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    Assessing Department

    The Tax Assessor is responsible for discovering, describing, and determining property value of all real and personal property subject to property taxation

    Assessing Department Information & Statistics

    By Charter and city code, the Assessor is appointed by the City Manager. The Assessor must be certified by the State of Maine, Bureau of Revenue Service as being a fully certified assessor. The Tax Assessor is responsible for discovering, describing, and determining property value of all real and personal property subject to property taxation, and must comply with Maine State Statutes, primarily to MRSA § 36. The Assessor's records contain prior ownership information, building characteristics, selling prices, copies of deeds, tax maps, as well as aerial photographs. The city maintains these records to enable appropriate assessment of properties for tax purposes. By law, the assessor is required to conduct ratio studies annually to maintain an accurate assessment of city values.

    All of the actions of the Assessing Department set the value of the city for both real and personal property in a fair and equitable manner to distribute the tax burden. Nearly everyone feels the burden of paying taxes, either directly or indirectly. Therefore, it is important to demonstrate both an equitable and understandable system for determining property value and the true costs of government, which are the basis for property tax action. Local property taxes generate the income used to help finance and support all aspects of the city including:

    • Schools/Education
    • Public Safety – Police, Fire & Ambulance
    • Library
    • Roads & other infrastructure repairs
    • Harbor/waterfront, parks & recreation
    • Solid waste management
    • City Hall services
    • County services

    For property owners the one or two large property tax payments each year feel more painful than sales tax, which is paid in small amounts every time you make a purchase, or income tax, which is paid weekly or biweekly in payroll deductions. Therefore, it’s important for property owners to understand how their tax rate (or mil rate) is determined in order to better articulate the value of services their tax dollars buy. Property tax is applied to the value of properties by April 1st each year. Maine law requires the tax assessor to determine property value as accurately and equitably as possible based on its “just value” or fair market value. This is determined through the following:

    1. Cost approach - what the building replacement or reproduction new minus the depreciation appropriate to the property.
    2. Market data/sales approach - estimating the market value of a given property by comparison with other similar properties in the same vicinity, which have sold recently on the open market. Differences in the properties must be taken into account.
    3. Income approach - used in the valuation of investment properties and other similar properties and utilizes the net income generated by the property to develop a value.

    Each mil on the property tax rate represents $1.00 in taxes for every $1,000 in property value. Therefore, if your home is valued at $150,000 and the mil rate is $20, your tax bill will be $3,000. If the mil rate were $15 you would pay $2,250.

    While determining the value of property and the tax rate may seem straight forward there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration including:

    • Personal property – machinery, equipment, computers, furniture, fixtures, etc. owned by businesses that are subject to tax but may be exempted or reimbursed through the State Government BETE & BETR programs.
    • Tax exemptions – including the homestead exemption, veteran exemption, widow, widower, minor child or widowed parent of a veteran exemption, blind person’s exemption.
    • All of the functions deed transfers, updating of owner information, exemptions, sales ratio analysis all provide the data to be able to complete an equitable and just valuation of real and personal property in the city.

    When it comes to generating income for the City of Rockland, the Assessing Department is the backbone. If the valuations are too low or too high, it could lead to many significant issues in the city. This would impact tax collection, liens, tax payer contact info, state valuation, reimbursement of BETE, homestead, veterans and all other exemptions. In the event that the valuations were deemed indefensible, it would create litigation that is costly and time consuming. As an example in this past year there was an abatement request for over $2.5 million. A month of research and requesting supporting documentation, answering emails, meetings etc. was put into the refutation of the request, which the City successfully defended.

    Fair market value of property is the only method that the city has to apportion the costs of local government, schools and county government fairly.

    Rockland-Mil-Rate-chart
    • New online data base that works in conjunction with the Code Enforcement office data to give very detailed property information online for anyone to use
    • Successfully defended our assessment against appeals from Wal-Mart and Ocean State Job Lot
    • Updated 316 real estate transfers including tax maps
    • Successfully transitioned assessing staff through changeover
    • Conduct numerous sales ratio studies to see how the city was assessed in previous years. This will allow decisions to be made on valuations and/or changes for the year.

