Farmland and Tree Growth Property Tax Law

If your goal is to continue to farm your land or lease it so it will be farmed, OR to manage your forest land for timber production, and your land meets eligibility criteria, and you apply, the following programs can offer a reduction in assessed value by establishing valuation of property at its “current use,” rather than at market value.

These programs are available to property owners through an application process with the local municipality. Applications must be filed on or before April 1 of the year the reduced valuation is first requested. Property must meet certain criteria to qualify for each program and any future change in the use of the land will cause disqualification resulting in a penalty.

As of the Governor’s Executive Order of March 30, 2020, "The annual current use taxation application deadline of April 1st has been adjusted to July 1st for 2020."

Farmland

For a parcel to be eligible for current use taxation under Farm and Open Space Tax Law, the parcel must be at least five contiguous acres and be used for farming, agriculture or horticulture. The parcel must contribute at least $2,000 gross income from farming activities each year. The parcel may include land that is not farmable (wasteland) and forested land, but any firewood and timber cut from the forested land may not be counted towards the farm income requirement. See Property Tax Bulletin #20 for important details.

To enroll a parcel for this first time, a landowner must submit the Farmland Application Schedule, evidence of gross income, and a map indicating the farmland types and other areas not classified as farmland, to the Town Assessor. Applications must be filed on or before April 1 of the year the reduced valuation is first requested. Evidence of gross income from farming must be reported each year thereafter. See Farmland Income Worksheet.

If the property no longer qualifies as farmland, then a penalty will be assessed. The penalty is equal to the taxes that would have been paid in the last five years if the property had not been in farmland, less the taxes that were paid, plus any interest on that difference in each of the five years.

Farmland Resources:

For assistance please contact: Leigh Hallett, leigh.hallett@maine.gov

Tree Growth

For a parcel to be eligible for current use taxation under the Tree Growth Tax Law (TGTL) it must include at least 10 contiguous acres of forest land used primarily for growing and harvesting commercial forest products, in accordance with an acceptable Forest Management and Harvesting Plan. See Property Tax Bulletin #19 for important details.

To enroll a parcel for the first time, a landowner must submit a Tree Growth Application Schedule, which includes a sworn statement attesting to the presence of a Forest Management and Harvest Plan prepared by a Maine Licensed Forester, and a map indicating the commercial forest types and other areas not classified as forest under the TGTL, to the Town Assessor by April 1. The new property valuation rate will take effect for that tax year. The Forest Management and Harvesting Plan must be updated at least once every 10 years. The landowner must recertify the parcel every ten years, or upon written request from the Assessor. If the parcel no longer meets the criteria of eligibility or the landowner opts to withdraw from TGTL classification, then a penalty will be assessed. Transfer of the property to another current use program, such as Farmland or Open Space, will not result in a penalty.

Tree Growth Resources:

For assistance please contact: Landowner Outreach Forester, Andrew.H.Shultz@maine.gov (207) 287-8430.