 

A municipality is not required to use the identical appraisal method on all properties

                  

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 369

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶ 6, 704 A.2d at 409

 

 

The use of any single approach or combination of approaches that leads appraisers astray will not be accepted

 

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 175

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 391

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 367

 

 

Reasons for this: (1) may result in the highest valuation; (2) especially where assessors have relied on professionals, taxpayers can expect more, not less, sophisticated methods to be used; (3) as assessors become more highly skilled, through certification, courts may insist on higher standards

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 391

 

 

Appraisers are to “correlate” or “reconcile”—that is, calculate by two or more methods and then weigh the factors used in arriving at each value to determine which best reflect market value

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 391-92 & n.6

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 367

                   Muirgen Properties, 665 A.2d at 57

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶ 10, 704 A.2d at 410

 

 

But this does not mean that appraisers can merely select any two methods and disregard a third that is demonstrably superior

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 367

 

 

If assessors hire appraisers, assessors will be bound by their methods if assessors accept their conclusions in toto

 

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 392

 

 

Assessors must be familiar with appraisers’ methods and use their own knowledge as a check

 

                   Shwamut Inn, 428 A.2d at 393

 

 

Highest and best use

 

                   Central Maine Power Co., 128 Me. at 494, 148 A. at 802 (owner

                             cannot lessen tax by using it in a manner that produces

little or no return, or fix value of land by the use to which he puts it; tax liability is not based on present use, but on its most profitable improvements and capacity)

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶¶ 11, 16, 921 A.2d

                             at 150, 151 (citing 36 M.R.S. § 701-A)

 

 

Method utilized—

 

Cost less depreciation, or replacement (recommended for mass valuations):

 

          Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 186, 107 A.2d at 477

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 742

          Maine Consolidated Power Co., 219 A.2d at 750 (not the only

                   method to value a utility)

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 174-76

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 389, 390 n.4, 392 (not per se

                             unsuitable for valuing commercial property; best suited

                             method for mass revaluations)

                   Great Northern Nekoosa Corp., 522 A.2d at 1317

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 367 (cost method

described; use rejected on facts here)

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 325 (need not be the

same as “net book value” and may greatly exceed such, by a “residual value,” because the life of a facility may greatly exceed the time during which a utility can depreciate its property)

                   Glenridge Development Co., 662 A.2d at 930 n.4 (best suited

method for mass revaluations); 932 (use of cost method,        with mere substantiation with income and market     approaches proper)

                   Muirgen Properties, 663 A.2d at 57

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶¶ 6, 10, 704 A.2d at 409,                            410

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 6 n.2,

818 A.2d at 1023 n.2 (cost method described); ¶ 11,

818 A.2d at 1024-25 (Board rejected taxpayer’s expert’s opinion as inadequately explained and devised to match income approach analysis)

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 10, 921 A.2d at 150

 

Income, or capitalization:

 

          Wheeler, 88 Me. at 181, 33 A. at 985 (stock of a corporation

not meeting its operating expenses may nonetheless have substantial value because of the prospects for increased business and future earning capacity

                   Frank, 329 A.2d at 174 (use rejected on facts here)

                   Great Northern Nekoosa Corp., 522 A.2d at 1317

(capitalization of cost savings approach need not have been adjusted by inclusion of income taxes; this is a question of methodology)

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 368 (how to use

                             explained at length)

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 12,

818 A.2d at 1025 (Board rejected taxpayer’s expert’s opinion as inadequately substantiated, and it was not clear how property taxes were not considered)

 

          Sales comparison, or market data:

 

                   South Portland Associates, 550 A.2d at 367-68 (use rejected

                             on facts here)

Harwood, 2000 ME 213, ¶¶ 11-15, 763 A.2d at 118-19 (use

          of one other sale was proper)

                   Northeast Empire Ltd. Partnership #2, 2003 ME 28, ¶ 13, 818

                             A.2d at 1025 (Board rejected taxpayer’s expert’s

                             opinion as flawed by including site remediation                                         expense when it appeared plant was going to continue

                             to operate, and because quality of comparables was                                   questionable and plant had not been offered on the                                  open market)

 

 

Cost of the property when first acquired is not synonymous with reasonable value; sale price is not necessarily true value; it has been accorded varying evidentiary weight, depending on petitioner’s ability to show that it was indicative of the price a willing buyer would pay in a free and open market

 

                   Spear, 125 Me. at 30, 130 A. at 508

                   Sears, Roebuck & Co., 150 Me. at 188-89, 107 A.2d at 479

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 736

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 394, 395

                   Wesson, 667 A.2d at 599 n.5

                   Weekley, 676 A.2d at 934

                   McCullough, 687 A.2d at 631

                   Quoddy Realty Corp., 1998 ME 14, ¶ 9, 704 A.2d at 409

 

 

Lease fee value is determined by capitalizing the income produced by the actual leases on the property

 

                   J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶ 3, 694 A.2d at 457

 

 

Fee simple value is determined by capitalizing the income that would be produced by market rents

 

                   J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶ 3, 694 A.2d at 457-58

 

 

Use of lease fee value alone violates Maine’s Constitution because it imposes an unequal tax on similarly situated taxpayers

 

J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶¶ 12, 16, 17, 694 A.2d at          459, 460, 461

 

 

When lease fee value and fee simple value differ, rely on the latter to determine abatement

 

                   J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶17, 694 A.2d at 461

                             (otherwise poor management is rewarded)

 

 

The principle of uniformity of taxation precludes the use of an appraisal method that will vary with managerial successes or failure

 

                   UAH-Hydro Kennebec, LP, 2007 ME 36, ¶ 13, 921 A.2d at 151

 

 

Running water (like air) is not property and is not taxable; so water power, as such, is not taxable; but once applied to a mill it becomes part of the value of the property (including the enhancing value of a “mill privilege”) subject to taxation, even if submerged

 

                   Union Water Power Co. I, 90 Me. at 64-65, 37 A. at 333

                   Saco Water Power Co., 98 Me. at 297-98, 56 A. at 914-15

                   Penobscot Chemical Fibre Co. I, 99 Me. at 272, 59 A. at 86

                   Inhabitants of Whiting, 121 Me. at 127, 115 A. at 900

                   Shawmut Mfg. Co., 123 Me. at 126, 122 A. at 51

                   Central Maine Power Co., 128 Me. at 488-95, 148 A. at

799-802

 

 

Functional obsolescence

 

                   J & N Sanford Trust, 1997 ME 97, ¶¶ 2, 694 A.2d at 457

                   Pepperman, 1999 ME 157, ¶¶ 3, 4 & nn.1, 2, 739 A.2d at

 852-53 & nn.1, 2

 

 

There is no hard and fast rule by which to compute depreciation; it cannot be proved with mathematical certainty, and must remain in the realm of opinion, estimate, and judgment

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 738

                   Shawmut Inn, 428 A.2d at 394

                  

 

Because an aggrieved taxpayer must show more than some isolated instances of lower valuation, evidence of an overall prevailing ratio within a tax district is admissible, if subject to cross-examination

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 741

 

 

Town-wide revaluations are perhaps the best method of maintaining equal apportionment of tax burden

 

                   Moser, 553 A.2d at 1250

 

 

But assessors are not precluded from reassessing in the time between town-wide revaluations

 

                   Moser, 553 A.2d at 1250

 

 

Basis for valuation for rate-making purposes need not (but may) be the same as for tax purposes, and assessors would abdicate their duties to be bound by rate-making authorities

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 735, 737

                   Maine Consolidated Power Co., 219 A.2d at 751

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 324

 

 

Although in the long run these two different valuations should approximate each other

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 735

 

 

Assessors do not have the same freedom to adjust value as do rate-makers

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 736

 

 

The reasonably foreseeable prospects of rate-maker approval of a sale or rate increase should be considered in assessing fair market value

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 736

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 324-25

 

 

Public utilities are harder to value than houses, businesses, etc.

