Why have a property tax?
Property taxes in Maine generate over $2 billion a year to fund local government services. Of the three major taxes – income, sales and property – used to fund Maine state and local governments, property taxes comprise the larger slice of the revenue pie. Property taxes generally account for 44% of the revenues in Maine generated by the three major taxes. The income taxes (corporate and personal) generate 30%, and the sales tax generates 26% of the total.

Property taxes have been with us since colonial times when a person’s wealth could be measured in the amount of property a person owned. Although it is our oldest form of taxation in Maine, the property tax still remains widely misunderstood. As the fundamental structure of our economic system has evolved from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing economy to a services-based economy, the patterns of ownership have changed and the property tax has become quite regressive because it is no longer necessarily based on a person’s wealth or ability to pay.

Properties are appraised so that those of us who want the advantages of having schools, fire, and police protection as well as other public benefits can absorb our fair share of the cost, in proportion to the amount of money our individual properties are worth. The property tax is part of a well-balanced revenue system. It is a more stable source of money than sales and income taxes because it does not fluctuate when communities have recessions. When the community spends your tax dollars on better schools, parks, and so on, your property values rise. Some of the windfall benefits you receive are recaptured by the property tax.

Show All Answers

1. Why have a property tax?
2. What property is taxed?
3. How is property assessed? (market value)
4. How is the mil rate (tax rate) determined?
5. How does my property value (valuation) affect the amount of taxes I pay?
6. What services do property taxes fund?
7. Why do assessed values change from year to year?
8. Why has my Homestead / Veteran’s exemption changed?
9. How can I appeal my valuation?
10. How can I appeal the tax rate?
11. How can I submit address changes or corrections?
12. What is the Portland Downtown assessment?
13. Was my Homestead Exemption or any other exemption applied to my bill?
14. Where can I get further information?