Walmart, Lowe’s among big retailers scheming to avoid Maine property taxes


In a scheme that could lead to millions of dollars in lost revenue for Maine communities, behemoth retailers like Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot are looking to bypass state property taxes by arguing that towns should calculate the value of their stores as if they were “dark,” or closed.

According to a report from the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) published Thursday, this argument, referred to as the “dark store theory,” has been successfully used in other states. When paired with the threat of legal action that could bankrupt a small community, these multinational companies often end up succeeding in paying far less in property taxes.

MECEP policy analyst and report author Sarah Austin likened it to “arguing that a single-family home should be assessed as if the neighborhood had fallen on hard times and everyone had moved out, even if the home today is in the most popular part of town.”

Click here to read the full story, first published on November 2, 2019, in Beacon.