2017-04-13 / Letters

Tax day reminders

Legislative Lowdown
by Rep. Martin Grohman

This year, even if you don’t normally file a Maine tax return because you have no tax liability, you should consider it. That’s because two new tax provisions, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Property Tax Fairness Credit are refundable credits, meaning you can get money back even if you don’t owe any taxes.

Those are just two examples. The Legislature worked hard last year to even out the tax code and make it more fair across the board, especially for low income filers, parents with kids in college and retirees including our military retirees. In addition to the credits mentioned above, there are several other positive changes for the 2016 tax year (this information courtesy of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, and as always, this is not a complete list, and everyone’s situation is different). Notably, the standard deduction has nearly doubled from 2015, meaning that the amount of income that is subject to income tax is reduced. Military retirement benefits, including survivor benefits, are now exempt from Maine income tax. A refundable Sales Tax Fairness Credit, intended to offset the impact of sales taxes on low-income and middle-income filers, is available (this can help you get back up to $180 per household in sales tax if you qualify). Plus, up to 25 percent of the applicable percentage of adult dependent care expenses – such as those for adult day care, hospice and respite care – can be deducted. Finally, a program that awards tax credits to recent college grads who choose to live and work in Maine has been expanded. This is commonly referred to as the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit, and now applies to certain graduates of non-Maine colleges and universities; to individuals obtaining a graduate degree from a Maine college or university after 2015, and to individuals serving on a vessel at sea. In addition, the credit is now refundable for individuals earning an associate degree.

You can also call 2-1-1, check with CA$H Maine or AARP for tax preparation help. We all get an extra day of reprieve this year thanks to Patriots Day, so taxes are due April 18. I’m always working to improve the way our taxes work with a view to making them more fair as well as grow Maine’s economy. Check in with me with suggestions at 283-1476.

Rep. Martin Grohman (D-Biddeford) is serving his second term in the Maine Legislature. Outside the legislature, he is chairman of the Solid Waste Commission in Biddeford, and the owner of a small company called Hellocycle which does alkaline battery recycling by mail.

Return to top