Individual Income Tax FAQs

  1. How can I tell if I am a resident of Maine?
  2. How can I get an extension to file?
  3. Do I file my return even though I do not have the money to pay?
  4. I did not live in Maine for the entire year. Do I have to file a return?
  5. I forgot to attach my W-2 form(s) when I mailed my return. What do I do?
  6. I haven't received a Form W-2. What do I do?
  7. What is the Pension Benefits Income Deduction?
  8. I receive Social Security Benefits; do I qualify for the Pension Benefits Income Deduction?
  9. How do I complete Schedule NR?
  10. How do I complete Schedule NRH?
  11. How do I complete the Credit for Income Tax Paid to Other Jurisdiction Worksheet?
  12. My spouse has passed away. You sent a refund with both our names on it. What do I do?
  13. I received a letter saying that you sent my refund to another agency. Why?
  14. I received a bill and I can't pay it in full. What do I do?
  15. Why didn't you give me credit for my withholdings?
  16. What should I do if I amend my federal tax return or my federal return was changed by the IRS?
  17. I received a notice that didn't show all payments made. How do I get credit for them?
  18. How can I purchase a State of Maine Park Pass?
  19. What if my park pass is lost or stolen?
  20. Do I qualify for Innocent or Injured Spouse status?
  21. What if I file or pay late?
  22. Is there a penalty for not paying enough estimated tax?
  23. I am a nonresident of Maine with business activity (such as rental property) located in the state. In prior years, this activity has generated a loss, but this year I realized a gain. Can I use the previous years' losses to offset this year's gain?
  24. Does Maine Revenue Services accept facsimile signatures on tax returns completed by either a taxpayer or by a paid preparer?
  25. How do I file a Maine income tax return?

01. How can I tell if I am a resident of Maine?

For income tax purposes, you are a resident of Maine if

  1. you are domiciled in Maine, or
  2. you are not domiciled in Maine for the entire tax year, but have a permanent home in Maine for the entire tax year and spend more than 183 days of the tax year in Maine.

If you are in the military, your home of record usually is your legal residence. EXCEPT: If you qualify as a "Safe Harbor" resident, you may be treated as a nonresident for Maine income tax purposes. For more information on "safe harbor" residency, see the Guidance to Residency "Safe Harbors" pamphlet available at www.maine.gov/revenue/incomeestate/guidance/.

If you are domiciled in Maine, you remain domiciled in Maine until you relinquish your domicile here and establish a domicile elsewhere.

If you are domiciled in Maine, the number of days you spend in Maine or outside Maine does not change the fact that you are a resident of Maine for income tax purposes. It is possible for someone who is domiciled in Maine to be outside the state for the entire year and still be a resident of Maine.

If you are domiciled in another state, but have a permanent home or apartment in Maine for the entire tax year, you are a resident of Maine for income tax purposes if you spend more than 183 days in Maine.

Maine Revenue Services reviews such indicators as residential property ownership, driver’s license, vehicle registrations, professional licenses, job requirements, hunting and fishing licenses, and voter registration in determining a person’s domicile; however, these may not be the only factors considered.

For more information, refer to the Guidance to Residency Status and/or the Guidance to Residency "Safe Harbors" pamphlets. You can request a copy of the pamphlet(s) by visiting our website at www.maine.gov/revenue/incomeestate/guidance/ or calling our forms order line at (207) 624-7894.

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02. How can I get an extension to file?

If you are unable to file your return by the original due date, Maine will allow an automatic six-month extension of time in which to file your return. Requests for additional time beyond the automatic six-month extension to file must be submitted in writing prior to the expiration of the six-month period. Generally, the total extension period cannot exceed eight months. The automatic extension is only effective if the return is filed within the six-month period.

A penalty for failure to file will not be assessed if you file your return by the extended due date. However, to avoid penalties for late payment, you must pay at least 90 percent of the tax you owe by the original return due date. Please remit your estimated tax payment with the extension payment voucher available at www.maine.gov/revenue/forms. Interest will be charged on any unpaid tax balance remaining after the original return due date regardless of any extensions filed.

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03. Do I file my return even though I do not have the money to pay?

If you cannot pay all of your taxes by the original due date, you should still file your return on time. It is important to pay as much of the tax due as you can by the due date. Late payment penalties and interest are charged on any unpaid tax balance. By paying as much as possible by the original due date, you will minimize these charges.

