CAPE ELIZABETH — Town Tax Assessor Clinton Swettan updated the Cape Elizabeth Town Council on the town’s revaluation and an overview of the senior property tax relief on Sept. 6.

Swett announced that the valuation letters are being mailed. Swett also said the valuation changes can be found on the website. If a resident wants to appeal before the end of September, the process is an informal appeal. If the resident has questions about their tax bill, they can call, email and/or make a 15 minute appoint in person. Some council members expressed concern for how busy Swett might be between now and the end of September. He said that KRT Appraisal assessors will be on hand to help with appeals.

The informal appeal can be done before the tax commitment is filed by the town assessor. If the resident wants to make changes after the tax commitment is filed, an abatement is needed. Residents have 185 days to get their tax bill adjusted, which gives them until to March of 2024. Swett stressed paying the first half of the taxes on time to avoid any late fees. He said the bill can be adjusted for April if there any adjustments are made.

Swett said that the town value increasing, Sweet said, that lowers the mil rate. The new mil rate is 0.01055 cents. The mil rate or tax rate is the amount of tax payable per $1,000 of the assessed value of a property. Swett noted, “a lot of people see the new value and get scared. Don’t be scared.” He explained that not everyone’s tax bill will go up. He said some will go up, some will go down and some will remain the same. The tax bill for 2,947 homeowners will go up. 388 homeowners will see their tax bills remain the same, and 992 homeowners will see their tax bill go down.

“The senior tax relief program is alive and well and I’ll be mailing out those new applications. So, if you were in the program last year and you got a check for $500, just sit tight,” said Swett. “The senior tax freeze program has been repealed and replaced by the Maine Legislature. So, if you applied for that program in 2022, you can just forget about this talk about the revaluation because your tax bill will be the same as last year’s tax bill. You will not see an increase this year.”

The Senior Tax Relief Program offers senior citizens the opportunity to receive a rebate of up to $500 for property taxes paid in the preceding year. To qualify, applicants must be at least 65 years old and have been residents of Cape Elizabeth for a minimum of 10 years. Eligibility is determined by assessing whether an applicant’s property taxes amount to more than 5% of their income. For each dollar that property taxes exceed 5% of their income, a rebate of up to $500 is available. It is important to note that a new application must be submitted annually to verify any changes in annual income.

Regarding the state the tax deferment program, which is when the state pays the taxes until you sell property. “We have zero people in that program. I wouldn’t recommend it,” said Swett.

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