By Penny Thompson, Caribou Tax Assessor
IMPORTANT property tax legislation enacted during the 2015 Session: For 2016, the Homestead Exemption will increase from $10,000 to $15,000 for qualified home owners. The amount your tax bill is reduced depends on the annual tax rate. Another change this year: 36 MRSA §653 (Veteran’s exemption) was amended to eliminate the requirement that Vietnam-era Veterans serve on active duty for 180 days during the federally recognized war period of February 27, 1961 and May 8, 1975. If you were denied in the past for this exemption – please reapply before April 1, 2016!
HOMEOWNERS: If your Maine home is your primary residence you may qualify for one or more partial exemptions offered by the State of Maine but only if you apply prior to April 1 of the tax year. These exemptions do not require application each year but please remember the completed form must be received by April 1. If you have any questions, call your local town or city office. Exemptions available: Homestead (must have lived in your home for twelve months prior to April 1st), Veteran (must be age 62 unless total disability), or for Blind Persons. The State of Maine reimburses the municipality for a portion of the revenue lost by administering these exemptions each year. The forms are the same for every municipality in Maine and can be downloaded at the Maine Revenue Services website:
ATTENTION BUSINESS OWNERS: You will soon be receiving your annual request for information on business personal property. This schedule is required under Maine State Statute Title 36, § 601 and §706. It is important that each business complete the form with a complete list of property in service on April 1, 2016. If you fail to respond, the tax assessor will estimate the value of your business personal property. Taxpayers who do not comply will, by law, lose their right to appeal. Please let the office know – in writing – if you have closed your business so that the office can verify and your account can be deleted.
The BUSINESS EQUIPMENT TAX EXEMPTION (BETE) is a 100% property tax exemption program for eligible business personal property placed in service after 4/1/2007 and located in a qualified business. It does not apply to property located at a retail sales facility and used primarily in a retail sales activity. To qualify, an application must be filed by April 1st of each year with the local assessor. The forms are the same for every municipality in Maine and can be downloaded at the Maine Revenue Services website:
In all communities in Maine, April 1 of each year is “Tax Situs Day” which is the State of Maine’s way of saying that the tax assessor in your community will assess the value of your property based on how the property was situated on April 1. The good news is if you start building a new garage on April 2 (don’t forget to get a building permit) and enjoy it all year – it won’t be assessed until the following year! The bad news is that if you finally tear down that old garage on April 2 (don’t forget to get a demolition permit) – you will be assessed as if it was there all year. If you have questions about your property value and the information on file, it is a good idea to call and make an appointment because many municipal offices have limited hours and staffing.
Taxpayers in the City of Caribou may contact the tax assessment office with property assessment related questions. The office can be reached at 493-3324 option #3 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is staffed by two full-time Certified Maine Assessors: Tony K. Michaud and Penny Thompson. All forms referenced above can be downloaded from the City of Caribou website on the “Tax Assessment” department page at: www.cariboumaine.org.