The Assessing Office determines the valuation of all properties, real and personal, in the Town of Wells. Real property is basically land and buildings, while personal property is all business equipment, furniture, fixtures, tools, computers, unexcised vehicles, machinery or any other items used in a business, recreational vehicles or truck campers not registered in Maine, and above ground pools, as well as other items.
All properties real and personal are assessed according to the status, condition and ownership on April 1st of each year, in accordance with Maine State Law. Property is assumed to be taxable unless specifically identified as exempt under Maine State Law.
Appointing the Assessor
The Town Assessor is appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The position requires state certification as a Certified Maine Assessor (CMA). The job of Assessor is governed by the State Constitution under Title 36, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated. The practice of assessing is not directed or guided by local ordinances. The Assessor is the property tax administrator, charged with establishing an equitable valuation list of all properties in the Town of Wells, handling tax exemptions, current use programs, and computing the tax commitment.
In the spring of each year, every property in Wells is reviewed for changes. Those properties that have building permits or appear to have had work done on them are inspected. All campgrounds are visited to address new units or removed units. Even exempt properties, though not taxable, are maintained in the assessing records. Transfers of ownership by deed or by bill of sale for personal property are processed by the Assessing Office, as well as all taxpayer address changes.
Available State Programs
State programs that can provide property tax relief, such as Veteran's Property Exemption Program, Maine State Tree Growth Program, Open Space Program, Farmland Program or the Homestead Program, are all applied for and maintained by the Assessing Office. Applications for these programs must be filed with the Assessor by April 1st of the year they will be applied. Visit the Maine Revenue Services for more information about these programs
Tax maps are created and maintained by the Assessing Department and the database for the Wells GIS program is the assessing information. Property data, including size and drawing of buildings, elements within buildings, age, condition and value of buildings, all detached structures such as garages, barns, gazebos, sheds, pools etc, and size, shape, status and value of the land is maintained by the Assessing Office and is updated on an on-going basis.
Assessed values are directly compared to selling prices every year and must be registered with the state annually. The state registered and verified comparison is known as the Certified Ratio and is used to establish the valuation of the Town of Wells each year. It determines what the basis is for any state revenues we may receive and what our portion of the county taxes will be.
Assessments may be disputed and taxpayers may file for an abatement of taxes each year. The time period for written abatement filings are within 185 days of commitment date and would be addressed to the Assessor. The commitment date is the date each fall that the taxes are committed for collection to the Tax Collector. It usually falls in the first week of October.
The municipal government does not prorate taxes. The status, ownership and condition of property as of April 1st is the basis of a tax bill each year. Proration is done between the buyers and sellers of properties. Items or information found in the Assessor's Office:
- Homestead applications
- Land size and information
- Open Space, Tree Growth or Farmland program applications
- Owners of record
- Parcel history
- Professional and friendly atmosphere
- Property tax cards
- Street numbers
- Structure information
- Tax information
- Tax maps
- Transfers of property declarations
- Valuation of property
- Veteran's Exemption applications