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 736

 

 

The market value of a single purpose property, such as a public utility, must be determined by considering all factors that would influence an assumed buyer and seller in reaching a fair price in a fair market

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 737

 

 

Utility’s regulated status is a factor to be considered is assessing its property, but is not automatically determinative of a facility’s value

 

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 325

 

 

The reasonably foreseeable prospects of a rate-maker approving a sale or rate increase should be considered in assessing fair market value

 

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 736

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 324-25

 

 

Utility’s regulated status is a factor to be considered in assessing its property, but is not automatically determinative of facility’s value

         

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 325

 

 

As regards the value of property of a regulated utility, the assessors’ views remain relevant

 

                   Central Maine Power Co., 649 A.2d at 325

 

 

There could be a sale above net book cost, depending on the true value of the assets, as distinguished from valuation for rate-making purposes         

                   Kittery Electric Light Co. I, 219 A.2d at 737

 

 

Forestry land cases (Chase Law, 36 M.R.S. §§ 563, 564): petitioner must show tax creates incentive to abandon the land

 

P. H. Chadbourne & Co., 452 A.2d at 401-02 & n.2

 


V.  Exemptions From Taxation

 

There is no express constitutional provision for exemptions

 

                   Y.M.C.A of Auburn, 86 Me. at 247, 29 A. at 993

 

 

Exemptions are legislative

 

                   Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 74 (Legislature “may exempt

by general and uniform laws certain descriptions of property from taxation, and lay the burden of supporting government elsewhere”; “it is for the legislature to impose taxes and to exempt from taxation”)

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 494, 501

Hamlin, 86 Me. at 503, 30 A. at 79

                   Opinion of the Justices, 102 Me. at 528, 529, 66 A. at 727

                   Waldo Lumber Co., 128 Me. at 5, 145 A. at 243 (“The State

may exempt classes of property”)

                   In re Maine Central R.R. Co., 134 Me. at 219, 183 A. at 845

                   Opinion of the Justices, 141 Me. at 446, 447, 42 A.2d at 49

                   MacDonald, 142 Me. at 241, 49 A.2d at 768

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 211, 59 A.2d at 219

                   Opinion of the Justices, 155 Me. at 47, 48, 152 A.2d at 89, 90

                   Green Acre Baha’i II, 159 Me. at 399, 193 A.2d at 566

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1137

                Camps Newfound/Owatonna II, 655 A.2d at 878

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 25, 27, 843 A.2d at 39, 40

 

 

Wisdom of legislative scope of exemptions is not for courts to consider              

                   Laughlin, 111 Me. at 497, 501, 90 A. at 322, 324

                   Inhabitants of Whiting, 121 Me. at 122, 115 A. at 897

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 70, 166 A. at 60

                   Opinion of the Justices, 141 Me. at 446, 42 A.2d at 49

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 211, 59 A.2d at 219

                   Inhabitants of Boothbay, 148 Me. at 42, 88 A.2d at 825

                   Green Acre Baha’i II, 159 Me. at 404, 193 A.2d at 568

                   Lambert, 423 A.2d at 536

 

The authority of the Legislature to provide exemptions from taxation cannot be questioned

 

                   Opinion of the Justices, 102 Me. at 529, 66 A. at 727

 

 

Exemption from taxation is inherently intertwined with the power of taxation

 

                   Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 74

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 26, 843 A.2d at 39

 

 

Taxation is the rule, and exemption the exception

 

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 198

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 433

                   Y.M.C.A. of Auburn, 86 Me. at 247, 29 A. at 993

                   Millett, 121 Me. at 332, 117 A. at 94

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. at 138, 142 A. at 66

                   Hinds I, 134 Me. at 440, 187 A. at 719

                   James, 136 Me. at 117, 3 A.2d at 432

                   MacDonald, 142 Me. at 239, 49 A.2d at 767

                   Green Acre Bahai I, 150 Me. at 353, 110 A.2d at 583

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 481, 121 A.2d at 352-53

                   Green Acre Bahai II, 159 Me. at 398, 193 A.2d at 566

                   State Y.M.C.A., 295 A.2d at 441

                   Hurricane Island Outward Bound, 372 A.2d at 1043, 1046

                   Pentecostal Assembly of Bangor, 414 A.2d at 893

                   Silverman, 451 A.2d at 105

                   Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 477 A.2d at 271

                   Advanced Medical Research Foundation, 555 A.2d at 1041

                   Eagle Rental, 632 A.2d at 131

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 111 (dissenting op.)

                   Marcotte Congregate Housing, 673 A.2d at 211

                   Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶ 7, 36 A.3d                             at 875

 

 

Statutes of exemption are to be strictly construed; so all doubts are weighed against exemption

 

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 198

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 496, 501, 514-15

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 433

                   Camden Village Corp., 77 Me. at 538, 1 A. at 693

                   Y.M.C.A. of Auburn, 86 Me. at 247, 29 A. at 993

                   Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. at 219, 74 A. at 21

                   Millett, 121 Me. at 331-32, 117 A. at 94

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. at 138, 142 A. at

                             66-67

                   Hinds I, 134 Me. at 440, 187 A. at 719

                   James, 136 Me. at 117, 3 A.2d at 432

                   Wassookeag School, 142 Me. at 88, 46 A.2d at 862

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 480, 481, 121 A.2d at 352, 352-53

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 483, 214 A.2d at 664

                   State Y.M.C.A., 295 A.2d at 441

                   Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 532

                   Hurricane Island Outward Bound, 372 A.2d at 1046

                   Nature Conservancy, 385 A.2d at 42

                   Pentecostal Assembly of Bangor, 414 A.2d at 893

                   Silverman, 451 A.2d at 105

                   Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 477 A.2d at 272

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 16, 814 A.2d at 463

                   Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶ 3, 36 A.3d                             at 874

 

 

Why?  Because exemptions conflict with the universal obligation to contribute to society through equal and impartial taxation

 

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 433

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 16, 814 A.2d at 463

 

 

The less some property is taxed, the more must be other property

 

                   Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 74 (“To the precise extent that

one man’s estate is exempted from taxation, to that same extent is there an imposition of the amount exempted upon the rest of the inhabitants”)

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 432

                   Hamlin, 86 Me. at 503, 30 A. at 79

                   Green Acre Baha’i II, 159 Me. at 399, 193 A.2d at 566

Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶¶ 18, 25, 843 A.2d at 38, 39

 

 

The Legislature may not delegate to municipalities the power to determine what classes of property are exempt

 

Brewer Brick Co., 62 Me. at 74

                   Farnsworth Co. I, 62 Me. 451

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶¶ 23-28, 843 A.2d at 39-40

 

 

Municipalities are prohibited from taking unilateral actions to adopt exemptions

 

                   Milo Water Co. III, 133 Me. at 7, 173 A. at 153-54 (municipality                           cannot exempt water company from payment of taxes                               in return for services rendered, but may contract to                                    pay water company annually a sum equivalent to taxes                            assessed)

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 15, 843 A.2d at 37

 

 

But whether a particular property qualified for a legislatively approved exemption is within municipal power