    City of Rockland Tax Information

    Tax Year July 1st to June 30th
    Assessment Date April 1st
    Commitment Date 8/14/2017
    Town Valuation  $778,147,200
    Town Levy $17,337,721
    Tax Rate $22.28/$1000 of assessed valuation
    Interest Rate 7%
    Certified Ratio 100%
    Due Dates 9/22/2017 & 3/2/2018
    Appeals Deadline 185 days from Commitment Date

    Alerts & Announcements

    There are no current alerts or announcements

    Upcoming & Current Events

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    Latest Assessing Department News

    Assessing Department FAQs

    How can I find out how much the property taxes are on a specific property?

    You can view or download specific property tax information by viewing files within the ‘Tax Bills‘ folder in the Assessing Department’s Document Library.

    How can I get information on property cards?

    You can easily access property cards via the City’s online property and zoning database, which contains all property cards and property data.

    How do I find the Assessed value of a property?

    This information can be found on property cards within the online property and zoning database.

    How is my tax bill figured?

    Each property owner’s responsibility for their part of the town’s annual budget is assigned to them according to the value of their property. This “share” is calculated by multiplying their individual property’s valuation by the tax rate. For example, if the value of your property is $150,000, this number is multiplied by the tax rate (.017) to determine a tax bill of $2,550.

    How is the tax rate established?

    The City Council and School Board approve annual budgets to pay for services in the coming year. The tax rate is calculated by dividing the amount needed to be raised (the budget, net of other revenues) by the town’s total assessed property value.

    For example: $13,000,000 to be raised / $700,000,000 total value of all taxable properties in town = $.017 tax rate. Thus each dollar value of property would be assessed $.017; or, as more commonly expressed, property would be assessed at $17.00 per thousand. (These numbers are for the purpose of an example only).

    How much do I owe in property taxes?

    To find out how much you owe in property taxes please contact the City’s Tax Collector.

    How much is my excise tax?

    To find out how much you owe in excise taxes please contact the City’s Tax Collector.

    How will improving my home by adding a deck, extension, etc. increase its value?

    There are a number of factors used to determine how improvements to your home will impact its tax assessed value. Some of the following include:

    • Square footage of improvements
    • Replacement cost
    • Installation cost

    For more specific information on how planned improvements may impact your property value we recommend you set up an appointment with the Assessor.

    If the Assessor asks to view the interior of my home, must I let him or her in?

    No. You may either decline or ask to set up an appointment for another time that is convenient to you.

    May the town grant real estate tax exemptions or tax reductions to selected properties for purposes it deems useful?

    No. In Article 9 section 9 of the State constitution we find that “the legislature shall never, in any manner, suspend or surrender the power of taxation”. This has been widely interpreted by the courts as meaning that only the legislature can add or remove rules for real estate taxation. Having said this, the State does provide a few vehicles for reducing one’s taxes, for example the Tree Growth program or the Farm and Open Space program. Also, the town could purchase the property in question and thus make it exempt from taxation (this does have the effect of raising everyone else’s taxes by removing the property from the tax roll.)

    What causes property values to change?

    The most frequent cause of value change is a change in the general real estate market. As demand for property goes up, prices tend to go up. As demand decreases, so do prices.

    An individual property can also change in value due to changes to the property itself. If something is added, such as a garage, bedroom, or pool, the value increases. On the other hand, fire, demolition, or depreciation from poor maintenance can decrease value.

    Sometimes external economic forces can also change value. For example, if a major employer leaves town it tends to depress the local economy and thus property values. In another case, homes that have always been on a dirt road will increase in value if the road is improved and paved, creating better access. Times of general inflation also drive up property values.

    What creates market value?

    The citizens establish market value through their ongoing transactions of buying and selling property. It is the duty of the assessor to study these sales transactions and appraise properties accordingly.

    What guidelines must the Assessor follow?

