Assessing Procedures

Ownership of property is set as of April 1 of each year as prescribed by State Law.  The ownership information may change in the Assessing Department during the year as we process the information that we receive after April 1st, but for taxation purposes, the ownership does not change until the following April 1st.

Example:  If you purchase your home on May 1, the tax bill will be issued in the name of the previous owner/s.  The reminder notice, sent by the Tax Collector, will also still have the previous owner/s name.  If the Assessing Department receives notification of a sale of property before we send the commitment roll to the tax collector, we will update the record to reflect that the bill is being sent in care of the new owner/s.  If you are the previous owner, and receive the tax bill in error, please forward it to the new owner.

If you purchased a property after April 1st, email or call the office at 207.989.7560 and let us know that you are the new owner and that you wish to have the tax bill sent directly to you, along with your mailing address.  You may call the Tax Office 207.989.7060 to request a copy of the tax bill.

If your name changes, we require written authorization from you in order to change our records for tax purposes.   Please complete the Name Change Authorization Form and return it to our office.

If your mailing address has changed please fill out the Request for Address Change Form and return it to our office.

What is Taxable?

Personal Property is taxable in the State of Maine.  It consists of furnishings, fixtures, machinery, equipment, telecommunications, computers, trailers, box trailers, signs and other heavy equipment, etc.   As prescribed by State Law a Declaration of value is sent each year to the business owners. This Business Personal Property Declaration Form must be completed and returned to the Assessing Department. Failure to return this form may bar the right to appeal the assessment.

If you close, move or sell your business or apt. building after April 1st, you remain liable for the entire yearly bill until the following April 1.

Real Estate consists of land and any improvements to the land.   We keep a property record card of each property in the city.  The record consists of the owners name and mailing address, map/lot number, street location, sale price, sale date, sale type, zone designation, neighborhood, land and building data if applicable.  It will indicate the land valuation, building valuation, acreage of the property along with a sketch and picture of the buildings and the amount of any approved exemption/s and indicate the total valuation for tax purposes.

Demolition permits and building permits are required by City Ordinance and can be obtained from the Code Enforcement Office.  We receive copies of these permits and will follow up by inspecting the property for assessment purposes.

If a property is under construction on April 1st, the assessor or appraiser will inspect the property to determine the percent of completion.  The assessment for that tax year will be calculated based only on what is completed as of April 1st.  The property will be revisited each year until the construction is complete.

If demolition occurs to a house or other structure after April 1st, the assessed value of that property remains taxable until the next April 1st.

The data on the property record cards is gathered from deeds, inspection of the property, subdivision plans, sales, survey plans etc.  Information such as type of structure, class, quality of construction, sq. footage, story height, type of heating, any additional characteristics are gathered and then entered into a mass appraisal system “VISION”.  The valuation calculated is based on the information entered into the system and the corresponding cost schedules.

The Assessor is an agent of the State, governed by the laws of the State of Maine, City Ordinances and City Policies.

The Assessor is also the E-911 Addressing Officer for the City of Brewer.

A large set of tax maps is available for review in the Assessing Department.  Tax maps can also be found here. A list of the streets for easier reference to the corresponding tax map can be found here.

When a Brewer property sells, we receive a copy of the deed from the Penobscot County Registry of Deeds.  We also receive a copy of the Transfer Tax Declaration from the State which documents the selling price of the property.   The information from these documents is entered into the assessment program.  Once all the sales information is received through April 1st, we perform our sales ratio studies.  The information from these studies indicate what neighborhoods are selling above or below assessed values, and we can make adjustments accordingly to keep property values at prescribed State levels.  Annual Sales Ratio Studies are required by and provided to the State of Maine Revenue Services.

Appeals Process

If a taxpayer feels that the assessment of their property is incorrect, they have 185 days from the date of commitment in which to file a written application for abatement.  A separate application should be filed for each property.  The appeals process is governed by M.R.S.A. Title 36 § 841-849. The burden of proof is upon the taxpayer to provide proof that the assessment is manifestly wrong.

The abatement application can be found here

Additional, useful information can be found in Property Tax Bulletin #10.

MRSA Title 36 Section 708 Assessors to value real estate and personal property - The assessors and the chief assessor of a primary assessing area shall ascertain as nearly as may be the nature, amount and value as of the first day of each April of the real estate and personal property subject to be taxed, and shall estimate and record separately the land value, exclusive of buildings, of each parcel of real estate.