 

                   Delogu II, 2004 ME 18, ¶ 26 n.8, 843 A.2d at 40 n.8

 

 

A municipality may not tax inhabitants to make up for exemption from taxation, provided by commuting a toll, given to certain other inhabitants for use of property used under contract by the municipality

 

                   Bussey, 3 Me. at 196

 

 

Only assessors can grant an exemption, not the municipality

 

                   U. S. Pegwood & Shank Co., 123 Me. at 382, 123 A. at 172

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 335

 

 

The theory behind exemptions is that the benefits derived by the public are of greater value than would be their tax contributions

 

                   MacDonald, 142 Me. at 239, 49 A.2d at 767

 

 

No question of constitutionality of tax exemption is raised by the Legislature financing a water and sewer system by bonds rather than taxation

 

                   Opinion of the Justices, 231 A.2d 431 (passim)

 

 

The Legislature can provide for exemption from taxation by charter of legislatively created corporation, which is a contract that cannot be impaired

 

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 494-96

 

 

Conversely, the Legislature can provide for an exception to exemption from taxation by charter of legislatively created corporation

 

Passamaquoddy Water Dist., 1998 ME 94, ¶ 7, 710 A.2d at

899-900

 

 

The Legislature can exempt one corporation without exempting all similar corporations, on basis that the exempted corporation provides vastly greater benefits to the public than others

 

                   Portland Water Co., 67 Me. at 136-37

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 212, 59 A.2d at 219

 

 

Conversely, the Legislature can except one corporation from tax exemption that other like corporations enjoy

 

Passamaquoddy Water Dist., 1998 ME 94, ¶ 13, 710 A.2d at

901

 

 

Legislatively created corporation is entitled to exemption only if it is able to do what the corporations previously composing it were required to do

 

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 496, 502-03, 510-12, 514

 

 

Motive to incorporate to seek exemption

 

Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. at 138, 142 A. at 66

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 69, 166 A. at 60

                   Wassookeag School, 142 Me. at 88, 46 A.2d at 862

 

 

Claim of subterfuge and device

 

                   Wassookeag School, 142 Me. at 88, 46 A. at 862

 

 

Exemption begins as of property owner’s acquisition of property

 

                   Portland Water Co., 67 Me. at 138-39

Town of East Millinocket, 486 A.2d at 742

 

 

An exemption from taxation, while entitled to reasonable interpretation in accordance with its purpose, is not to be extended to situations not clearly within the scope of the statutory provision

 

                   Silverman, 451 A.2d at 105

 

 

Such strict construction must be reasonable construction, and does not mean that the narrowest possible meaning must be given to words descriptive of exemption

 

                   State Y.M.C.A., 295 A.2d at 442

                   Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 532

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1136

                   Eagle Rental, 632 A.2d at 131

 

 

In a tax exemption case, the assessors are the proper adverse party (although many cases have ignored this)

 

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 334-35

                   Eldridge, 392 A.2d at 41 n.3

                   Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 477 A.2d at 271 n.5

 

 

This is a jurisdictional requirement

 

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 334

 

 

Abatement proceeding is proper vehicle to raise claim of exemption

 

                   Portland Terminal Co., 129 Me. at 267, 151 A. at 461

                   See All Maine Fair Ass’n, 138 Me. at 40-41, 21 A.2d at 625

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 476, 214 A.2d at 660

                   Berry, 322 A.2d at 324

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 588 A.2d at 292

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶ 4, 705 A.2d

at 1112 

 

 

Necessity for county commissioners (and boards of assessment review) to

make sufficient findings of fact re whether organization qualifies for a benevolent and charitable exemption

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I, 2001 ME 16,

¶¶ 7-19, 769 A.2d at 837-41

                   Ram’s Head Partners, 2003 ME 131, ¶¶ 16-17, 834 A.2d at 921

 

 

Consider effect of federal regulations governing property

 

                   Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 583

                   Marcotte Congregate Housing, 673 A.2d at 209

 

 

Inquiries that assessors are authorized to make under 36 M.R.S. § 706 should be concerned only with nonexempt property

 

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 10, 724

A.2d at 608

 

 

One exempt from taxation need not file list of property under 36 M.R.S.

§ 706 before seeking abatement of property claimed to be exempt

 

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 478, 214 A.2d at 662

                   Depositors Trust Co., 295 A.2d at 30          

Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 526-27

                   Madison Water Dist., 1998 ME 154, ¶ 5, 713 A.2d at 330

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 9, 724

A.2d at 608

 

 

“Property liable to taxation” in the fourth paragraph of 36 M.R.S. § 706

refers to property that is not exempt; exempt property is not liable to taxation while nonexempt property is liable to taxation

 

                   Depositors Trust Co., 295 A.2d at 30

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 10, 724

A.2d at 608

 

 

To qualify for exemption one must prove each of the necessary facts set forth in the applicable statute; if he proves eligibility, he is entitled to exemption; if he does not, he is not; whether or not assessors have recognized the exemption is not what controls

 

                   Stockman, 147 Me. at 383-84, 87 A.2d at 684

 

 

A claimant for exemption must show that money paid has been received by the municipality, not merely paid to the tax collector

 

                   Stockman, 147 Me. at 385, 87 A.2d at 685

 

 

Burden is on taxpayer to prove eligibility for exemption

 

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R. Co., 60 Me. at 200

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 70, 166 A. at 61

                   MacDonald, 142 Me. at 239, 49 A.2d at 767

                   Stockman, 147 Me. at 378-79, 384, 87 A.2d at 682, 684

                   Green Acre Baha’i II, 159 Me. at 398, 193 A.2d at 566

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 483, 214 A.2d at 664

                   Nature Conservancy, 385 A.2d at 42

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I, 2001 ME 16, ¶ 6,

769 A.2d at 837

Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶ 6, 36 A.3d         at 875

 

 

Burden of proof: taxpayer always retains burden to prove eligibility for exemption

 

                   Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶ 8, 36 A.3d                             at 875

 

 

Burden of proof: one who has obtained an exemption is entitled to retain it year to year until it is denied by the assessors, at which point the taxpayer again must prove its eligibility for the exemption

 

                   Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶¶ 6-8,

 36 A.3d at 875 (section 652(1))

 

 

Burden of proof: one claiming exemption must prove his entitlement beyond all doubt

 

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 433

 

 

Burden of proof: one claiming exemption must bring his case unmistakably within the spirit and intent of the act creating the exemption

 

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 433

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 483, 214 A.2d at 664

                   Hurricane Island Outward Bound, 372 A.2d at 1046

                   Pentecostal Assembly of Bangor, 414 A.2d at 893

                   Silverman, 451 A.2d at 105

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1140

                   Advanced Medical Research Foundation, 555 A.2d at 1041

                   Poland Spring Health Institute, 649 A.2d at 1100

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶¶ 10 n.3, 16, 17, 814                            A.2d at 461 n.3, 463

                   Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶ 7, 36 A.3d                             at 875

 

 

Burden of proof: no error in applying preponderance of evidence

 

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists II, 136 Me. at 205, 7 A.2d at 429

Poland Spring Health Institute, 649 A.2d at 1099-1100

 

 

Whether an organization qualifies for exemption is a mixed question of law and fact

 

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶ 10,

785 A.2d at 345

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 14, 814 A.2d at 462-63

 

 

Whether property qualifies for exemption—

 

30 M.R.S. § 4262—Revenue Producing Municipal Facilities:

 

                   Town of East Millinocket, 486 A.2d 739 (passim)(municipal

water works—yes; three justices vote to resolve case under 30 M.R.S. § 4262, and three under 36 M.R.S.

