If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, here’s a subtle reminder that they are due in exactly two weeks. And if you need a little motivation to quit procrastinating, consider this: Two Maine tax changes enacted last year could save middle-class filers some serious money this year.

First, Maine’s top marginal individual income tax was lowered from the previous 7.95 percent rate (tax year 2015) to 7.15 percent (tax year 2016). Second, for tax year 2016, the top rate kicks in at $37,500 of taxable income for an individual and $75,000 of taxable income for a married couple filing jointly. In 2015, the top rate kicked in at only $20,900 and $41,850 of taxable income, respectively.

Other good news: The standard deduction has nearly doubled from 2015. Single filers can take a standard deduction of up to $14,700, depending on dependents, and married couples filing jointly can take up to $28,200.

Here are other changes for the 2016 tax year, courtesy of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services:

• Military retirement benefits, including survivor benefits, are now exempt from Maine income tax.

• A refundable Sales Tax Fairness Credit is available for Maine residents whose income does not exceed $28,500 for single filers; $38,250 for head of household filers; and $48,000 for married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) filers. The credit is intended to offset the impact of sales tax increases on low-income and middle-income filers. The base credit is $100 to $180, depending on exemptions.


• Maine’s Earned Income Tax Credit is now refundable to Maine residents. Previously, the Maine EITC could only be used to reduce an income tax liability to zero.

• Up to 25 percent of the applicable percentage of adult dependent care expenses, such as those for adult day care, hospice and respite care, can be deducted.

• A program that awards tax credits to recent college grads who choose to work in Maine has been expanded. The credit for educational opportunity, commonly referred to as the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit, now applies to certain graduates of non-Maine colleges and universities, to individuals obtaining a graduate degree from a Maine college or university after 2015, and to individuals serving on a vessel at sea. In addition, the credit is refundable for individuals earning an associate degree.

• Last year, lawmakers voted to have aspects of Maine’s tax code conform with federal tax practices. That will give families that claim tuition credits a break.

For years, Congress has provided a tuition expense deduction, but it had to be “added-back” when calculating Maine state income tax because the state code on tuition credits didn’t match the federal. Now they are in alignment. The deduction allows Maine families to reduce their taxable income by up to a $4,000 for qualified tuition costs and related expenses. This deduction primarily benefits low- and middle-income taxpayers and is estimated to benefit more than 6,000 Maine families, said David Heidrich, spokesman for the DAFS.

The traditional filing deadline is April 15, but filers have until April 18 this year, courtesy of Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., for federal filers, and Patriot’s Day for state income tax filers.



“Greenlight Maine,” which offers $100,000 to the winner of this entrepreneurial pitch contest, is accepting applications for its third season. Fashioned loosely after “Shark Tank,” the televised show gives Maine startups a chance to pitch for funding before a panel of judges.

The show airs statewide Saturday nights on WCSH-TV in Portland and WLBZ-TV in Bangor after “Bill Green’s Maine.” Last year, 26 companies vied for the prize, with Portland-based composting service Garbage to Garden the winner.

The submission period runs through May 6. Information and a link to the submission format can be found at www.greenlight.com, or contact Con Fullam at [email protected]

Carol Coultas can be contacted at 791-6460 or at:

[email protected]

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