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FAQ - Assessing

How are mil rates computed?

Mil rates are determined by two components - the amount of funds required by the municipal and school budgets and the taxable valuation of the property in town.

The amount of funds required by the municipal and school budgets are the total budgets net of estimated revenue from other sources.  Other revenue sources include State and Federal program funding, education subsidy, municipal revenue sharing, excise tax, and investment income.  (Figure A)

The taxable valuation (Figure B) is the total value of all properties in town less values exempted from taxation.  Properties fully exempted from taxation include those owned by State, Federal, or municipal governments, churches, and schools.  Portions of properties may be exempted from taxation using certain State exemption programs. 

Figure A divided by Figure B =  Raw Mill Rate

State statute allows an addition of up to 5% of the funds requested (Figure A) - known as overlay.  This amount is added for rounding purposes and to provide funding to offset the effect of tax abatements.

How are valuations determined?

Land values

An average value of an acre of land is determined based on the sales which occur in the town.  Adjustments are made based on location or neighborhood.  Other adjustments are made based on physical attributes of the property - wetlands, size, shore frontage.

Adjustments are made to developed property's values for water supply and waste water systems.  The majority of the value of a developed property is located near and in the area of development or "base lot" - ie, around the house.  Additional acreage is typically valued at a lower rate.

Building values

An average value per square foot is determined based on the sales which occur in the town.  Adjustments are made for type of structure, age, and condition.  Other adjustments are based on how the structure differs from the "norm" - number of bathrooms, whether it has a basement & if the basement is dry, type of heating system, etc.

When are valuations changed?

Property valuations are changed under three circumstances:

Are there any ways I can reduce my taxes?

The State provides several programs which changes the basis upon which valuations are computed and several exemptions which reduce the valuation upon taxes are computed.

More information on these programs may be found atwww.maine.gov/revenue/propertytax/propertytaxbenefits/CurrentUseLandPrograms.htm

More information on these programs and the applications may be found atwww.maine.gov/revenue/propertytax/sidebar/exemptions.htm.  Applications must be received on or before April 1st to be applicable for the coming assessment year.