PRESS RELEASE: As tax deadline nears, more than $1,000 on the table for low- and moderate-income Mainers

April 2, 2018

Mario Moretto, Communications Director
(207) 620-1101

AUGUSTA, Maine — As the tax filing deadline approaches, tens of thousands of Mainers who don’t owe any income tax could be leaving a substantial amount of money on the table if they don’t file a state return.

Over the years, policymakers have turned to the tax code to provide relief to low- and moderate-income families with refundable tax credits, which can provide a “refund” even to those households who don’t owe any income tax.

The deadline for filing Maine income taxes is Tuesday, April 17. Several refundable tax credits are available to Maine households this year. They include:

The Maine Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC: This credit is based on the federal credit of the same name, which is worth as much as $6,300. The state credit is worth 5 percent of the federal credit, or up to $315. While Maine has had a state EITC on the books for years, it became refundable in 2016, meaning that even if a filer owes no state income tax, they may be eligible for a refund. More than 100,000 Maine families already claim the refundable federal credit, which requires them to file federal income taxes.

The Sales Tax Fairness Credit, or STFC: This credit was created n 2016 to help offset the impact of sales tax increases on low- and moderate-income families contained in the 2015 state budget. This year, households with up to $40,000 in income can claim a credit up to $225. But even households with up to $51,000 in income may be eligible for some STFC benefit.

The Property Tax Fairness Credit, or PTFC: This credit replaced the old “circuit breaker” property tax program that households claimed through a separate filing process. Both the old circuit breaker and the new PTFC reduce property taxes or rent costs for households that pay a disproportionate share of their income in property taxes or rent. Simply put, this credit helps Mainers stay in their homes. However, to claim this credit, which has a maximum value of $600 for individuals under age 65 and $900 for individuals over 65, Maine families must file a state income tax return, online or using the forms Maine Revenue Services provides.

Mainers who need assistance to file their taxes can get free help from CA$H Maine, a coalition of more than 50 organizations that seek to empower Mainers to make the most of their money.