Each year, prior to February 1st, Maine Revenue Services must certify to the Secretary of State the full equalized value of all real and personal property which is subject to taxation under the laws of Maine . The State Valuation process, which takes about 18 months to complete, begins with the compilation of a sales ratio study which measures the assessed value of residential and certain commercial properties relative to their actual selling price.
Ratio studies are primarily formulated from information reported on the "declaration of value" that must accompany most deeds that convey fee ownership of real estate and must be filed with the registry of deeds when the required Real Estate Transfer Tax is paid.
The State Valuation lags actual market values and municipal assessments by nearly two years by the time it is final and certified. Accordingly, for the 2005 State Valuation, work on the sales ratio analysis commenced in the fall of 2003 and utilized actual sales data from July 2002 to June 2003. In other words, the 2005 SV represents the full equalized value of all taxable property as of April 1, 2003; the uniform assessment date for property with 2003 tax status in Maine.
The staff produces a preliminary SV which is discussed individually with municipal officials during our annual municipal field audit visit and may be further reviewed at informal regional meetings offered in mid-summer. After considering information and comment regarding the preliminary SV, the Bureau must, by October 1st each year, prepare and send its formal notice of Proposed State Valuation to municipal officials. Municipalities may formally challenge Proposed Valuations by appealing to the State Board of Property Tax Review within 45 days after receipt of Proposed State Valuation. The SBPTR must issue its findings on appeals by January 15th and the Bureau incorporates any changes in the Final State Valuation to be filed with the Secretary of State.
The Property Tax Division prepares a statistical summary of selected municipal information that must be annually reported to MRS by municipal assessing officials. A wealth of information detailing valuations and exemptions by selected categories, assessment ratios and tax rates, on a town-by-town basis, is compiled. Several Administrative Rules and Tax Bulletins detailing assessing procedure and valuation guidelines are produced in concurrence with prevalent law.
The following is related information: