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“Circuit Breaker,” Tax and Rent Refund Program Applications Available August 1st

Bangor -

AUGUSTA—Senator Joe Perry, D-Penobscot County, is pleased to announce that the 2010-2011 Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Refund Program, also known as the “Circuit Breaker,” will be accepting applications again beginning August 1st.

Over 200,000 Maine homeowners and renters are estimated to be eligible for a refund check from the state of Maine under the Circuit Breaker program. During the last application period 88,470 refunds totaling almost $40.5 million were distributed to Maine homeowners and renters. Refund checks to homeowners and renters statewide averaged $456.

“Last year nearly 80 percent of homeowners and renters in Bangor and Hermon who applied for a Circuit Breaker refund received one. Roughly $1.1 million was refunded to area residents. Estimates by Maine Revenue Services indicate, however, that roughly half of all Mainers who are eligible didn’t apply,” Senator Perry said. “I encourage everyone to take a look at this tax relief program to see if they might be eligible for a refund.”

“Although nearly $800 million in state spending was reduced from the state’s budget last session, in these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to preserve and promote this direct property tax relief program from the state,” Senator Perry said.

How the Program Works
Applicants must be a Maine resident, and lived in Maine for all of 2009. If one is married or has a dependent, then the 2009 household income must have been $86,600 or less. Or, if one is a single homeowner then the household income must be $64,950 or less. The other major requirement is that the 2009 property taxes must have been more than four percent of the 2009 household income. If one is a renter, then one may qualify if the rent paid in 2009 was more than 20 percent of the 2009 household income. The maximum refund to eligible homeowners or renters this year is $1,600.

It is important to note that senior claimants age 62 and over (55 if disabled) do not need to meet this requirement if their household income is below $14,700 for those living alone or below $18,200 for those living with a spouse or dependent.

How to Apply
If you would like to apply for the Circuit Breaker program and are interested, you have plenty of time to apply. The program runs over a 10-month period from August 2010 through May 31, 2011. You may apply for the Circuit Breaker program online or download an application at the Maine Revenue Services Web site at www.maine.gov/revenue/taxrelief. You may also call (207) 624-7894 to request an application.

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