The State of Maine has four "current use" programs which offer the property owner a reduction in their assessed value:
- Farm Land
- Open Space
- Tree Growth
- Working Waterfront
In the farmland program, the property owner is required to have at least 5 contiguous acres in their tract of land. The land must be used for farming, agriculture, horticulture and can include woodland and wasteland. Additionally, the tract must contribute at least $2,000 gross income from farming activities, each year.
The department of Agriculture prepares a valuation guideline for the municipalities, which results from studies based on suggested value using a correlation from income stream and market data attributable to agricultural enterprise.
If the property no longer qualifies as a farmland tract, then a penalty would be assessed. The penalty is an amount equal to the taxes that would have been paid in the last five years if it had not been in the farmland classification, less the taxes that were originally assessed, plus any interest on that balance. See below for application and publication.
No minimum acreage requirement with this program. However, minimum areas and setbacks must be excluded from classisfication.
The tract must be preserved or restricted in use to provide a public benefit. Benefits recognized include public recreation, scenic resources, game management or wildlife habitat.
If the property no longer qualifies as Open Space, then a penalty would be assessed using the same methodology as is used for removal from Tree Growth classification. See below for application and publication.
This program provides for the land owner with at least 10 acres of forested land used for commercial harvesting. A Forest Management and Harvest Plan must be prepared and a sworn statement to that affect submitted with the application. Applications include a map of the parcel indicating the forest type breakdown as well as all other areas not classified as tree growth.
Each year, the State Tax Assessor determins the 100% valuation per acre for each forest type by cound and by year. If the forestland no longer meets the criteria of eligibility or the landowner opts to withdraw from three growth classification, then a penalty would be determined. Depending upon the length of time that the parcel has been enrolled., the penalty would be an amount between 20% and 30% of the difference between the 100% tree growth value and the fair market value. See below for application and publication.
Working waterfront land means a parcel or portion of a parcel of aland abutting tidal waters or is located in the intertidal zone (located between the high and low water mark) the use of which is more than 50% related to providing access to or in support of the conduct of commercial fishing (including commercial aquaculture) activities.
Working waterfront land used predominantly (more than 90%) as working waterfront is eligible for a 20% reduction from just value. Working waterfront land used primarily (more than 50%) as working waterfront is eligible for a 10% reduction from just value. Working waterfront land that is permanently proptected from a change in use through deeded restriction is eligible for the aforementioned reduction plus an additional 30% reduction.
If the property no longer qualifies as Working Waterfront, then a penalty would be assessed using the same methodology as is used for removal from Tree Growth classification.