Maine’s Circuit Breaker Filing Period Is Open

Stan Rose, Managing Director, Tax Practice
August 2012

For many years, Maine has offered qualifying individual residents a refund of rent or property taxes by means of its Property Tax and Rent “Circuit Breaker” Program.  Refund requests must be filed during certain periods, and this year’s annual filing period opened on August 1.

For those unfamiliar with this program, Maine offers refunds of as much as $1,600 to residents whose rent expense exceeds 20%, or whose property tax exceeds 4%, of their household income.  Although the rent or property tax was paid to a landlord or municipality, the refund is provided by the state.  Eligible taxpayers must have household income of $86,600 or less for taxpayers with a spouse or dependents, or $64,950 or less for taxpayers who do not have a spouse or dependents.  Some of these limits are lower for seniors.  The current filing period is based on 2011 income and property taxes assessed or rent paid during 2011.  The refund is obtained by filing a short application form with Maine Revenue Services, and this year’s applications may be filed any time between August 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013.  More details, including an application form, can be found on the state’s website using this link.

Merriam-Webster defines a circuit breaker as a device that “automatically interrupts the current of an overloaded electric circuit,” and aptly-named programs such as this are designed to produce a refund if too much of a taxpayer’s income is consumed by rent or property taxes.  A circuit breaker is automatic, though, while the benefits of this program are obtained only upon request.  It seems likely that more folks are eligible for this program than apply, and we encourage you to consider whether you, a friend, or a family member can obtain a refund.

If you would like to discuss further, please call your BNN advisor or Stan Rose.

Disclaimer of Liability: This publication is intended to provide general information to our clients and friends. It does not constitute accounting, tax, or legal advice; nor is it intended to convey a thorough treatment of the subject matter.

Pursuant to requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any tax-related matter.  Please contact us if you wish to have formal written advice on this matter.