Abatement is the process by which valuation, that is found to be excessive or the assessment is found to be void because of an error or illegality, may be corrected. In the State of Maine, assessments are presumed valid and the burden is on the taxpayer to show that it is manifestly wrong in relation to just value. (CMP v. Town of Moscow, 649 A.2d 320 (ME. 1994)). In order to overturn an assessment, the taxpayer must prove one of three things:
- The judgement of the Assessor was irrational or unreasonable in light of the circumstances that the property is substantially overvalued and an injustice results;
- There was unjust discrimination; or
- The assessment was fraudulent, dishonest, or illegal.
While we understand some may have concerns about affordability, high tax, or change in value from one year to the next, these are not sufficient grounds for an appeal. An appeal should be based on the estimated market value of the property. According to Maine law, a property's valuation is considered reasonable within 10% of it probable selling price.
1. Informal Appeal
- Review your property record card and report any inaccuracies to the Assessor's Office.
- Review sales of similar properties and familiarize yourself with local market conditions.
- Present clear and concise evidence that the property is significantly overvalued as well as what the valuation ought to be.
2. Formal Appeal
- If an informal resolution is not reached and you feel the property is still overvalued, submit a formal written application to the Assessor's Office.
- A taxpayer has 185 days from the date of commitment to file a formal appeal.
- The Assessor's Office has 60 days to respond to an appeal request.
3. Board of Review
- A taxpayer has 60 days to appeal the decision of the Assessor to the Board of Assessment Review.
- The Board will convene for a public hearing where the taxpayer and Assessor will provide written and/or oral testimony.
- By law, appeals can only be on the total valuation of the property. Appealing individual components of the assessment, such as land or building features, is not permitted.
- The Assessor is not the taxing authority. Assessments distribute the tax burden according to the market value of a property. The actual tax is a product of the municipal, school, and county budgets voted on by the residents through their elected officials.