MARCH 25, 2020 UPDATE: The City is delaying the timeline for the revaluation notices, which were scheduled to be sent in May. The notices will be sent at a time to be determined in the future.
As real estate professionals with a broad knowledge and understanding of complex property value appraisals, it is common for clients and colleagues to reach out to us with questions around home and property assessments. Most recently we have been fielding numerous questions from anxious property owners looking to better understand Portland’s 2020 Citywide Property Revaluation Project which ultimately affects 2021 tax bills.
As President of the Southern Maine Landlord Association, Brit Vitalius, has received a number of calls from concerned property owners. “Many people are assuming that their tax bill will increase dramatically and in proportion to their increase in property value. While we expect to see some painful increases, others will actually go down. This is because the total dollars collected through property taxes in Portland is the same as last year.* The purpose of the reval is to reset the relative value of properties to each other, not to increase everyone’s taxes.
The process started in July 2019 when the City’s Assessor’s Office sent surveys to commercial property owners asking for income and expense data and a residential mailing followed shortly after in mid-August. Additionally, 26,200 photographs of properties were gathered as part of an initial data collection.
Maine law requires all municipalities to conduct a general valuation at least once every ten years and according to City Assessor Christopher Huff, the last time a revaluation was done was in 2004. “I don’t think anyone would argue the city and market has changed since 2004 and it is time to do the process again,” Huff said.
An appraisal and taxation are two separate issues
A Revaluation does not necessarily mean your tax bill will change
Property taxes are levied according to a mill rate
If your home value has increased, property taxes may not necessarily go up
A neighboring foreclosure or distressed sale is not an indicator that an assessed value should be lowered
Written notice of your 2020 assessed value will be mailed to all property owners in late May 2020
Homeowners have the right to appeal. Once FY21 taxes are committed, taxpayers have 185 days to appeal.
There are tax relief programs available for those who qualify
The City does not collect additional revenues or tax dollars from a Revaluation
GET ALL THE FACTS
The City has done a thorough job of providing plenty of detailed information about the Revaluation including a general FAQ page to answer basic questions and concerns, a dedicated Revaluation Project website, and a comprehensive online Citizens’ Guide to Revaluation. One important detail to note, the only issue the Assessor's Office can address is the assessed value and encourage property owners to ask, “what was the market value of your property on April 1, 2020?.”
We hope this information has been helpful. For a complete look at the Revaluation check out 2020 Revaluation Project - Revalue Portland!