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04. I did not live in Maine for the entire year. Do I have to file a return?

If you moved in or out of Maine during the tax year, you will generally have to file an income tax return with Maine. Anyone who is a resident of Maine for any part of the tax year, and has taxable Maine-source income, must file a Maine return. Anyone who is not a resident of Maine, but performs personal services in Maine for more than 12 days and earns more than $3,000 of income from all Maine sources, must file a Maine return.� Up to 24 days performing certain personal services, such as training and site inspections, are not counted against the 12-day threshold.

If you established or relinquished your Maine residency during the tax year, you are a part-year resident for income tax purposes, regardless of when you changed your residency. For example, if you were a Maine resident but moved to California on November 1st and became a California resident, you would be a part-year resident of Maine for that year.

Part-year residents, nonresidents and "safe harbor" residents must file a Maine return based on their total federal adjusted gross income. Your tax liability is first calculated as if you were a resident of Maine for the entire year. You are then allowed to calculate a nonresident credit on Maine Schedule NR that will reduce your Maine tax by the portion of the tax that is related to the income you earned outside the state while a nonresident or "safe harbor" resident of Maine.

For more information, refer to the Guidance to Residency Status and/or the Guidance to Residency "Safe Harbor" pamphlets. You can download copies of the pamphlets from our website at www.maine.gov/revenue/incomeestate/guidance/ or request copies by calling our forms order line at (207) 624-7894.

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05. I forgot to attach my W-2 form(s) when I mailed my return. What do I do?

Do not send the W-2 form(s) to Maine Revenue Services until we ask you to do so. We will send you a notice requesting legible copies of the W-2/1099 form(s). When you get this notice, attach your W-2 form(s) to the notice and return it to Maine Revenue Services. We will allow the withholdings and adjust your account if your W-2 form(s) show that you paid Maine withholdings.

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06. I haven’t received a Form W-2. What do I do?

Generally, employers must provide their employees with a Form W-2 on or before January 31st. If it is after January 31st and you have not received your Form W-2, you should contact your employer to find out if and when it was mailed.

If you employer has gone out of business and filed bankruptcy, you should contact the bankruptcy court in your area. There may be an attorney assigned to handle the bankruptcy proceedings, and the attorney should be able to supply you with a Form W-2.

If you cannot get a copy of your Form W-2, you can send a copy of the federal Form 4852, Substitute Withholding Statement, with your paycheck stubs when you file your Maine return. You must request federal Form 4852 from the IRS. Complete Form 4852 with your Maine information and attach it to your return.

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07. What is the Pension Benefits Income Deduction?

For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, the benefits received under a military retirement plan, including survivor benefits, are fully exempt from Maine income tax.

In addition, you and your spouse may each deduct up to $10,000 of pension income that is included in federal adjusted gross income. The $10,000 cap must be reduced by all taxable and nontaxable social security and railroad retirement benefits received.

Deductible pension income, other than military retirement pay, includes state and federal pension benefits and retirement benefits received from plans established and maintained by an employer for the benefit of its employees such as: qualified pension plans, including qualified SIMPLE plans; employee annuities; and eligible deferred compensation plans from state and local governments or tax exempt organizations. Deductible pension income also includes benefits received from individual retirement accounts, including ROTH and SIMPLE IRAs, and simplified employee pension plans.

Married taxpayers who elect to file a joint return may have a total deduction of up to $20,000.

You must complete the Worksheet for Pension Income Deduction available at www.maine.gov/revenue/forms, and submit the worksheet with your income tax return to claim a Pension Income Deduction.

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08. I receive Social Security Benefits; do I qualify for the Pension Benefits Income Deduction?

Except for military retirement pay, the pension deduction cap amount ($10,000) must be reduced by all taxable and nontaxable social security and railroad retirement benefits received. If the total social security and railroad retirement benefits are less than $10,000 you may qualify for a portion of the deduction. If your total social security and railroad retirement benefits exceed $10,000, you do not qualify for the deduction.� The social security and railroad retirement benefits reduction does not apply to military retirement pay.

You must complete the Worksheet for Pension Income Deduction available at www.maine.gov/revenue/forms, and submit the worksheet with your income tax return to claim a Pension Income Deduction.

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09. How do I complete Schedule NR?

You must file Maine Form 1040ME and Schedule NR.

