New Homeowners 101
Did you just buy a new home or other property in Auburn? Welcome to the City! The Assessing Office is happy to answer any questions you may have about your property assessment. We encourage you to check-in with us to see if and when you qualify for any exemptions, to update your mailing address, or just to familiarize yourself with our department! