Property Tax Division


General effective date: August 1, 2014 

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Title 36 (Session laws not yet incorporated)

Real estate transfer tax.  The real estate transfer tax law is changed, impacting certain deeds of foreclosure, deeds in lieu of foreclosure and the assignment of rights in or connected with title to foreclosed real property.  The law clarifies that the transfer tax also applies to a person or entity (servicer) acting on behalf of an owner of a mortgage debt.  The law further requires a mortgagee or servicer assigning rights in or connected with title to foreclosed real property for which a deed is not given to report the assignment to the register of deeds in the county or counties in which the real property is located.  The report must be made in the form of an affidavit within 30 days of the assignment and must be accompanied by the payment of the tax.  Effective August 1, 2014.  36 M.R.S. § 4641-B; LD 1389, PL 2013, c. 521 Pt. A.

Tax acquired property.  Because property acquired by a municipality for unpaid taxes may be challenged, a purchaser cannot obtain a marketable title to the property until the period for challenge has expired.  The law reduces the period for challenge from 15 years to 5 years.  Applies to tax liens recorded after October 13, 2014.  36 M.R.S. §§ 946-A & 946-B; LD 1389, PL 2013, c. 521 Pt. D.

Municipal property tax assistance.  The law restores statutory authority for municipalities to provide property tax relief and removes from the program references to the now repealed state Circuitbreaker program.  Applies retroactively to June 26, 2013.  36 M.R.S. §§ 6231 – 6233 ; LD 1607, PL 2013, c. 455.

Business equipment tax exemption.  The law removes the requirement for businesses whose property represents more than 2% of a municipality's tax base to include with their annual Business Equipment Tax Exemption ("BETE") application information necessary for the assessor to determine just value of the property.  The law further eliminates the requirement that a municipality provide an appraisal to MRS every five years for BETE qualified property that represents more than 2% of the municipality's tax base.  The law specifies the information an assessor may request and imposes confidentiality restrictions with respect to proprietary information.  Applies to tax years beginning on or after April 1, 2014.  36 M.R.S. §§ 693, 694 & 706; LD 1627, PL 2013, c. 544.

Estates of veterans.  Maine law allows limited property tax exemptions for property owned by veterans of federally recognized war periods.  The law clarifies that the exemptions also apply to veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. The law is further amended to require that, upon request, municipalities provide to the State Tax Assessor applications for the veterans property tax exemption and proof of entitlement documents.  Effective August 1, 2014.  36 M.R.S. § 653; LD 1696, PL 2013, c. 471; LD 1707, PL 2013, c. 546, § 8.

Conveyance of state interest in certain real estate in the unorganized territory.  This Resolve authorizes the State Tax Assessor to sell certain tax-acquired parcels located in the unorganized territory.  Effective August 1, 2014.  LD 1706, Resolves, 2013, c. 92.

Excise tax.  The law clarifies that the motor vehicle excise tax exemption applies to vehicles jointly owned by a member of the Armed Forces on active duty and that member's spouse, regardless of whether the vehicle is registered by the service member or the service member's spouse.  However, to qualify, the vehicle's title document must indicate that the vehicle is jointly owned.  Effective August 1, 2014.  36 M.R.S. § 1483; LD 1733, PL 2013, c. 532.