§ 651(1)(E))

 

36 M.R.S. § 561—Abandoned Railroads:

 

Maine Central R.R. Co., 588 A.2d at 293-94 (abandonment of

railroad right-of-way exemption depends on Interstate Commerce Commission certificate of abandonment)

 

36 M.R.S. § 651(1)(D), (E)—Public property:

 

                   Maine Central R.R. Co., 66 Me. at 514 (legislatively formed

corporation not required to perform acts that qualified predecessor corporations to be exempt—no)

Portland Water Co., 67 Me. at 139 (property of private

company appropriated to use as a public utility—yes)

          Camden Village Corp., 77 Me. at 537-38, 1 A. at 692

                   (public buildings when used for public purposes—yes)

          Rockland Water Co., 82 Me. at 194, 19 A. at 164 (aqueducts,

conduits, etc.—no)

                   Maine Water Co., 90 Me. at 181, 38 A. at 102 (same)

                   Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. at 219-22, 74 A. at

21-22 (although University of Maine is a public corporation, and owned the land on which fraternity house was located, building used as chapter house is not exempt)

                   Hayford Block Co., 120 Me. at 519, 115 A. at 283 (buildings

used by the National Guard for military purposes)

                   Inhabitants of Whiting, 121 Me. at 127-28, 115 A. at 900

(poles and transmission lines of town—yes; land with mill privilege—no)

                   Greaves I, 140 Me. at 165, 34 A.2d at 696 (municipal

corporation providing electricity to neighboring towns—no)

                   City of Bangor, 142 Me. at 13-14, 45 A.2d at 436-37

                             (reservoir formed by river dam and land under dam—

no)

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 213, 59 A.2d at 220 (municipal

corporation given legislative exemption and providing electricity to neighboring town by legislative authority—yes)           

                   Inhabitants of Boothbay, 148 Me at 42-43, 88 A.2d at 825-26

(utility acting as municipal corporation and providing service to neighboring town—yes)

Dodge, 151 Me. at 481, 121 A.2d at 352 (airport and

buildings—yes)

Marshall, 154 Me. at 382, 148 A.2d at 692 (airport

buildings—yes)

Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 530-31 (operation of

restaurant by lessee on public land, by contract with state agency, is a public use)

                   Exxon Corp., 351 A.2d at 537 n.5 (Howard D. Johnson would

                             control if Court reached the merits)

                   Town of East Millinocket, 486 A.2d at 742 (concurring

opinion of three of six sitting justices would resolve case under section 651(1)(E))

                   Town of Madison, 544 A.2d 317 (passim)(hydroelectric facility:

                             dam, reservoir used to generate power or light, power-

                             house, generator, and related equipment—yes)

Passamaquoddy Water Dist., 1998 ME 94, ¶ 7, 710 A.2d at

899-900 (property of water district whose charter created an exception from exemption—no)

Madison Water Dist., 1998 ME 154, ¶¶ 6, 8, 713 A.2d at 330

(modern water treatment facilities under 1911 statute, now subsections (D) and (E), to be read as applicable today—yes)

                   Portland Water Dist., 1999 ME 161, ¶¶ 10-13, 740 A.2d at

567-68 (same; water district that by legislative authority provides service outside its territorial boundaries—yes)

 

          36 M.R.S. § 652(1)(A)—Benevolent and charitable institutions:

 

                   Inhabitants of Baldwin, 37 Me. at 372 (no property of

corporations except that of benevolent, charitable, and scientific corporations were intended by Legislature to be exempt)

                   Maine Baptist Missionary Convention, 65 Me. at 94 (missionary

                             society—yes)

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 436, 441 (Masonic lodge—no)

                   Straw, 86 Me. at 78, 29 A. at 951 (cottages and land not

used for corporate purposes—no)

                   Piscataquis Valley Campmeeting Ass’n, 86 Me. at 80, 29 A.

                             at 951 (religious society’s property used for its

                             purposes—yes)

                   Y.M.C.A. of Auburn, 86 Me. at 246, 29 A. at 992 (religious

                             society—no)

                   Trustees of Ministerial Fund, 109 Me. at 26, 82 A. at 292 (no)

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. at 138, 142 A. at 67

                             (missionary society—yes)

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 69-70, 166 A. at 60-61

                             (summer camp—yes)

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists II, 136 Me. 202, 7 A.2d 428

(missionary society—yes)

                   All Maine Fair Ass’n, 138 Me. at 41, 21 A.2d at 626

                             (agricultural fairs—yes)

                   Osteopathic Hospital of Maine, 139 Me. at 33, 26 A.2d at 644

                             (land held for future expansion of hospital—yes)

                   MacDonald, 142 Me. at 241, 49 A.2d at 768 (bequest for

payment of annual dues and maintenance of lodge building that is not exempt—no)

                   Green Acre Baha’i I, 150 Me. at 353, 110 A.2d at 583

(missionary society—yes)

Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 484, 486, 488,

214 A.2d at 664, 665, 666 (wildlife sanctuary—no)

                   South Blue Hill Cemetery Ass’n, 221 A.2d at 287 (upkeep of

                             cemetery—yes)

                   State Y.M.C.A., 295 A.2d at 442 (cottage occupied by                                           caretaker-employee—yes)

                   Lucci, 317 A.2d 1 (Maine Medical Center—yes)

                   Nature Conservancy, 385 A.2d at 43, 44 (nature preserve—no)

                   Pentecostal Assembly of Bangor, 414 A.2d at 893-94

(religious activities—no)

                   Silverman, 451 A.2d at 106 (wildlife trust—no)

                   Christian Schools, 489 A.2d at 515 (housing of employees—

yes)(cf. § 652(1)(B))

                   Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 584, 585

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna I, 604 A.2d 908 (passim);

Camps Newfound/Owatonna II, 655 A.2d 876 (passim), Camps Newfound/ Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, 705 A.2d 1109 (passim)(summer camp—yes, subject to commerce clause regarding out-of-state campers)

                   Poland Spring Health Institute, 649 A.2d at 1100 (medical

clinic—yes)

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 111 (below cost

                             summer camp—yes)

                   Marcotte Congregate Housing, 673 A.2d at 212 (portions of

congregate care facility—no)

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 76, ¶ 7, 709 A.2d at 729 (staff

residences at summer camp for underprivileged

children—yes)

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 98, ¶ 7, 710 A.2d at 915-16

(thrift store with profits for rehabilitation center—yes)

                    Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I, 2001 ME 16, ¶ 6,

769 A.2d at 837 (remanded for fact-finding) 

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶ 15,

785 A.2d at 346-47 (land conservation or preservation alone—question not decided); id. ¶ 18, 785 A.2d at 347 (nature preserve used for education—yes, unless property is held for noncharitable investment or other noncharitable purpose)

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶¶ 1-2, 814 A.2d at 460

                             (real property of credit counseling, debt management,                              and consumer education services business—no)

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 39,

                             896 A.2d at 298 (religious organization that permitted                                        recreation and relaxation on grounds, incidental hous-                                       ing for staff and others, and incidental noncharitable                                 income produced by noncharitable events, whether                                       or not it provides services not provided by government—                          not barred as a matter of law; remanded for further                                  findings)

                   Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶ 2, 36 A.3d

                             at 874 (claim made on this basis); at ¶ 9, 36 A.3d at 876

                             (if county commissioners deny exemption, taxpayer needs

                             to show the evidence compels a contrary determination)

