Loans to help older Mainers pay property tax bills

BAR HARBOR — Governor Janet Mills recently announced the launch of the State Property Tax Deferral Program, a lifeline loan program through the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan that can cover the annual property tax bills of eligible Maine people who are ages 65 and older or are permanently disabled and who cannot afford to pay them on their own.  

The loans are to be repaid once the property is sold or becomes part of an estate. 

The State Property Tax Deferral Program is modeled on a similar expired program from the 1990s, this time funded by $3.5 million from the Federal American Rescue Plan. 

“Older Mainers and those with disabilities deserve to live and age in the comfort of their homes without worrying they’ll lose them because they can’t afford the property taxes,” said Gov. Mills. “This program through my Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan provides folks with the peace of mind that they can age safely and securely in their homes.”  

“This program will help qualifying residents remain in their homes, without shifting additional burdens onto the property taxpayers,” said James Bennett, president of the Maine Municipal Association and Biddeford city manager. “The adoption of this program, coupled with state funding for 55 percent of K-12 education expenses, returning municipal revenue sharing distributions to 5 percent of state sales and income tax revenue, as well as incrementally increasing state reimbursement under the Homestead Exemption program, underscores the state’s commitment to reducing property taxpayer burden. This is a much needed and welcomed investment in Maine’s communities.” 

The State Property Tax Deferral Program pays property tax bills to Maine municipalities for any owner-occupied, primary residence so long as the owner is aged 65 or older and/or permanently disabled, earns less than $40,000 per year and has liquid assets below $50,000 (or below $75,000 if applying jointly). Full eligibility criteria and applications may be obtained via Maine Revenue Services. 

Property owners should submit applications to the municipality where they live. Municipalities will work directly with Maine Revenue Services, a division of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, to process the applications and related payments. 

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