Read the instructions for Schedule NR carefully. Read the specific instructions for each line on the schedule before you complete that line on the form.

You should keep the following points in mind when completing Schedule NR:

  • Only part-year residents, nonresidents and "safe harbor" residents of Maine may claim a credit from Schedule NR. Residents of Maine should not file Schedule NR.
  • Any income you received as a resident of Maine is Maine income, regardless of where it was earned.
  • Any income earned by a nonresident or "safe harbor" resident of Maine within the state is Maine income.
    • Nonresidents and "safe harbor" residents of Maine generally do not have to include income from most pensions, annuities, or interest as Maine income, even if the income is from Maine banks or is from a previous employer within Maine.
    • Wages, business income, and capital gains from sources within Maine are Maine income even if you received the income as a nonresident.
    • All part-year residents, nonresidents and "safe harbor" residents must send a copy of their federal return with their Maine return.

Additional written instructions are available to help you complete Schedule NR at www.maine.gov/revenue/incomeestate/guidance.

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10. How do I complete Schedule NRH?

You must file a Maine Form 1040ME and Schedule NRH.

Read the instructions for Schedule NRH carefully. Read the specific instructions for each line on the schedule before you complete that line on the form.

If you filed a married joint federal income tax return, but you and your spouse have a different residency status, you may be able to use Schedule NRH. Also, if you and your spouse are both nonresidents or "safe harbor" residents of Maine, but only one of you has income from Maine, you may use Schedule NRH.

By filing Schedule NRH, you are choosing to be taxed as a single individual on your state return, even though you filed a joint federal return.

You should keep the following points in mind when completing Form 1040ME, Schedule NRH:

  • Do not include your spouse’s name or social security number on the front of Form 1040ME.
  • Check the filing status box for Single. Do not check the box for Married filing separately, Married filing jointly, or Head of household.
  • Check the residency status that applies to you. For more information regarding residency status, see the Guidance to Residency Status and/or the Guidance to Residency "Safe Harbors" pamphlets. You can download copies of the pamphlets from our website at www.maine.gov/revenue/incomeestate/guidance/ or request copies by calling our forms order line at (207) 624-7894.
  • Do not claim your spouse’s personal exemption. The total number of exemptions on your Form 1040ME should be one less than the total number of exemptions shown on your married joint federal return.
  • Do not enter your spouse’s income under Column C. Column A is not designed to equal the total of Column B and Column C.
  • Nonresidents and part-year residents are the only people who may enter anything in Column C. Residents of Maine should leave Column C blank.
  • If you have any tax credits, such as a child care credit, complete Maine Schedule A. The tax credits on Form 1040ME, Schedule A are prorated based on your portion of the household income as shown on Form 1040ME, Schedule NRH.
  • You must send a copy of your federal return when filing Form 1040ME, Schedule NRH.
  • Additional written instructions are available to help you complete Form 1040ME, Schedule NRH at www.maine.gov/revenue/incomeestate/guidance.

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11. How do I complete the Credit for Income Tax Paid to Other Jurisdiction Worksheet?

You must file a Maine Form 1040ME and the Credit for Income Tax Paid to Other Jurisdiction Worksheet to claim a credit for taxes paid to another jurisdiction.

If you were a resident of Maine (excluding "safe harbor" residents) during the tax year, and received income that was taxed during the year by another state, you may claim a credit for income taxes paid to another jurisdiction.

Read the instructions for the Credit for Income Tax Paid to Other Jurisdiction Worksheet before completing the worksheet. Always complete the other state’s income tax return before completing the Maine return. You must submit a copy of the other state’s return with your Maine return.

When completing line 4b “Income taxes paid to other jurisdiction,” do not write the amount of withholdings paid to another state on this line. Instead, write the actual tax liability due to the other state on this line. That amount is usually the amount of the other state’s withholdings, plus any additional money you owed them when you filed your return, or less any refund you are entitled to from the other state.

If you paid income taxes to more than one other state, complete a separate Credit for Income Tax Paid to Other Jurisdiction Worksheet for each state. Add the resulting tax credits together when reporting the allowable credit on Form 1040ME, Schedule A.

Generally, you cannot claim both a credit for taxes paid to another jurisdiction and a Form 1040ME, Schedule NR nonresident credit on the same return. However, if you are a part-year resident, and you earned income as a resident of Maine that was also taxed by another state, you may be eligible to claim both credits. Complete Form 1040ME, Schedule NR first. Then complete the Credit for Income Tax Paid to Other Jurisdiction Worksheet based only on the portion of your income that was earned as a resident of Maine.