 

          36 M.R.S. § 652(1)(B)—Literary or scientific institutions:

 

                   Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. at 217-19, 74 A. at 21

(University of Maine—yes; land used by such for its own purposes—yes; college fraternities—no)

                   Kappa Sigma Society, 108 Me. at 324-25, 80 A. at 832-33

                             (college fraternities—no)

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 488, 214 A.2d at 666

                             (wildlife sanctuary—no)

                   Hurricane Island Outward Bound, 372 A.2d at 1047 (no)

                   Nature Conservancy, 385 A.2d at 42 n.3 (nature preserve

with easements—no)

Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1133, 1134 (college controlled

                             fraternities—yes)

                   Christian Schools, 489 A.2d at 515 (housing of employees—

question not reached)(dictum)(but cf. § 652(1)(A))

 Cf. Colby College, 512 A.2d 1039 (Me. 1986)(whether

fraternity or Colby College is entitled to refund)

American Martial Arts, 635 A.2d at 963 (remanded)

Humboldt Field Research Institute, 2011 ME 130, ¶ 2, 36 A.3d 

                             at 874 (claim also made on this basis); at ¶ 9, 36 A.3d at

                             876 (if county commissioners deny exemption, taxpayer

                             needs to show the evidence compels a contrary

                             determination)

 

 

 

          36 M.R.S. § 653—Estates of Veterans:

 

Millett, 121 Me. at 332, 117 A. at 94 (estate exempt if not

larger than specified amount; not by that specified amount if estate exceeds that amount)

                   Whittier, 122 Me. at 88, 118 A. at 897 (same)

                   Holway, 130 Me. at 416, 157 A. at 236 (widow of veteran who

remarries is no longer his widow and then becomes disentitled to exemption for veterans’ widows)

                   Stockman, 147 Me. at 379, 87 A.2d at 682 (not without proof

of residence in Maine at time of assessment)

                   Dillon, 322 A.2d at 335 (case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction)

                   Lambert, 423 A.2d at 534 (10-year residency requirement

                             violates constitutional right to travel, but requirement

of Maine residency at time of induction does not)

                  

          36 M.R.S. § 655—Personal property:

 

                   Trustees of Ministerial Fund, 37 Me. at 373 (fund of

                             trustees—no)

                   Gardiner Cotton & Woolen Factory, 5 Me. at 137-39 (all

property employed in manufacturing except store, merchandise, and lot—yes)

                   Farnsworth Co. I, 62 Me. at 451 (manufacturing company—

procedural issue)

                   Donnell, 63 Me. at 16 (hay made exempt only by later

                             statute—no)

                   Opinion of the Justices, 102 Me. at 529, 66 A. at 727 (taxes

on railroad property, stock, and gross receipts are excise taxes, permitted by law)

                   Milo Water Co. II, 131 Me. at 379, 163 A. at 166 (water works,

etc.—no)

James, 136 Me. at 117, 3 A.2d at 432 (cabinet radio as an

article of household furniture—yes)

                   Opinion of the Justices, 141 Me. at 443, 42 A.2d at 48

                             (aqueducts, pipes, and conduits of any corporation

supplying a town with water)

                   Bridges Bros., 223 A.2d at 73 (vehicles of dealer taxable as

personal property or, once registered, as an excise tax, but not both)

                   Hardy’s Trailer Sales, 410 A.2d at 223-24 (under recent

statute, stock-in-trade including inventory that is manufactured merchandise held for sale—yes)

                   Roberta, 449 A.2d at 1139-41 (pleasure boat of nonresident

not regularly kept in state during preceding year—yes)

                   Jordan-Milton Machinery, Inc., 609 A.2d 1167 (where

property was not taxable because it was of a non-resident, no need to address issue whether property was exempt as stock-in-trade)

                   Eagle Rental, 632 A.2d at 131-32 (inventory for resale and

rental—yes)

                   Handyman Equipment Rental Co., 1999 ME 20, ¶ 7, 724

A.2d at 607 (same)

 

          36 M.R.S. § 656—Certain real estate:

 

                   Portland, Saco & Portsmouth R.R.Co., 60 Me. at 198-201 (land

                             appurtenant to a railroad bed, and railroad buildings—                            no)

                   Plaisted, 62 Me. at 92 (tannery not within scope of exemption

                             for improvements to water power of stream)

                   Rockland Water Co., 82 Me. at 194, 19 A. at 164 (aqueducts,

conduits, etc. of privately owned utility—no)

                   Norway Water Co., 85 Me. 330, 27 A. 143 (passim)(same—no)

Maine Water Co., 90 Me. at 182, 38 A. at 102 (same—no)

New England Tel. & Tel. Co., 103 Me. at 249, 68 A. at 1044

          (underground conduits and telephone wires—yes)

                   Portland Terminal Co., 129 Me. at 267-70, 151 A. at 461-62

(land within railroad right-of-way and commercial, nonrailroad building built thereon—yes)

                   In re Maine Central R.R. Co., 134 Me. at 219, 183 A. at 845

(railroad right-of-way—yes, but not buildings on it)

Hinds I, 134 Me. at 439, 441, 187 A. at 718-19 (same)

                   Hinds II, 141 Me. at 78, 39 A.2d at 9 (buildings within and

outside railroad right-of-way—no; taxable as real estate to owner of building although on land leased by railroad; leased building owned by railroad taxable to lessee as owner during term of lease)

                   Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 477 A.2d at 271-72 (pollution

                             control facility without DEP certification—no)

 

 

Exemption must be determined as of April 1st of year in question, not by statute granting exemption for later years

 

                   Donnell, 63 Me. at 16

 

 

The way in which property is used, not ownership, is the key to whether it is tax exempt as public property

 

                   Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. at 218-19, 74 A. at 21

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 481, 121 A.2d at 352

                   Opinion of the Justices, 231 A.2d at 434-35

 

 

Where there are coexisting property rights—one of which is of an organization entitled to exemption, the other not—it is the way in which the property is used that determines taxability

 

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 481, 121 A.2d at 352

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1134

 

 

Use of exempt property by private party does not defeat exemption if the private party’s use is the public use underlying the exemption

 

                   Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 534

 

 

Property of a municipality not devoted to public use is not exempt

 

                   Inhabitants of Boothbay, 148 Me. at 35, 88 A.2d at 822

                   Dodge, 151 Me. at 480, 481, 121 A.2d at 352

 

 

Whether the Legislature can constitutionally create and provide for taxation exemption for a municipal corporation, for public purpose, as local governments are exercising the state’s power without being socialistic

 

                   Portland Water Co., 67 Me. at 137-38

                   Dover & Foxcroft Village Fire Co., 96 Me. at 556, 53 A. at 68

                   Augusta Water Dist., 101 Me. 148, 63 A. 663 (passim)

                   Laughlin, 111 Me. 486, 90 A. 318 (passim)

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 211, 59 A.2d at 219

                   Inhabitants of Boothbay, 148 Me at 42-43, 88 A.2d at 825-26

                   Madison Water Dist., 1998 ME 154, ¶¶ 6, 8, 713 A.2d at 330

                   Portland Water Dist., 1999 ME 161, ¶¶ 10-13, 740 A.2d at

567-68

 

 

Municipal corporations are presumptively exempt from taxation as public property if acting in trust for the public

 

