Current Use Programs

The State of Maine offers the following "Current Use Programs" which give the property owner a reduction in their assessed value. Applications for all these programs are available at the West Paris Town Office or at the Maine Revenue Services website and must be filed on or before April 1st every year. In order to be eligible each program has certain criteria that must be met and any change in use of the land warrants withdrawal from the program and a penalty is assessed.

 

Tree Growth - 

     This program provided for the landowner with at least 10 acres of forested land who wishes to maintain land for the planting, culture, and continuous harvesting of trees. A Forest Management and Harvest Plan must be prepared and submitted with the application. Applications must include a map of the parcel indicating that forest type breakdown as well as all other areas not classified as tree growth. The 100% valuation per acre for each forest type by county is determined be the State Tax Assessor each year. If the classified parcel no longer meets the criteria of eligibility or the landowner withdraws from the program, a penalty of an amount between 20% and 30% of the difference between the tree growth value and the fair market value will be assessed depending on the amount of time in the program.

 

Farm Land - 

     In the farmland program the land must be used for farming, agriculture, horticulture, and can include woodland and wasteland. At least 5 contiguous acres of land is required and the tract must contribute at least $2,000.00 gross income from farming activities per year in one of the two or three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application. If the property no longer qualifies as farmland or the landowner withdraws from the program then a penalty equal to an amount of taxes that would have been paid in the last five years had it not been in the program, less the taxes that were originally assessed, plus any interest on that balance will be assessed.

 

Open Space - 

     Under this program, no minimum acreage is required and the tract of land must be preserved or restricted in use to provide a public recreation, scenic resources, game management or preserving wildlife habitat. Classified land is valued by reducing the fair markey value in accordance with a cumulative percentage reduction for which the land is eligible according to certain categories.

          1. Ordinary Open Space - 20% reduction

          2. Permanently Protected - 30% reduction

          3. Forever Wild - 20% reduction

          4. Public Access - 25% reduction

      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 the classified parcel no longer meets the criteria of eligibility or the landowner withdraws from the program, a penalty of an amount between 20% and 30% of the difference between the open space value and fair market value will be assessed depending on the amount of time in the program.