Old News Archive

Maine Residents Can Now Take Advantage of Tax Rebate Program

August 04, 2006 - TRC

Homeowners receive 71 percent more money from expanded program

AUGUSTA—Senator Elizabeth Schneider of Penobscot County today announced that Maine homeowners and renters can once again take advantage of the Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Refund Program commonly known as the “Circuit Breaker.” In 2005, legislators expanded the program, increasing the number of eligible Maine homeowners and renters to more than 200,000.

According to Maine Revenue Services, the State of Maine paid out more than $43 million to homeowners and renters who applied in the last application cycle that ran from August 1, 2005 through May 31, 2006. The average Maine homeowner or renter received $469 towards reducing their property taxes, while some received checks as high as $2,000.

The Legislature had expanded the program to include more than 200,000 Maine homeowners and renters and 92,000 took advantage of the program that ran from August 2005 to May 2006.

“One of the most frequent messages I get from my constituents is the demand for real property tax relief. The expanded Circuit Breaker Program provides Mainers with direct relief –a check from the State of Maine,” said Senator Schneider.

“Overall, renters and homeowners saw an increase of 71 percent in rebate checks from the state. This is remarkable when an additional 100,000 people could have applied,” said Senator Schneider. She added, “This summer I am traveling across our district and in every community I have been encouraging residents to apply. It is worth the effort, you may just find you qualify.”

To help inform Maine renters and homeowners that thousands more people are eligible for Circuit Breaker, Maine Revenue Services is sending out more than 200,000 applications to previous rebate recipients and to those who have expressed an interest. Television commercials will also run this fall to help get the word out to people about the program. In addition, legislators are in the process of distributing applications and forms can be filled out online. Information about Circuit Breaker can also be found online at www.mainesenate.org/taxreform.


About Circuit Breaker

The Circuit Breaker program (also known as the Maine Tax and Rent Refund Program) was expanded by law from a rebate check of up to $1,000 to a rebate of up to $2,000 for homeowners and renters who apply to the program and meet the following conditions:

Single Homeowners

A single homeowner whose 2005 income was $77,000 or less is eligible for the program and if their 2005 property taxes exceeded four percent of their income.

For example, a single person with income of $15,000 a year—but who pays $2,900 in property taxes—would receive a $2,000 rebate check.


Married Homeowners

A married couple or homeowner with dependents is eligible for the program if their combined income for 2005 was $102,000 or less and if their 2005 property taxes exceeded four percent of their income.

For example, a married couple with income of $49,500—but paying $4,300 in property taxes—could be eligible to receive more than a thousand dollars back from the state.


Renters

Those paying more than 20% of their 2005 income in rent could also see money back from the state under the program. In one example, a single person making $30,000—but who pays $13,200 in rent (with heat included)—could receive a rebate check back from the state in the amount of $522.

The program is administered by Maine Revenue Services and bases your eligibility on your 2005 household income and your 2005 property taxes or rent. In order to receive the benefits, renters and homeowners must apply for the program by filling out an application.

Maine Revenue Services estimates that over 200,000 taxpayers are eligible for the program compared to just over 100,000 taxpayers last year.

Income requirements are based on Maine Adjusted Gross Income plus the addition of a number of items that are untaxed by the state. Please refer to the Application Instructions and the Maine Revenue Services Guidance Document on Household Income.

Additional information and requirements about the program can be found by going to the Maine Tax and Rent Refund Program Web site. You may also call Maine Revenue Services at (207)-626-8475 for assistance. Application forms are available online, at your local municipal office, or by calling Revenue Services.

Completed applications for the program are due by May 31, 2007.

Submitted by : Maine Senator Elizabeth Schneider


NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.