Additional written instructions are available to help you complete the Credit for Income Tax Paid to Other Jurisdiction Worksheet at www.maine.gov/revenue/incomeestate/guidance.

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12. My spouse has passed away. You sent a refund with both our names on it. What do I do?

Take the check and a copy of the death certificate to your bank and try to cash or deposit the check.

If your bank will not accept the refund check, you must complete Maine Form 1310ME, Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer, to have the check reissued in your name only. Call the MRS forms line at (207) 624-7894 to request Form 1310ME.

Return the uncashed check and the completed Form 1310ME to Maine Revenue Services, Income/Estate Tax Division. Allow 6 to 8 weeks from the date you return the check to Maine Revenue Services for a new refund check to be issued.

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13. I received a letter saying that you sent my refund to another agency. Why?

We were notified that you owed money for back federal taxes, child support, college loans, or other state agency debts. State law requires us to send your tax refund to state and federal agencies to pay these debts.

Our notice shows how much of your refund was sent and to what agency. If you believe the amount sent was incorrect, or that you do not owe the money, you must contact that agency directly. Maine Revenue Services cannot provide additional information beyond what is provided in your notice. Our notice provides the address and telephone number of the agency requesting the monies from your refund.

Unless you also owe another agency, any remaining refund monies will usually be sent to you within three weeks.

If you filed a joint return, your refund may be taken to pay a past or present debt of either spouse, even if the debt was incurred before your marriage. Again, if you have questions, our notice shows the agency you must contact to get answers.

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14. I received a bill, and I can’t pay it in full. What do I do?

If we sent you a bill, and you are unable to pay the amount due in full, you should pay as much as you can with that notice. Penalties and interest will accrue on any unpaid balance until paid.

You may call Maine Revenue Services at (207) 621-4300 to discuss a payment plan. Often we can save you significant penalties if you contact us timely. Establishing an acceptable payment plan will also prevent enforced collections activity against you.

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15. Why didn’t you give me credit for my withholdings?

We may not have given you credit for your withholdings because of a missing or unclear Form W-2 or Form 1099. You may not claim federal tax, Medicaid, social security, or taxes paid to another state as Maine withholdings. The box on your Form W-2 or Form 1099 labeled ”State income tax” lists the amount of state withholdings. The box labeled ”State” indicates the state to which the withholdings were sent.

To tell if the amount you claimed on your return is correct, add up the boxes labeled ”State income tax” that were withheld for Maine on all your Forms W-2 and Forms 1099. If this is more than the amount we allowed you, send us legible copies of your Forms W-2 and Forms 1099, with a copy of your notice and we will review our changes.

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16. What should I do if I amend my federal tax return or my federal return was changed by the IRS?

If the IRS examined and changed your federal return, you must report these changes to Maine Revenue Services within 90 days, if the changes affect your Maine tax liability.

You must complete an amended Form 1040ME to change your Maine return. Be sure to include a copy of the final federal determination along with all notices and schedules supporting the federal adjustment.

If you have amended your federal return and the changes will affect your Maine tax liability, you must also report the changes to Maine by filing Form 1040ME and check the AMENDED return box. Attach a copy of your federal Form 1040X to your Maine return when filing.

If the changes result in an additional tax liability, you will be charged interest on the additional liability from the due date for payment of the original return until the amended payment is received. However, we will not assess penalties if you pay the liability in full when you file your return.

If the changes result in a refund due you, Maine Revenue Services has 90 days from the date we receive your complete return to process your refund before any interest is due you.

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17. I received a notice that didn’t show all payments made. How do I get credit for them?

To get credit for missing payments, attach copies of the front and back of your cancelled checks to the notice you received and mail them to Maine Revenue Services at the address shown on the notice. We will research your payments and adjust your return accordingly. If you made your payments with a money order, you must request a copy of the cancelled money order from the place it was purchased. A copy of your receipt will not help us track your payment.

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18. How can I purchase a State of Maine Park Pass?

You can purchase a park pass through Maine Revenue Services when you file your income tax return on or before the original due date of the return.

