The State of Maine has four "current use" programs which offer the property owner a reduction in their assessed value: Farmland Tax Law, Open Space, Tree Growth and Working Waterfront.
All four programs are available to the property owner through an application process with the local municipality. Applications must be filed on or before April 1st.
Certain criteria must be met to be eligible for each program and any future change in the use of the land will cause disqualification resulting in a penalty.
There is no minimum acreage requirement with this program. However, minimum areas and setbacks must be excluded from classification.
The tract must be preserved or restricted in use to provide a public benefit. Benefits recognized include public recreation, scenic resources, game management and wildlife habitat.
The municipal assessor is responsible for determining the value placed on open space land. In the determination of that value, the assessor must consider the sale price that a particular open space parcel would command in the open market if it were to remain in the particular category or categories of open space land for which it qualifies.
If an assessor is unable to determine the value of a parcel of open space land based on the valuation method above, the assessor may use the alternative valuation method. Using this method, the assessor reduces the fair market value of an open space land parcel by the cumulative percentage reduction for which the land is eligible according to certain categories. Those categories are as follows:
- Ordinary Open Space - 20% reduction
- Permanently Protected - 30% reduction
- Forever Wild - 20% reduction
- Public Access - 25% reduction
In other words, if the property met all of the above requirements, the owner would see a cumulative reduction of up to 95% on the classified land.
If property no longer qualifies as open space, a penalty will be assessed using the same methodology as is used for removal from Tree Growth classification.
See Bulletin 21 and 36, M.R.S. ?? 1101 - 1121.
Contact Open Space Current Use Program