                   Camden Village Corp., 77 Me. at 535-36, 1 A. at 690-91

                   Inhabitants of Whiting, 121 Me. at 122-23, 124-25, 115 A. at

897, 898

                   Greaves I, 140 Me. at 163, 34 A.2d at 695

                   Greaves II, 143 Me. at 211-12, 59 A.2d at 219

 

 

But there is no per se exemption for public property as such

 

                   Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. at 219, 74 A. at 21

 

 

Maine Turnpike Authority is a public agency whose land is exempt from taxation when acquired or used for its statutory purpose

 

                   Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 528-29

 

 

Whether the organization’s stated purposes are benevolent and charitable is the first issue to resolve

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 16,

                             896 A.2d at 293

 

 

Organizational qualification is a prerequisite for a charitable exemption

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 27,

                             896 A.2d at 296

 

 

Benevolent and charitable organization defined

 

Maine Baptist Missionary Convention, 65 Me. at 93-94

Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 434

                   Green Acre Baha’i I, 150 Me. at 354, 110 A.2d at 584

(four-point test often cited: examine whether                                   organization is organized and operating in good faith

purely for benevolent and charitable purposes, whether there is a profit motive revealed or concealed, whether there is any pretense to avoid taxation, and whether production of revenue is purely incidental to dominant purpose as benevolent and charitable)

                   South Blue Hill Cemetery Ass’n, 221 A.2d at 287

                   State Y.M.C.A., 295 A.2d at 443                 

Christian Schools, 489 A.2d at 516 n.3

Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 584

                   Poland Spring Health Institute, 649 A.2d at 1100

Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶ 17,

                             785 A.2d at 347 (citing four-point test of Green Acre

Baha’i as a nonexclusive list)

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 15, 814 A.2d at 463

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶¶ 17,

                             26, 29, 896 A.2d at 294, 295, 296 (these matters                                       address organizational qualifications)

         

 

“Charitable” has a legal meaning

 

                   Maine Baptist Missionary Convention, 65 Me. at 93-94

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

 

 

It is difficult to say what the difference is between benevolent and charitable

 

                   Maine Baptist Missionary Convention, 65 Me. at 93

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 68, 166 A. at 60

 

 

Benevolent is equated with charitable

                  

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 433

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 483-84, 214 A.2d at 664

                   Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 584

                   Poland Spring Health Institute, 649 A.2d at 1100

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 13,

                             896 A.2d at 293

 

 

The charitable exemption was created at a time when government provided few services, and religious institutions and charities provided many services that government did not provide or subsidize

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 23,

                             896 A.2d at 295

 

 

The charitable exemption means, in effect, that the Legislature has decided to give up tax dollars to purchase charitable services

 

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna II, 655 A.2d at 878

 

 

The justification for a charitable exemption is a quid pro quo: it alleviates the need for government to provide such services or benefits

 

                    Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

 

 

But a charitable exemption cannot be denied because activities do not provide a service or benefit—a quid pro quo—to offset government services and benefits; this is merely on factor to consider

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶¶ 22,

                             24, 35-37, 896 A.2d at 295, 297-98 (recreational

                             activities supported by a religious or preservation                                      organization)

         

 

Organizations need not displace governmental services in order to qualify for a charitable exemption

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 23

                             896 A.2d at 295

 

 

After considering an organization’s stated purposes, examine whether the organization’s activities are benevolent and charitable under four-part test of Green Acre Baha’I Institute I

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44,

¶¶16-17, 896 A.2d at 293-94

 

 

To qualify for a benevolent and charitable exemption, an organization must be operated exclusively for such purposes

 

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 12, 814 A.2d at 462

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 12,

                             896 A.2d at 293

 

Education may constitute a charitable purpose

 

See Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d 1131

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶ 16,

                             785 A.2d at 347

 

 

Court must examine, first, whether stated purpose of organization is charitable and, second, whether the property is being used solely for benevolent and charitable purposes

 

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶ 10,

                             785 A.2d at 345-46

 

                  

Charitable activity defined

 

                   South Blue Hill Cemetery Ass’n, 221 A.2d at 287 ((1) for the                                benefit of an indefinite number of persons either (2a)                               by bringing their minds and hearts under the                                           influence of education or religion, (2b) by relieving                                their bodies from disease, suffering, or constraint, (2c)

                             by assisting them to establish themselves in life, or                                   (2d) by erecting of maintaining public buildings or                                    works or otherwise lessening the burdens of                                         government)

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

                   Marcotte Congregate Housing, 673 A.2d at 211-12

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 14,

                             896 A.2d at 293

 

 

Charitable means that the public benefits, not just members of the organization

 

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 435

 

 

Benefit for an indefinite number of persons does not mean the activity must be open to the public at large

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 15,

                             896 A.2d at 293 (organization may limit its benefits to

                             a given religious affiliation)

 

 

The benevolent and charitable exemption may not be denied by reason

of limitation in the classes of those for whose benefit the funds of an organization are applied

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 15,

                             896 A.2d at 293

 

 

A charitable organization may restrict the use of its property and need not allow all public uses; it qualifies for exemption if it uses its property solely for a charitable purpose, and may exclude others not using the property for that purpose

 

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149 ¶ 13,

                             785 A.2d at 346

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 30,

896 A.2d at 296 (religious organization can limit          benefits to persons or groups of same religious          affiliation)

 

 

Religious purposes are not to be equated with benevolent and charitable

 

                   Y.M.C.A. of Auburn, 86 Me. at 246, 29 A. at 992

                   Osteopathic Hospital of Maine, 139 Me. at 29, 26 A.2d at 643

                   Pentecostal Assembly of Bangor, 414 A.2d at 893-94

                  

 

But being a religious organization does not remove it from being charitable

                  

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. at 138, 142 A. at 66

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists II, 136 Me. at 205, 7 A.2d at 429

                   Green Acre Baha’i I, 150 Me. at 353, 110 A.2d at 583

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 110

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 75, ¶ 5, 709 A.2d at 729

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶¶ 7,

15, 30, 896 A.2d at 290, 293, 296

 

 

Recreation and relaxation activities may qualify as charitable activities if they serve a charitable purpose of the organization

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶¶ 31,

 36, 896 A.2d at 296, 297

 

 

But property may qualify for the charitable exemption even if it has little use for recreation or relaxation

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 31,

 896 A.2d at 296

 

 

Charitable source of funds is some indication of charitable status

 

                   Rising Virtue Lodge, 73 Me. at 434

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 69, 166 A. at 60

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d at 111

 

 

Irrelevance of source of funds

 

                   Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 584

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 12, 814 A.2d at 462

 

 

The charitable exemption applies only when (1) property is owned and occupied or used solely for entity’s purposes by benevolent and charitable institutions, and (2) institution is organized and conducted exclusively for benevolent and charitable purposes

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 12,

                             896 A.2d at 292-93

 

 

Benevolent and charitable exemption statute require (1) ownership and (2) either use or occupancy solely for its own purposes

 

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 70, 166 A. at 61

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists II, 136 Me. at 203, 7 A.2d at 428

                   State Y.M.C.A., 295 A.2d at 442

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1136

                   American Martial Arts, 635 A.2d at 963

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 98, ¶ 7, 710 A.2d at 916

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I, 2001 ME 16, ¶ 6,

769 A.2d at 837

                  

 

The test is not (1) ownership and occupancy or (2) sole use

 

                   Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 584-85

                   American Martial Arts, 635 A.2d at 963

 

 

It is the fact of a charitable use, not its intensity, that qualifies property for the charitable exemption

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 31,

                             896 A.2d at 296

 

 

What constitutes sole use

 

