What guidelines must the Assessor follow?

Property tax administration is guided by the State Constitution, Title 36 of the Mains Statues, and a body of case law that interprets these Statutes.  Assessment practice is NOT guided by local ordinance.  The Assessor is charged with establishing a list of all properties in town and estimating their market value.

For more information on State property tax law, visit https://www.maine.gov/revenue/taxes/property-tax

 When are taxes due?

The due dates are set each year by the City Council, usually in late July or early August. The Council traditionally establishes semi-annual due dates at the beginning of September and March.

 How is the tax rate established?

The City Council adopts the annual municipal budget (revenues and expenses).  The school budget for RSU #2 is approved at a public meeting in late May and then voted on in a Budget Validation Referendum in June.  Hallowell's shares of the school and county budgets are added to the municipal budget to determine the total amount to be raised.  The Board of Assessors then sets the tax rate by dividing the amount needed to raised  by the city's total assessed property value.

For example: $5,300,000 to be raised/$248,000,000 total value of all taxable properties in town = $.0213 tax rate.  Thus each dollar value of property would be assessed $.0213: or, as more commonly expressed, property would be assessed at $21.30 per thousand, usually called the "mil rate." (These numbers are for the purpose of an example only). 

 How is my tax bill calculated?

Each property owner's responsibility for their part of the town's annual budget is assigned to them according to the value of their property.  This "share" is calculated by multiplying their individual property's valuation by the tax rate.  For example, if the value of your property is $180,000, this number is multiplied by the tax rate (.0213) to determine a tax bill of $3,834.00.

 What creates market value?

The citizens establish market value through their ongoing transactions of buying and selling property. It is the duty of the assessors to study these sales transactions and appraise properties accordingly. The City's valuations are audited annually by the State of Maine to establish how much the total valuation varies from market value.

 What causes property values to change?

The most frequent cause of value change is a change in the general real estate market.  As demand for property goes up, prices tend to go up.  As demand decreases, so do prices.

An individual property can also change in value due to changes to the property itself. If something is added, such as a garage, bedroom, or pool, the value increases.  On the other hand, fire demolition, or depreciation from poor maintenance can decrease value. 

Sometimes external economic forces can also change value.  For example, if a major employer leaves town it tends to depress the local economy and thus property values.  In another example, homes that have always been on a dirt road will increase in value if the road is improved and paved, creating better access.  Times of general inflation also drive up property values.