Overview of Maine Taxes
Property tax rates in Maine are well above the U.S. average. The state’s average effective property tax rate is 1.35%, while the national average is currently around 1.08%. The typical Maine resident will pay $2,435 a year in property taxes.
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To calculate the exact amount of property tax you will owe requires your property's assessed value and the property tax rates based on your property's address. Please note that we can only estimate your property tax based on median property taxes in your area. There are typically multiple rates in a given area, because your state, county, local schools and emergency responders each receive funding partly through these taxes. In our calculator, we take your home value and multiply that by your county's effective property tax rate. This is equal to the median property tax paid as a percentage of the median home value in your county.
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Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
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Maine Property Taxes
For the most part, municipalities administer real estate taxes in Maine. They typically use the money to pay for local services, such as public schools, libraries and law enforcement.
Rates vary significantly depending on where in Maine you live, however. For example, the average effective rate in Hancock County is 0.95%, lowest in the state. On the other hand, the average effective rate in Androscoggin County is 1.69%, highest in the state.
If you aren’t a Maine homeowner yet, but are considering becoming one, take a look at our Maine mortgage guide. It breaks down the important information you’ll want to understand before purchasing a home in the Pine Tree State.
A financial advisor in Maine can help you understand how homeownership fits into your overall financial goals. Financial advisors can also help with investing and financial plans, including taxes, homeownership, retirement and more, to make sure you are preparing for the future.
How Property Taxes in Maine Work
In Maine, any person who owns real estate on April 1st of the year is responsible for paying taxes on that property. What's specifically owed depends on the just value, or market value, of the property and the local tax rate.
To determine the market value of property, local assessors use one of three methods. The most common is the sales comparison approach, which looks at the sale prices of similar nearby homes to determine what your home would likely get on the market. The other two methods are the cost approach, which calculates the cost to replace your property, and the income approach, which calculates the income your property could generate if it were rented or used for some other purpose.
There are two statewide rules that ensure local assessors value property in an equitable fashion. The first states that assessed values cannot be less than 70% of fair market value. The second is that two similar properties should never have an assessed value difference of more than 20%. Municipalities that fail to meet these standards are required to do a revaluation of all property in their district.
Maine also offers exemptions that residents can claim in order to decrease their property taxes. The homestead exemption allows Maine residents to decrease a property’s taxable value by $20,000. Senior veterans who are 62 or older may be eligible for an exemption of $6,000. An individual who is legally blind may also receive an exemption of $4,000.
Maine Property Tax Rates
The rates that appear on tax bills in Maine are generally denominated in millage rates. A mill is the tax per thousand dollars in assessed value. For example, a home with an assessed value of $150,000 and a mill rate of 20 ($20 of tax per $1,000 of assessed value) would pay $3,000 in annual property taxes.
Because assessment levels vary between municipalities in Maine, mill rates in one area cannot be directly compared to mill rates in another. For that reason, it is useful to look at average effective rates. An effective rate is the annual property tax payment as a percentage of the total home value. The table below shows average effective property tax rates for every county in Maine, along with median home values and median annual tax payments.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
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The most populous county in Maine, Cumberland County also has among the highest property tax rates. The county’s average effective rate is 1.40%, which ranks as the fourth highest of any county in the state. The median property tax payment residents make in Cumberland County annually is a high $3,628. That's almost $1,600 higher than the national median.
In Portland, the largest city in the county as well as the state, the 2020 tax rate is 23.31 mills. Since Portland assesses property at 100% of market value, that implies a tax rate of about 2.33% for real estate owners in the city.
If you have questions about how property taxes can affect your overall financial plans, a financial advisor in Portland can help you out.
The typical homeowner in York County pays $2,950 annually in property taxes, which is well above the $2,090 U.S. median. Rates vary greatly between municipalities, as the total rate in Ogunquit is about 0.78% and the rate in Sanford is 2.070%, the highest rate in the county.
Penobscot County is in central Maine and contains the state’s third largest city, Bangor. Property tax rates in the county are reasonably close to the state average, as the average effective rate here is 1.41%. However, it actually ranks as the third highest of Maine's 16 counties.
Kennebec County is home to Augusta, Maine's state capital. Kennebec residents pay the seventh highest property taxes in the state, as the median property tax bill here is $2,058. Kennebec's average effective property tax rate of 1.33%, however, comes in beneath Maine's 1.35% statewide average effective rate. This is mostly because Kennebec has a lower median home value ($154,500) than other more expensive counties in Maine.
Androscoggin County has the highest property tax rate in the state of Maine. The county’s average effective property tax rate is 1.69%. Androscoggin is also home to two of Maine’s most populous cities in Lewiston and Auburn. The property tax rates in both municipalities are above 21 mills, putting them near the top of the state.
The northernmost county in Maine and the largest county by land area east of the Rockies, Aroostook County has property tax rates above the state average. In fact, the county's 1.45% average effective property tax rate is the second highest in Maine.
However, home values in the county are generally the lowest in Maine. Thus, many homeowners in Aroostook County pay relatively low total tax payments compared to some of the pricier counties in the state.
The median property tax payment in the county is just $1,404, which is more than $2,000 less than in Cumberland County. It even comes in around $1,000 cheaper than the statewide median, which is $2,435.
Oxford County is located in western Maine along the New Hampshire border. The county’s average effective property tax rate is 1.31%. At that rate, a homeowner whose home is worth $150,000 would pay $1,965 annually in property taxes.
Maine residents seeking low property tax rates might want to consider Hancock County. The county’s average effective property tax rate of 0.95% is the lowest in the state and well below the state average of 1.35%. Hancock County also has the longest coastline of any of Maine’s counties, so homeowners seeking beachfront property should find plenty of options.
Somerset County stretches from central Maine to the Canada border, and it is a largely rural place. The average effective property tax rate in the county is 1.34%, the sixth highest rate in Maine.
With a population of almost 40,000, Knox County is one of the smaller counties in Maine. The typical homeowner in Knox County pays $2,631 annually in property taxes on a median home value of $199,600. Therefore, the county’s average effective property tax rate is 1.32%, slightly below the state average.
Places Receiving the Most Value for Their Property Taxes
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places across the country where property tax dollars are being spent most effectively. Zoom between states and the national map to see the counties getting the biggest bang for their property tax buck.
Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most value for their property tax dollars. To do this, we looked at property taxes paid, school rankings and the change in property values over a five-year period.
First, we used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we analyzed the math and reading/language arts proficiencies for every school district in the country. We created an average score for each district by looking at the scores for every school in that district, weighting it to account for the number of students in each school. Within each state, we assigned every county a score between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on the average scores of the districts in each county.
Then, we calculated the change in property tax value in each county over a five-year period. Places where property values rose by the greatest amount indicated where consumers were motivated to buy homes, and a positive return on investment for homeowners in the community.
Finally, we calculated a property tax index, based on the criteria above. Counties with the highest scores were those where property tax dollars are going the furthest.