Lowering Your Maine Property Taxes
Property taxes on your home, land, farm, waterfront or whatever Maine real estate.
No one wants to pay any more than they have to for property taxes right?
But you have a shot at doing something about it if the amount your pay makes you grumble.
Seems out of whack.
And if your Maine property tax assessment was a low one, the urge, itch to run to the phone, call the local assessor to up the ante is not likely to happen.
Feeling your are not paying enough, your fair share with the figure on your property tax bill never happens.
But despite the expression nothing is certain except death and taxes, there is a process if what your Maine property tax bill seems out of line, exorbitant.
For starters what everyone in any Maine town, plantation or even unorganized township pays for property taxes is public information.
Open for review. Subject to being studied. And you may find your pie hole gets duct tape shut and you stay clear of the Maine property tax assessor. Because you actually have a lower tax bill than others in the neighborhood, area with more substantial properties.
If you find after a little home work that you are being singled out, not in the ball park of other similar real estate property tax bills, ask for a review. The meeting to go over how the assessment for your property taxes was arrived at will be helpful. And may turn up mistakes. Square footage larger than the assessor’s office shows or a shed, garage no longer on the property but still added in to the tax bill happens.
One small Maine town I know cost $160,000 for a mass revaluation of all the properties in it. Recently that door to door was under taken pretty quickly and not every home had to be reviewed. Because of scheduling, missing owners out of the county, whatever. It is a pretty efficient process to quickly canvass the entire township, city or plantation in Maine.
The problem is the appraisers orchestrating the property tax review are moving fast, make mistakes and are human.
Shooting at a moving target.
Property values go up in down in every unique real estate market.
Like all of us, appraisers, assessors have good and bad days.
They have filters that color their perception of likes, dislikes in properties.
Even though the science of appraisals done with the right comparable sales, and competing property types should prevent that from happening.
Plus figures used to calculate this year’s tax bill may be from a ten year old assessment. Value basis numbers that have been too high, too low and get more skewed as the years roll by.
My Dad was a licensed Maine real estate property appraiser for many years.
And in the smaller areas, less comparable sales, competing just like it properties to consider. And many inner family sales where no documentation, hard facts are readily printed off on a MLS spread sheet to review.
From time to time, real estate sellers will use some creative ways to arrive at Maine property listing prices too. The buyer wants to buy, seller wants to sell but the market value is determined at the time, considering current conditions. And fair arms transactions with property realistically priced and exposed on the open market for a reasonable period of time.
But if you use the wrong comparables, if only so much time is spent on each home in the appraisal or property tax assessment process, mistakes happen. Calculations for tax bills can result. And unless you speak up, ask for a review, the figure won’t be adjusted or calculations rechecked.
For Maine unorganized properties in your Township this Range that check with the state for the process. Lowering your real estate taxes in an organized Maine town, city, plantation means start with a request for review. If the results of that sit down session with the assessor does not leave you satisfied, there is an appraisal process that costs money but involved a more in depth challenge to the assessment figure you are losing sleep over.
Also, in my experience, smart town clerks, property tax assessors always send Maine real estate tax bills out on Fridays.
So when you open up the property tax due paperwork, it will mean staying hot under the collar until Monday when someone is in the office to discuss the matter. By then, usually you have cooled off, still not happy but made some calls. Found out your bill is better, lower, easier to swallow than Joe or Jane’s down the street.
Maine property tax bills are received more favorable when the opener slicing them open for review remembers the cost for services. Plowing, police and fire, parks and recreation, upkeep of public buildings, schools that need heat, teachers, maintenance and on and on.