                   Odd Fellows Androscoggin Lodge, 99 Me. at 360, 59 A. at 520

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 70, 166 A. at 61

                   Nature Conservancy, 385 A.2d at 43

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1138

                   Marcotte Congregate Housing, 673 A.2d at 212

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center I, 2001 ME 16, ¶ 6,

769 A.2d at 837

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶¶ 34,

38, 896 A.2d at 297, 298 (sole use does not exclude     incidental, noncharitable use so long as the dominant         use is charitable)

 

 

Incidental use

 

                   Camden Village Corp., 77 Me. at 537-38, 1 A. at 692

                   Odd Fellows Androscoggin Lodge, 99 Me. at 359-60, 59 A. at

520

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. at 138, 142 A. at 66

                   All Maine Fair Ass’n, 138 Me. at 42, 21 A.2d at 626

                   State Y.M.C.A., 295 A.2d at 443

                   Lucci, 317 A.2d at 3

                   Green Acre Baha’i I, 150 Me. at 353-54, 110 A.2d at 584

                   Alpha Rho Zeta, 477 A.2d at 1141

                   Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 584

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 75, ¶ 7, 709 A.2d at 729

                   Christian Fellowship & Center I, 2001 ME 16, ¶ 6 n.2, 769 A.2d

                             at 837 n.2

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶¶ 34,

 38, 896 A.2d at 297, 298

 

 

Whether the Legislature can provide exemption to a benevolent and charitable Maine corporation that serves Maine residents but deny it to an organization that serves primarily out-of-staters

 

                   Green Acre Baha’i II, 159 Me. at 399-403, 193 A.2d at 566-68                             (equal protection)

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna II, 655 A.2d at 878-79 (commerce

                             clause); 879-80 (equal protection); 880 (privileges and

                             immunities)

                   Camps Newfound/Owatonna III, 1998 ME 20, ¶ 2, 705 A.2d

at 1111 (on remand from United States Supreme Court) 

 

 

Board of Directors of a benevolent and charitable corporation need not reside in Maine

 

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 69, 132 A. at 60

 

 

A charitable organization can be seasonal

 

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. 136 at 140, 142 A.

                   at 66

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 69-70, 166 A. at 60-61

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists II, 136 Me. at 205, 7 A.2d at 429

                   Green Acre Baha’i I, 150 Me. at 353, 110 A.2d at 583

                   Lucci, 317 A.2d at 2 & n.2

                   Advanced Medical Research Foundation, 555 A.2d at 1042

                   Episcopal Camp Foundation, 666 A.2d 108 (semble)

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 75, 710 A.2d 729 (semble)

 

 

Property need not be in use on April 1st

 

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 69, 166 A. at 60

                   Osteopathic Hospital of Maine, 139 Me. at 28, 26 A.2d at 642

                   Advanced Medical Research Foundation, 555 A.2d at 1042

 

 

A municipality is not a business or a charitable corporation

 

                   Thorndike, 82 Me. at 43, 19 A. at 95

 

 

Organization can generate revenues, so long as they are incidental to its dominant benevolent and charitable purposes

 

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶ 17,

                             785 A.2d at 347

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶ 17, 814 A.2d at 463

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 34,

 896 A.2d at 297

 

 

Rents can be collected without losing exemption

 

                   Odd Fellows Androscoggin Lodge, 99 Me. at 360, 59 A. at 520

                   Cf. All Maine Fair Ass’n, 138 Me. at 42, 21 A.2d at 626

                   Green Acre Baha’i I, 150 Me. at 353-54, 110 A.2d at 584

                   Lucci, 317 A.2d at 2 & n.3

                   Maine AFL-CIO Housing Development, 523 A.2d at 584-85

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 75, ¶ 7, 709 A.2d at 729

 

 

Property can be occupied rent-free

 

                   State Y.M.C.A., 295 A.2d at 442-43

                   Lucci, 317 A.2d at 2 & n.6

 

         

Land can be undeveloped—if held to be used for future expansion consistent with benevolent and charitable purposes

         

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. at 140, 142 A. at 66

                   All Maine Fair Ass’n, 138 Me. at 41, 42, 21 A.2d at 626

                   Osteopathic Hospital of Maine, 139 Me. at 33, 26 A.2d at 644

                   Green Acre Baha’i I, 150 Me. at 354, 110 A.2d at 584

                   Lucci, 317 A.2d at 2 & n.4

                   Poland Spring Health Institute, 649 A.2d at 1099

 

 

Question whether land that falls under Farm and Open Space Law is precluded from being exempt although held by a charitable and benevolent organization

 

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶¶ 8,

14, 785 A.2d at 345, 346 (trial court’s determination

noted)

 

 

Commercial use of intertidal zone of property does not negate eligibility for exemption because public enjoys an easement for purposes of fishing, fowling, and navigation

 

                   Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶ 12,

                             785 A.2d at 346

 

 

If purpose of alleged charitable use violates public policy, it cannot be classified as charitable

 

                   Holbrook Island Sanctuary, 161 Me. at 486-88, 214 A.2d at 666

Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶ 13,

                             785 A.2d at 346

 

 

Fact that an organization is tax exempt under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) does not necessarily make it exempt for state tax purposes

 

                   Credit Counseling Centers, 2003 ME 2, ¶¶ 1-2, 814 A.2d at 460

 

 

But that fact that an organization’s purposes qualify for such an exemption is an indication that it should qualify for a charitable exemption

 

                   Christian Fellowship & Renewal Center II, 2006 ME 44, ¶ 28,

                             896 A.2d at 296

 

 

 

Under old view, there could be “partial exemption”—exemption for part of property being used consistent with benevolent and charitable purposes, but no exemption for property being used inconsistent with that

 

                   Piscataquis Valley Campmeeting Ass’n, 86 Me. at 80, 29 A. at                                      951

                   Y.M.C.A. of Auburn, 86 Me. at 246, 29 A. at 992

                   Odd Fellows Androscoggin Lodge, 99 Me. at 358, 59 A. at 519

                   Sigma Alpha Epsilon Society, 105 Me. at 218, 74 A. at 21

                   Kappa Sigma Society, 108 Me. at 324, 80 A. at 832

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists I, 127 Me. at 139, 142 A. at 6

                   Camp Emoh Associates, 132 Me. at 68, 166 A. at 60

                   Ferry Beach Park Universalists II, 136 Me. at 203, 7 A.2d at

428

                   All Maine Fair Ass’n, 138 Me. at 42-43, 21 A.2d at 626-27

                   Osteopathic Hospital of Maine, 139 Me. at 33, 26 A.2d at 644

                  

 

Change towards now extant view must be legislative

                  

                   Odd Fellows Androscoggin Lodge, 99 Me. at 358, 59 A. at 519

 

 

Legislative change to modern view described

 

                   Nature Conservancy, 385 A.2d at 43         

 

 

Under modern statute, a benevolent and charitable corporation must make sole use of the property is a manner consistent with its purposes

 

                   Marcotte Congregate Housing, 673 A.2d at 212

                   Salvation Army, 1998 ME 98, ¶ 6, 710 A.2d at 915

 

 

Although an inheritance tax is not a property tax, so that an exemption for property would not necessarily exempt from taxation the privilege of receiving the property, if an organization is exempt under property tax laws it is also exempted from taxation under inheritance tax laws

 

                   MacDonald, 142 Me. at 240, 49 A.2d at 767

 

 

If owner is exempt, so too is private lessee of land thereon according to legislative intention

 

                   Howard D. Johnson Co., 351 A.2d at 531-34

         

