For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - State Rep. Windol Weaver wants to remind York residents that August 1 marked the start of a new year for the property tax relief program, which refunds up to $1,600 to qualified homeowners and renters. This year's program is for property taxes paid in 2011.
"Residents will have until next spring to file for a refund, but I want to remind folks that they can file now if they are so inclined," said Rep. Weaver (R-York), a third-term legislator who serves as House chair of the Marine Resources Committee. "There is no good reason to pass up a property tax rebate. This straightforward program puts taxpayer dollars back into taxpayers' pockets."
According to Maine Revenue Services (MRS), you may qualify for a refund if you do not have a spouse or dependents and your 2011 household income was $64,950 or less. For those with a spouse or dependents, the qualifying household income is $86,600 or less.
To be eligible, you also must have been a Maine resident for all 12 months of 2011 and paid a property tax bill that was more than 4 percent of your household income. Renters must have paid rent in 2011 that was more than 20 percent of total household income.
The Legislature enacted several changes to the program last year. The 10-acre limit on a house lot has been removed. Household income no longer includes cash inheritances or the income of dependents. Income does not include the non-taxable portion of jury duty payments, awards (such as employee awards), lawsuit awards, strike benefits and life insurance proceeds, as long as the total of all of these is not greater than $5,000.
The Property Tax and Rent Refund Program, also known as the "Circuit Breaker," is the state's primary tax assistance program. MRS estimates that approximately 200,000 Maine households qualify for the program, but typically fewer than 75 percent apply. Last year, roughly 109,000 households applied and 89,500 received refunds. All told, the state sent out nearly $43 million in refunds.
"Folks are leaving a lot of money on the table if they don't even apply," Rep. Weaver said. "It's important to note that this is not a welfare program. This is taxpayer money that rightfully belongs in the pockets of Maine homeowners and renters who are paying too much of their hard-earned money to keep a roof over their heads."
Applications are available at the Maine Revenue Services' Website - www.maine.gov/revenue. To order a paper application form from the state, call MRS at 207-624-7895, or write to MRS, PO Box 9107, Augusta, ME 04332-9107. Those who need assistance completing an application should contact their local Area Agencies on Aging or local Community Action Program offices. They also can call MRS at 207-626-8475. ###
Maine House Republicans
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