Many Maine property taxpayers will get a little bit of extra cash in their pockets this winter. 

State Treasurer Henry Beck announced Tuesday that homeowners who are eligible for the state’s Homestead Exemption program will get checks for about $100 in January or February. 

Beck said the checks would be sent to about 305,000 homeowners. 

The refund is part of a bipartisan tax package promoted by Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport. 

The refund is triggered whenever the state’s Property Tax Relief Fund has enough money in it so that all participants in the Homestead Exemption program can be paid at least $100. The measure was among several changes to the program made by the Legislature in 2019, including an increase in the homestead exemption. 

The program allows eligible homeowners, those who have lived in a home for more than one year as of April 1 and declare it their primary residence, to exempt the first $25,000 of assessed value from local property taxation. The previous exemption was $20,000. The new law also requires the state to reimburse cities and towns for the exemption in an attempt to prevent tax rate increases as way to make up for lost property tax revenue locally. 

The fund is fueled by a transfer from the state’s general fund at the end of each fiscal year whenever there is a surplus in the general fund. The fund receives 40 percent of the general fund surplus under the law. 

“Maine people made clear they want property tax relief,” Beck said in a prepared statement. He said the bill would provide about $30 million in direct relief to property taxpayers. 

A link to information about the exemption, including frequently asked questions and an application, can be found on the Maine Revenue Services website. 

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