Maine property tax pro ration you thought was taken care of at the real estate closing.
Prorating Maine real estate town or city taxes on the fiscal year should be easy, cut and dry simple right?
To avoid calls, disputes, emotions flaring up after the real estate sale right?
Where does the Maine property tax proration problem start?
For starters, it used to be that every Maine town and city adopted, were guided by the April 1st to March 31 fiscal tax year golden rule. It was easy, simple and all towns fell in line. Everyone followed the same property tax structure template. But then in the 1980's, it seemed no two towns or cities had the same standardized property tax year. That was part of the confusion. Who's on first scenario.
The other hub bub started with the property listing owner. The guy, gal, or both named on the real estate property tax bill figures all paid in say late July or August when the bill came out. So all current, square. Not if the tax year in the town the property is in started last early spring and he is paying in somewhere close to the middle of the cycle.The Maine real estate closing is where the HUD 1 closing statement reflects what the town or cities fiscal property tax year is. And how the taxes for the buyer and seller shake down, figure out as of the date of that real estate closing. If this year's property taxes are not known yet, the bill not mailed out, it can be figured on what the taxes were last year. But if they do go up, both parties agree to revisit and update the book keeping. Or it is spelled out that everything keeps sailing and the new buyer is on his own when the property tax bill does show up in the mailbox with a slight increase.
The property taxes for the seller are usually reflected as a credit on the HUD 1 standardized real estate closing tally accounting statement.
But when the Maine property tax bill does come out, the buyer can forget he received a credit from the seller months earlier at the real estate closing.
The buyer runs to the phone and asks the Maine real estate agent, broker, REALTOR hey, how come I get the entire bill for this year?
Any back property taxes from previous years are cleaned up and settled at the real estate closing. But unless both the buyer and seller of the property ante up a known, accepted figure for this year's taxes, confusion can happen. Loose ends, not dealing with this fiscal tax pro ration every day part of it.
And being weak in math skills that dates back to childhood all compound the problem.
Causing a misunderstanding.
Heated emotions to bubble over.
Even when it gets figured out, all the parties start to recall the discussion about property tax proration at the real estate closing, it still boils down to someone has a bill to pay they did not figure on. Or a larger bill amount for property taxes than they had reckoned having to handle.
Discount for paying early can change the numbers slightly on property tax bills. And if the new buyer does not pay this year's property taxes when he receives the bill, guess what?
The seller, the owner of the property if the transaction happens after April 1st sees his name go up in lights, fresh bold black and white ink in the town report of delinquent taxpayers.
There is a legal process and legislation to address this situation so the seller's credit and reputation don't leave him with the dropped shoe. But still property tax pro rations are always a source contention, misunderstanding, elevated emotions.
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