Maine sending $104 checks to qualifying taxpayers, in batches of ‘20,000 per day for four days each week’

Mon, 01/13/2020 - 2:00pm

ROCKPORT — On Dec. 30, the Maine Office of the State Treasurer said that it will send $104 relief payments to all who received the Homestead Exemption in 2019 next week in accordance with “An Act to Return Funds to Maine Property Taxpayers.” In Rockport’s case, according to town Assessor Kerry Leichtman, the treasurer’s office sent us some specific information about the $104 checks they will be mailing to people who were eligible.... By what their email says, Rockport’s checks are scheduled to be mailed on January 22.”

“Due to the large volume of payments, we will process 20,000 per day for four days each week,” the state department said, in a mailing to municipalities. “A full list of payment batches and what municipality will be impacted can be found on the State Treasurer’s website. Additionally, we will update the public daily through social media; our Facebook page facebook.com/MaineOST.”

The law, "An Act to Return Funds to Maine Property Tax Payers" requires the Office of the State Treasurer to provide tax relief payments of no less than $100 to qualifying homesteads, when the Property Tax Relief Fund reaches a balance to support the payments. 

(Read: $104 checks from Maine Treasurer to be sent to Homestead Exemption qualifying taxpayers)
 

Further correspondence with municipalities from the treasurer’s office had this say:

Property Tax Hotline Set up

In anticipation of constituent inquiries, we have set up an operational “hotline” January through March. That number is 207-624-7477, option 3 and will be live between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Correcting Errors to Checks

The process for correcting checks will begin at our office. We will record requests from constituents and will send a formatted file to each municipality to confirm the requested changes (please make sure we know who specifically should receive these files). Only after confirmation will we make changes to a check. We will compile requests and limit the number of emails. Constituents who have moved and have the wrong address can be updated by our office by providing the last four digits of their SSN. We will also share these address changes with you so you can also update your records.

Insufficient Data Coming Back to You

We have accumulated approximately 7,000 unusable names in our database. These include names with “Trustee” and no trust, names with an “and” but no second owner and several other errors that make it impossible to create checks. We will send these back to municipalities to correct and will not send a check until required to do so by law. We will be collecting information for these properties at our call center as requests are made (please make sure we know who specifically should receive these files).

Paying for Costs of Providing the List

Finally, the law allows for payments to be made to municipalities for costs related to relief payments pursuant to a mandate under the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, Section 21. By law, we are authorized to reimburse 90% of the costs incurred. We will be sending these payments directly to each municipality. If we have received an invoice from a contracted Tax Assessor, we will send the invoice to the municipality for approval and will send payment to the municipality. We will not be sending payment to a contracted Tax Assessor.