 

Soft costs—insurance, excavation, etc.—are necessary for construction and so included in general valuation of property (and are exempt if property is exempt)

 

                   Portland Water Dist., 1999 ME 161, ¶ 13 n.7, 740 A.2d at

                             568 n.7

 

 

Who is entitled to an abatement if organization qualifies for exemption

 

                   Colby College, 512 A.2d at 1041

 

 

A guardian of an estate has a duty to pay taxes due, and a duty to assert as exemption if applicable; voluntary payment by a guardian on exempt property is not voluntary payment by the ward

 

                   Stockman, 147 Me. at 382, 87 A.2d at 683-84

 

                                                         


VI.  Classified Properties

 

                             Tree Growth Tax Law Cases

 

Definition of “forest land,” 36 M.R.S. § 573

 

                   Eastler, 499 A.2d at 926

 

 

Purpose of Tree Growth Tax Law program

 

                Opinion of the Justices, 335 A.2d at 912 n.1

Chase, 1998 ME 260, ¶¶ 15, 17 n.6, 721 A.2d at 640, 641 n.6

 

 

Operation of Tree Growth Tax Law program described

 

                   McBreairty, 663 A.2d at 54

 

 

Tree Growth Tax Law program is constitutional

 

                   McBreairty, 663 A.2d at 54-55

 

 

Withdrawal of property from Tree Growth Tax Law program

 

                   Dubois, 645 A.2d at 1128 (withdrawal penalties are subject

                             to abatement process)

 

 

Farmland and Open Space Cases

 

Purpose of open space program

 

                   Augusta Water Dist., 349 A.2d at 770

 

 

Operation of open space program described

 

                   Augusta Water Dist., 349 A.2d at 770

 

 

Classification in open space program is essentially an assessment duty of assessors

 

                   Augusta Water Dist., 349 A.2d at 770

 

 

Preparation of comprehensive plan by town is not a prerequisite to a land owner’s qualifying for open space classification

 

                   Augusta Water Dist., 349 A.2d at 770-71

 

 

Whether land qualifies for open space program depends on its current use permitted by any statutory restrictions, not on potential unrestricted use

 

                   Augusta Water Dist., 349 A.2d at 772

 

 

Wildlife sanctuaries are open space land

 

Augusta Water Dist., 349 A.2d at 772

 

 

Possible interplay of 36 M.R.S. § 652 with farm and open space law

 

          Cushing Nature & Preservation Center, 2001 ME 149, ¶¶ 14, 19,

                   785 A.2d at 346, 347 

 

Mine Site Cases

 

Minerals will not be valued separately from the land when the title to the surface and the mineral resources are in the same person, but will be valued separately when the fee to the land is in another person

 

Knox Lime Co., 230 A.2d at 818 (not a mine site case)

 


VII.  Equalized Municipal Valuation

 

State valuation of municipalities is the equalized just value of all real and personal property within each municipality; see 36 M.R.S. § 208

 

                   Town of Madison, 541 A.2d at 940

 

 

Process of equalizing municipal valuation, including legality of “two year rule”

 

                   Town of Thomaston, 490 A.2d 1180

                   Town of Washburn, 490 A.2d at 1186

 

 

Board of Property Tax Review must consider Bureau of Taxation’s equalized valuations at fair market value and cannot adjust value of property within a municipality to have it be uniform with like property

in another municipality assessed differently or at another valuation

 

                   Town of Madison, 541 A.2d at 940-41

 

 

Board of Property Tax Review has no authority in equalizing state valuation cases to alter Bureau of Taxation’s assessment of a municipality not before it

 

                   Town of Madison, 541 A.2d at 941

 

 

                                               


VIII.  Poverty Abatements

 

Procedural issue

 

                   Dodge, 577 A.2d at 347 (town had no authority to act on

request for poverty abatement after plaintiff had appealed denial to county commissioners)

 

 

Key question under 36 M.R.S. § 841(2) is whether one is unable to contribute to the public charges

 

                   Macaro, 468 A.2d at 605-06

                   Joyce, 565 A.2d 90

                   Gilmore, 580 A.2d at 700

                   Sager, 2004 ME 40, ¶ 3, 845 A.2d at 568

                   Hustus, 2004 ME 41, ¶ 6, 845 A.2d at 565

 

 

The purpose of the statute is to prevent towns from forcing the sale of property in order to collect taxes from those otherwise unable to pay

 

                   Macaro, 468 A.2d at 606

                   Mason, 1998 ME 201, ¶ 7, 715 A.2d at 181

                   Hustus, 2004 ME 41, ¶ 12 n.1, 845 A.2d at 566 n.1

 

 

Therefore, reliance on ownership of a valuable and unemcumbered asset, such as a house, to deny a poverty abatement would be self-defeating in the absence of an ability to pay taxes

 

                   Macaro, 468 A.2d at 606

 

 

Burden to prove eligibility for poverty abatement is on the applicant

 

                   Joyce, 565 A.2d 90

                   Gilmore, 580 A.2d at 700

                   Sager, 2004 ME 40, ¶ 11, 845 A.2d at 570

 

 

36 M.R.S. § 841(2) applies to both residential and commercial properties

 

                   Hustus, 2004 ME 41, ¶¶ 1, 11-12, 14, 845 A.2d at 564, 566,

567

 

 

Where taxes assessed against commercial property are the responsibility of a person, not a separate business entity, the person’s poverty is a relevant inquiry

 

                    Hustus, 2004 ME 41, ¶ 10, 845 A.2d at 566

 

 

Assessors have considerable discretion under 36 M.R.S. § 841(2)

 

                   Sager, 2004 ME 40, ¶ 10, 845 A.2d at 569

 

 

But do not have the discretion to exclude property used for commercial purposes from consideration of a poverty abatement

 

                   Hustus, 2004 ME 41, ¶ 14, 845 A.2d at 567

 

 

Three-year backward reach of 36 M.R.S. § 841(2)

 

                   Sager, 2004 ME 40, ¶ 10, 845 A.2d at 569

 

 

Applicant’s eligibility for abatement is not to be determined only by evidence before the selectmen/city council or the board of assessment review, but those bodies may consider all relevant facts and circumstances

 

                   Gilmore, 580 A.2d at 700

 

 

Fact that town granted abatement for one year does not automatically mean applicant for abatement is entitled to abatement for another year

 

                   Gilmore, 580 A.2d at 700                 

 

 

When one who does not own the land on which she lives applies for a poverty abatement, the denial of the application means only that the true owner must pay the taxes

 

Mason, 1998 ME 201, ¶ 6, 715 A.2d at 181

 

 

One who is buying property by an installment contract is not the owner for poverty abatement purposes, even though the result may be that she will be defaulted under her contract and may face foreclosure if she, as the purchaser, fails to pay property taxes
 

Mason, 1998 ME 201, ¶ 8, 715 A.2d at 181

 

 

The Maine Residents Property Tax Program, 36 M.R.S. §§ 6201-6220, provides in section 6216 that benefits received under the program are to be considered when determining eligibility for poverty tax abatement, but there is no automatic setoff of benefits received

 

                   Sager, 2004 ME 40, ¶ 9, 845 A.2d at 569

 

 

Municipalities should consider the amount of a refund under the Maine Residents Property Tax Program when evaluating an applicant’s financial need, rather than when calculating the abatement to be awarded

 

                   Sager, 2004 ME 40, ¶ 12 n.1, 845 A.2d at 570 (concurring op.)