Applying For the Circuit Breaker Program

By Bill Diamond
State Senator

As of Aug. 1, Mainers can apply for the 2010 Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Refund Program, also known as the Circuit Breaker Program. This is, in my opinion, the best tax relief program offered by the State of Maine.

When people complain to me about taxes, far and away the one they mention most is their property tax, and that is what this program targets. The Circuit Breaker Program allows Maine residents who paid a high percentage of their income for property tax or rent in 2010 to apply for a refund from the state. To give you an idea of the kind of numbers involved, last year 2,118 residents of my Senate District received a refund, and their average check was for $504. This kind of money can make a real difference in these tough times.

You may qualify for a refund if:

• You do not have a spouse or dependents and your 2010 household income was $64,950 or less;

• Or, you have a spouse or dependents and your 2010 household income was $86,600 or less.

For homeowners that meet these income guidelines, your 2010 property tax must have been more than 4% of your 2010 household income. For renters, your 2010 rent must have been more than 20% of your 2010 household income. Low-income seniors may qualify even if they don’t meet the 4% of income as tax or 20% of income as rent requirement. If you are over 65 and have an income below $14,700 and live alone, or if your household income is below $18,200 if you are living with a spouse or dependent, then you may still qualify for a refund.

This is a really great program for those who qualify, and Maine Revenue Services estimates that around 200,000 Maine households do. This year, the maximum refund is $1,600, so it is worth the few minutes it takes to fill out the application if you think might qualify. You can get an application form online at by calling Maine Revenue Services at 626-8475. The deadline for applications for the 2010 tax year is May 31, 2012, but the amount of money is limited, so apply soon!

Remember if there is anything I can do for you in Augusta, or there is anything I can help you with, you can call my office at the State House at 287-1515 or visit my website, to send me an e-mail.

Senator Bill Diamond is a resident of Windham, and serves the District 12 communities of Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, Standish, Windham and Hollis.

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