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Anne Powelson Anne Powelson
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The Money Edge - Maine property tax and rent rebate program - true or false

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August is second refund time for as many as 200,000 Maine residents. You may be one of them. Eligibility rules include your property tax for 2010 must be more than 4 percent of your income, or your rent more than 20 percent of your income. In addition there is an income requirement; if you are single, your 2010 household income must be below $64,950, or if you are married or have a dependent, your 2010 household income must be below $86,600.

A few quick true/false questions about the program:

You must file a Maine income tax return to claim a Property Tax and Rent Refund.

False; the two are separate programs.

You must claim child support payments in household income.

True; the definition of household income is different from the Adjusted Gross Income used for income taxes. Household Income includes such things as contributions to retirement plans, disability payments, income earned by dependents and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The instructions have the complete definition for household income.

If you split rent payments with a roommate, you can't apply for the rebate.

False; if otherwise eligible, you may submit a claim listing your share of the rent. You should attach a rental agreement to show you are legally responsible for the rent.

If you moved during 2010, you're not eligible for a rebate.

False; if you were a Maine resident all of 2010 and you owned a house or rented an apartment for six months of the year (and are otherwise eligible), you may get a refund. You will need to list all addresses and landlords for the year. If you rented and then purchased a house, Maine Revenue Services recommends that you list the tax assessed for the part of the year you owned and occupied your own home and claim the amount of rent you paid for the portion of the year you rented. Remember that each home must have been your primary home during the part of the year you occupied the home. To avoid a delay in receiving your refund, attach to your application a copy of the tax bill, all rent receipts or lease, and a letter explaining the situation.

Maine Revenue Services estimates that 50 percent of eligible households will fail to file for a rebate.

Sadly true.

I wrote to Sandra Lind, tax section manager at Maine Revenue Services, and asked her if there was anything that she especially wanted you to know. She stated that the program is the same as it was last year. She also wants you to know that the forms are easy to get. If you filed a paper form last year, a new form should have been sent to you. If not, you can file electronically for free through the Maine Revenue Services website, or request a paper copy by calling 207-624-7894. Filing for the 2010 year began on Aug. 1 and continues through May 31, 2012. A two month extension may be offered for those with extenuating circumstances, but then the program is over - no more extensions. So don't miss out!

Anne Powelson is a tax preparer for H&R Block in Bangor. Send your questions or feedback to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 207-947-0333.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 16:38

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