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FAQs

Assessing FAQs
I recently purchased my house for $275,000 and the town has it assessed at $325,000. Will you automatically reduce my assessment?
Assessments are not automatically adjusted up or down based on recent sales. Adjustments might occur if current information indicates an error in the assessment record, however current sales information will be kept in our inventory of sales to be used at such time when another revaluation or interim valuation adjustment occurs. A property owner concerned about their assessment compared to a recent purchase price should consult Bulletin #10 published by Maine Revenue Service in which the appeals process is explained and a property owner can explore whether their current assessment represents an equitable value when compared to comparable assessments.
I purchased my property in June of this year, why is the former owner's name still listed on the tax bill? I sold my property in September of this year, why is my name still on the tax bill?
We are required, by law, to commit property taxes to the owner of record as of April 1st. It would be in your best interest to forward the bill to the new owner in a timely manner. Although someone else may now be the owner of the property, your name is on the bill an in accordance with Maine law you retain liability for the remainder of the tax year to ensure the taxes are paid.
Why did my mortgage appraisal come in so much lower than my assessment? Is my tax valuation too high?
A mortgage appraisal is an opinion of value. You may have paid for it, however in most cases an appraisal is done for a bank or lending institution and they are the actual client. An appraisal, according to standards set forth by the Appraisal Institute should state within the document, the purpose. Unlike a tax assessment, appraisers are often limited by the lending institution to use sales within a short time period, often as little as 6 months and comparable sales within a limited distance from the subject. Limitations placed upon appraisers by lenders often make it difficult for appraisers to develop enough data to arrive at the desired conclusion.

If a property owner wishes to use an appraisal to appeal their assessment they would need to make sure that the purpose of the appraisal was for a tax appeal and would need to provide written permission from the appraiser to do so. An appraiser completing such an appraisal would need to review Bulletin #10 published by the Maine Revenue Service in order to determine what changes may be necessary to make their appraisal comply with assessment standards.
Are there any programs available to help reduce the assessment on my property?
There are several programs available to property owners that depend on certain qualifications. Applications for these programs must be delivered to the Assessor’s Office on or before April 1st in order to go into effect for the next tax year.

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS: If you are a Maine resident and have owned your home for at least the past 12 months you may qualify for a reduction of the assessed value.

VETERAN AND/OR WIDOW OF A VETERAN EXEMPTION: A homeowner may be eligible for a reduction in the valuation of their property if they:

  • Have their permanent residence in Kennebunkport on April 1st
  • Are a veteran who was honorably discharged
  • Served during a recognized war period in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Are 62 or older or an unremarried widow/widower of a qualifying veteran
  • Are under 62 but 100% disabled due to a service-related disability
An application along with proof of service and discharge, such as a copy of their DD214 must be provided.

PARAPLEGIC VETERAN: A veteran who received a federal grant for a specially adapted housing unit may receive an exemption of $50,000 in valuation.

BLIND EXEMPTION: A homeowner who is determined to be legally blind by a medical doctor receives a $4,000 exemption.

CURRENT USE PROGRAMSThe State of Maine offers the following “current use programs” which give the property owner a reduction in their assessed value. Applications for all these programs are available at the Town Office or at the Maine Revenue Services web site and must be filed on or before April 1st. In order to be eligible each program has certain criteria that must be met and any change in use of the land warrants withdrawal from the program and a penalty assessed.

TREE GROWTH: This program provides for the landowner with at least 10 acres of forested land who wishes to maintain land for the planting, culture and continuous harvesting of trees. A Forest Management and Harvest Plan must be prepared and submitted with the application. Applications must include a map of the parcel indicating the forest type breakdown as well as all other areas not classified as tree growth. The 100% valuation per acre for each forest type by county is determined by the State Tax Assessor each year. If the classified parcel no longer meets the criteria of eligibility or the landowner withdraws from the program a penalty of an amount between 20 and 30% of the difference between the tree growth value and the fair market value will be assessed depending on the amount of time in the program.

FARM LAND: In the farmland program the land must be used for farming, agriculture, horticulture and can include woodland and wasteland. At least 5 contiguous acres of land is required and the tract must contribute at least $2,000 gross income from farming activities per year in one of the two or three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application. If the property no longer qualifies as farmland or the landowner withdraws from the program then a penalty equal to an amount of taxes that would have been paid in the last five years had it not been in the program, less the taxes that were originally assessed, plus any interest on that balance will be assessed.

OPEN SPACE: Under this program no minimum acreage is required and the tract of land must be preserved or restricted in use to provide a public benefit such as public recreation, scenic resources, game management or preserving wildlife habitat. Classified land is valued by reducing the fair market value in accordance with a cumulative percentage reduction for which the land is eligible according to certain categories.

  • Ordinary Open Space – 20% reduction
  • Permanently Protected – 30% reduction
  • Forever Wild – 20% reduction
  • Public Access – 25% reduction
If the property met all of the above requirements, the owner would see a cumulative reduction of up to 95% on the classified land. If the classified parcel no longer meets the criteria of eligibility or the landowner withdraws from the program a penalty of an amount between 20 and 30% of the difference between the open space value and fair market value will be assessed depending on the amount of time in the program.
What is the difference between the Assessment Date and Commitment Date?
Assessment Date is April 1st of each year as set by state law. The ownership and condition of the property is fixed as of that date each year. Any ownership changes, applications for current use or exemption programs or improvements to the property made after the April 1st date will not change the tax bill. Changes, if any will be reflected in the following tax year based on the next April 1st date.

Commitment Date is the date set each year when the Tax Assessors commit the town’s assessment roll to the Tax Collector to allow for the receipt of payment. The tax commitment usually occurs in July of each year.