Complete Form 1040ME and Schedule CP. You can request as many individual or vehicle passes as you would like for yourself or to give as gifts. All passes requested will be mailed to the address you provide on your tax return. You must have an excess refund amount or send in payment enough to cover the cost of the passes purchased in order for Maine Revenue Services to issue the park pass to you.

If you have already filed your Maine income tax return and wish to purchase a Maine State park pass, you must call the Bureau of Parks and Lands at (207) 287-3821. You will not be able to purchase a park pass when filing an amended 1040 return.

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19. What if my park pass is lost or stolen?

You will need to contact the Bureau of Parks and Lands at (207) 287-3821 for a replacement pass if it has been lost, stolen, or issued in error. If season passes are lost, replacement passes will be sold at the original purchase price.

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20. Do I qualify for Innocent or Injured Spouse status?

Maine Revenue Services acknowledges Innocent and Injured Spouse Claims for a Maine Revenue Services income tax debt only (see federal Form 8379 or Form 8857 and related instructions). The spouse is not required to request federal relief prior to requesting state relief. For more information call the Compliance Division of Maine Revenue Services at (207) 624-9595 or e-mail compliance.tax@maine.gov. If you believe that your refund may be set off to pay a debt other than an income tax debt, you must contact the other tax department or agency directly to request injured spouse relief.

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21. What if I file or pay late?

If you owe tax, you will be charged interest (currently 6%), compounded monthly, on income tax not paid by the due date (generally the April 15th immediately following the tax year for calendar-year filers). An extension allows only additional time to file; it does not allow additional time for payment of tax due or prevent accrual of interest.

In addition to interest, a penalty is assessed for late filing. A separate penalty is assessed for the late payment of tax. The penalty for late filing is $25 or 10% of the tax due, whichever is greater. If a tax return is not filed upon demand, the penalty for late filing is the greater of $25 or 25% of the tax due. The penalty for late payment of the tax is 1% per month up to a maximum of 25%. Both penalties are assessed when the return is filed late and the tax is paid late. The law also provides for penalties for underpaying estimated tax, preparing or filing a fraudulent income tax return, and for substantially understating income.

If you are due a refund, you generally must file a claim for a refund within 3 years of the original due date (including any automatic extensions to file) or within 3 years of the time the tax was paid, whichever is later; otherwise, you risk losing the refund.

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22. Is there a penalty for not paying enough estimated tax?

Yes. If you did not pay enough estimated tax or have enough tax withheld from your earnings by any due date for paying estimated tax, you may be subject to a penalty. For calendar year 2017, the underpayment penalty is 7%, compounded monthly. For calendar year 2018, the underpayment penalty is 6%, compounded monthly.

If your 2017 tax liability is $1,000 or more, you should refer to Form 2210ME, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals.

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23. I am a nonresident of Maine with business activity (such as rental property) located in the state. In prior years, this activity has generated a loss, but this year I realized a gain. Can I use the previous years’ losses to offset this year’s gain?

No, unless you have a federal loss that you can carry forward to this year. If your Maine losses have previously offset federal income, you cannot use those losses again to offset future Maine income.

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24. Does Maine Revenue Services accept facsimile signatures on tax returns completed by either a taxpayer or by a paid preparer?

Any Return filed with Maine Revenue Services must contain a declaration that statements contained in that return are true and made under penalties of perjury.

Maine Revenue Services generally follows IRS filing procedures requiring that taxpayers affix an original signature to tax returns; that is, they must personally sign their Maine return. Facsimile signatures are not acceptable.

Maine Revenue Services allows paid preparers to affix their signature as the return preparer consistent with IRS Notice 2004-54/IRB 2004-33, 209, which permits paid preparers to sign returns by rubber stamp, mechanical device (such as signature pen), or computer software program (i.e., a computer program that prints the preparer’s name on the signature line of the form).

When a tax return is filed electronically by a taxpayer or with the taxpayer’s permission, the filing of that return constitutes a sworn statement by the taxpayer, made under penalties of perjury, that the tax liability shown on the return is correct. No additional signature is required. See 36 M.R.S. � 193(1).

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25.� How do I file a Maine income tax return?

File your Form 1040ME electronically using Maine Fastfile. Visit www.maine.gov/revenue/netfile/gateway2.htm for more information:

  • I-File
  • E-File

Or, you can file a paper return.� Booklets and forms are available for download at www.maine.gov/revenue/forms or you can request that a Form 1040ME booklet be mailed directly to you:

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Revised January 2018