An Act To Connect Benefits Provided under the Circuitbreaker Program with the Payment of Property Taxes
Sec. 1. 36 MRSA §6211-A is enacted to read:
§ 6211-A. Payment of benefit when property taxes unpaid
Sec. 2. 36 MRSA §6218, as enacted by PL 1989, c. 534, Pt. A, §10, is amended to read:
§ 6218. Application
The application form and instructions used by applicants for assistance under the Maine Residents Property Tax Program and its successor, if any, shall have a readability score, as determined by a recognized instrument for measuring adult literacy levels, equivalent to no higher than a 6th grade reading level.
The application must be designed to provide information to the assessor as to whether the property taxes accrued on the homestead that is the subject of the claim have been paid in full at the time of application.
This bill requires the application form for the Circuitbreaker Program to include a method of determining whether the property taxes being claimed have been paid at the time of application to the program. If the State Tax Assessor determines that the property taxes have not been paid, the benefit must be issued to the claimant and the municipality jointly. The municipality is required to endorse the benefit to the claimant but may withhold an amount equal to the amount of property taxes owed for the year for which the benefit is being issued. A municipality may retain an amount in excess of the amount of property taxes owed only with the express written permission of the claimant.