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Abatements and Appeals
Contesting Your Assessment

Taxpayers may challenge their property tax assessments (not the resulting tax) through the abatement process. Abatement is defined, for the purposes of property assessment, as a reduction in assessment (valuation) resulting in a lesser tax amount. Certain abatements are able to be granted only by the local Assessor while others are only able to be granted through the municipal officers (ie. Selectmen, Council etc.). Below are the various types of abatement requests that can be granted under Maine Law:

Overvaluation ('Error in Valuation")
(36 M.R.S.A. § 841 (1)) - If a taxpayer believes their valuation is too high, the taxpayers only remedy (after the commitment of that years taxes) is to submit a written application stating the grounds for abatement. The assessors may also grant an abatement on their own initiative; municipal officers have no authority to grant an abatement based on a claim of overvaluation.

Illegality, Error, or Irregularity
(36 M.R.S.A. § 841 (1)) - authorizes the municipal officers to grant an abatement on their own initiative or upon written application at any time after one year but within three years of the commitment of the tax to correct any illegality, irregularity, or error in the assessment; assessors may also grant an abatement on these grounds within one year of commitment. For example, if a person does not own any land in town but is assessed for a parcel regardless, that assessment and the resulting tax is illegal and void.

Poverty or Infirmity (36 M.R.S.A. § 841 (2)) - Taxpayers who, because of illness or poverty, are unable to pay some or all of their taxes may seek an abatement under this section. The municipal officers, not the assessor, are able to grant this type of relief.

Deadlines: An Application for abatement based on overvaluation must be filed within 185 days of the tax commitment. If no application is submitted within that time period, the assessment stands for that tax year. This deadline is jurisdictional and may not be waived by the assessor or by an appeal body.

Notice of Decision: Within 10 days after the assessors or municipal officers take final action on an application for abatement, they must give written notice of their decision to the person applying for the abatement. The notice must state that the applicant has 60 days from the date notice is recieved to file an appeal. The Town of Kennebunk, pursuant it's Town Charter, has adopted a Board of Assessment Review ("B.A.R.") which hears all appeals of abatements denied by the local assessor or where the applicant is not satisfied with the amount of abatement granted.

Title 36 §841. Abatement procedures

Abatement Application