Amid high costs, $850 relief checks are being sent to an estimated 858,000 Maine people
Maine people are grappling with the increased costs as a result of pandemic-driven inflation, ranging from higher energy costs to increased prices of everyday goods.
While the Governor cannot control the impact of COVID-19 on global markets, she can make sure that we deliver to Maine people the resources they need to deal with these higher costs.
To help, Governor Mills proposed giving back more than half the budget surplus to the taxpayers of Maine, in the form of $850 direct checks.
The Governor’s proposal was supported by the Legislature – and $850 checks will be sent to an estimated 858,000 Mainers, for a total of $729.3 million returned to taxpayers.
- Who Is Eligible for $850
An estimated 858,000 Maine people will receive these payments.
To be eligible, individuals must file a 2021 Maine individual income tax return by October 31, 2022 as a full-year Maine resident.
(Even though the 2021 Maine individual income tax filing deadline has passed, people will still be able to file after that date to claim their $850 relief checks.)
Those eligible must not be claimed as a dependent, and must have a Federal adjusted gross income (FAGI) of less than:
- $100,000 if filing single or if married and filing separately;
- $150,000 if filing as head of household;
- $200,000 for couples filing jointly.
Check your eligibility with Maine Revenue Services: [link coming soon]
- How Can I Use The $850?
These payments are meant to help in navigating rising costs due to global inflation and supply-chain impacts, and other global economic disruptions driven by the pandemic. The payments are a one-time infusion into Maine families and will position Maine’s economy for continued post-pandemic prosperity.
As Maine people, like all people across the nation, grapple with increasing costs, the Administration is pleased that this relief will be delivered in a way provides Mainers with the freedom to decide for themselves how best to use the money, whether it be for groceries, gas, heating fuel, electricity, or other expenses.
- If I Don’t Normally File Taxes or Haven’t Yet Filed, Can I Still Claim $850?
Yes. Even though the 2021 Maine individual income tax filing deadline has passed, people will still be able to file through October 31, 2022 to claim their $850 relief checks.
- When Will I Receive My $850?
In order to get these funds into Mainers’ hands as quickly as possible, the first round of relief checks will be mailed in June 2022 – and will be delivered on a rolling basis through the end of the year as returns are received.
Eligibility for the $850 Relief Payment is based upon the 2021 Maine individual income tax return. Maine residents have until October 31, 2022 to file their Maine individual income tax return.
- How Will I Receive My $850?
Relief checks will be mailed via U.S. Postal Service to the address provided on your 2021 Maine individual income tax return, and will be redirected to any forwarding addresses filed with the U.S. Postal Service.
For more information about updating mailing addresses and/or lost or stolen payments, contact Maine Revenue Services at (207) 624-9924.
- What If I Didn’t Receive a Relief Check Last Time?
For this relief program, the Governor proposed to support Maine people grappling with the increased costs as a result of pandemic-driven inflation, ranging from higher energy costs to increased prices of everyday goods.
Last year’s relief program was specifically designed by the Legislature and Governor Mills as a thank you to Maine people who worked during the early days of the pandemic. Compared to the previous relief program, the wages requirement has been dropped and, as the proposal currently stands, we expect approximately 333,000 *more* Maine people to qualify for this program compared to last year’s relief checks.
Examples of those who were not eligible last time but who will be eligible for an $850 relief payment:
- Maine’s elderly who are living on social security and/or retirement income;
- Self-employed and/or business owners whose corporate structures require reporting of business earnings rather than employee income on their tax return; and
- Both joint filers; last time, both had to have employee income in order for both to receive a check – but this time, in the case of a two-parent household where one parent stays at home or owns a business for example, both will qualify for the payment.
- What About Retirees, Social Security Recipients and/or SSI Recipients?
The $850 relief payment is available whether or not Maine income tax is owed, including for those who receive social security and/or supplemental security income (SSI), so long as they meet the other eligibility criteria.
Individuals must file their 2021 Maine individual income tax return by October 31, 2022. To do so, those with no taxable income may check Box A on the front of the Maine Individual Income Tax Form 1040ME (PDF) and complete the appropriate sections of Schedule PTFC/STFC (PDF) to qualify.
- Are Both Joint Filers Eligible for $850?
Yes. If two people file jointly and their tax return meets the eligibility criteria for a relief payment, both individuals will receive an $850 relief check, for total relief of $1,700.
- Is It Too Late to Claim My $850?
Maine residents have until October 31, 2022 to file their Maine individual income tax return. Eligibility for the $850 Relief Payment is based upon the 2021 Maine individual income tax return.
- What If I Need Help Filing Taxes?
- What Other Relief Is Available?
The Mills Administration is encouraging Maine people to carefully examine their eligibility for up to $1,400 in additional tax relief available per person this filing season, thanks to laws already enacted by Governor Mills and the Legislature specifically aimed at supporting low- and middle-income Maine families. Learn more about the Homestead Exemption Program, and consider claiming the State Property Tax Fairness Credit, the Maine Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Sales Tax Fairness Credit.
- A $850 check was sent to my recently deceased family member, is this an error? Can the check be cashed?
Eligibility for the $850 Relief Payment is based upon the 2021 Maine individual income tax return. If a check was issued to a now deceased individual, then it was because that person was alive for some or all of 2021 and satisfied the eligibility criteria by having filed a 2021 Maine return. That check may be considered an asset of the deceased and handled in accordance with the deceased’s estate.
If you would prefer, you may return the check to Maine Revenue Services at the address below. Please include a note stating the reason for returning the check.
- Maine Revenue Services
- PO Box 1060
- Augusta, ME 04332-1060
- Who Do I Contact With Questions?
More questions? Read the full FAQ provided by Maine Revenue Services. Maine Revenue Services can also be reached at (207) 624-9924.