    Property tax administration is guided by the State Constitution, Title 36 of the Maine Statutes, and a body of case law that interprets these Statutes. Assessment practice is NOT guided by local ordinance. The Assessor is charged with establishing a list of all properties in town and estimating their market value.
    For more information on State property tax law, visit http://janus.state.me.us/revenue/

    What if I think my taxes are too high?

    The amount of one’s tax bill is determined by the size of the budget, which is established by the Council and the School Board. The Assessor does not determine the budget or collect the taxes.

    On the other hand, the property owner’s proportionate responsibility for that budget is determined by one’s property valuation. If the owner believes that the current value placed on their property is inaccurate, unfair, or overvalued relative to the current real estate market, they may take the following steps, in order:

    • Review the property record card (available in the Assessor’s office or online) to assure the accuracy of its data
    • Check sale prices of similar homes in the area
    • Provide evidence to the Assessor that the property is overvalued
    • Request a valuation review by the Assessor
    • Make a formal abatement request if not satisfied by the Assessor
    • Make a formal appeal to the local Board of Assessment Review.
    What is a homestead exemption?

    The homestead exemption is a Main State program that provides a measure of property tax relief for certain individuals that have owned homestead property in Maine for at least 12 months and make the property they occupy on April 1 their permanent residence.  Property owners would receive an exemption of $15,000 on the tax assessed value.  For more information please visit Maine Revenue Services: http://www.maine.gov/revenue/faq/homestead_faq.html

    When are property taxes due?

    The due dates are set each year, usually the second Friday of October, December, March, and June. Each property owner pays part of his or her bill by each of these dates.

    Where can I find the City of Rockland Tax Maps?

    You can find all of our tax maps for viewing, downloading and printing on the Rockland Tax Maps page.

    Why are my taxes so high?

    The City Council, School Board and County Commissioners approve annual budgets to pay for services in the coming year. The tax rate is calculated by dividing the amount needed to be raised (the budget, net of other revenues) by the town’s total assessed property value.

    Why does the Assessor need to visit my property?

    The Assessor visits properties to assure the accuracy of the data on the property record cards, which are used to formulate each assessment.

    Why is the assessed value of my property so high in comparison to how much I paid for it?

    There are a lot of factors that are considered when determining the tax assessed value of a property including the fair market value, the overall quality of the property, property values, square footage, home features and market conditions. Many of these calculations are computerized and based on real estate data in the neighborhood and surrounding area. However, Rockland’s Assessing Department performs fieldwork annually to verify information that impacts property values, such as new buildings and property improvements.

    For more information specific to how the value of your property has been calculated please contact the Assessor.

    Assessing Department Documents & Forms

    Here are a list of some of the commonly used Assessing Department documents, forms & maps. Note that you can also obtain these forms directly from the Assessing Department. If you do not find the document or form you are looking for, please feel free to call us (207) 594-0303 or request your document online.

    About Rockland Assessing Department

    The Tax Assessor is responsible for discovering, describing, and determining property value of all real and personal property subject to property taxation, and must comply with Maine State Statutes, primarily to MRSA § 36. The Assessor's records contain prior ownership information, building characteristics, selling prices, copies of deeds, tax maps, as well as aerial photographs. The city maintains these records to enable appropriate assessment of properties for tax purposes. By law, the assessor is required to conduct ratio studies annually to maintain an accurate assessment of city values.

    In addition the assessor is required to provide the State Tax Assessor with a list of land values, buildings values, and other improvements, along with a statement as to the percentage of current just value that the assessments are based on, no later than November 1st of each year or within 30 days after the commitment of taxes. The tax assessment ratio certified by the Assessor must be accurate within 20% of the last state valuation.

    Contact the Assessing Department

    You can contact the Assessing Department using the details below or by completing the online form.
    Office hours: Monday — Friday8:00am –  4:30pm (Closed public holidays)

    (207) 594-0303
    Assessing Department Office

    Rockland City Hall, 270 Pleasant Street, Rockland, Maine 04841
    Get directions

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