It’s no dirty secret that rent is astronomically high in our fair city. Even the Portland Press Herald knows that. Many of us renters are paying far more than we can afford on rent and cutting back in areas (like food, entertainment, and quality of life) to compensate. Unless you have a child, you’re not getting much back on your tax return. So there’s very little financial relief over the year. Ah, but there is one program that might ease renter’s ache: Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Refund Program. Although the highest refund might not pay one month’s rent, it can certainly buy up to a couple months’ worth of groceries.
To qualify, if you don’t have a spouse or dependent, you must not have made more than $74,500 in 2004 (if you have a spouse or dependent, the amount is $99,500), rent paid in 2004 must be more than 20 percent of your income, and you must have been a resident in Maine for the entire year. Roommates can apply, but must do so separately.
For whatever reason, the 2005 eligibility, which are due May 31, 2006, is determined by your 2004 income and living situation. If you didn’t live in Maine for all of 2004, you’ll have to wait until next May to apply, assuming you’ve lived here for all of 2005. The 2006 applications will be available this August. You can download the 2005 application or apply online at https://portalx.bisoex.state.me.us/jav/tnr_prod/. Before you begin, be sure to have your 2004 tax forms handy, along with total rent paid in 2004 and general information like your Social Security number and address. If you have any problems, call 207.626.8475 between 8 am and 5 pm. Good luck, fellow renters.
Renters' rights talk with Green Party legislator John Eder + Pine Tree Legal Services | April 13, 7 pm | Reiche School, Portland | Free
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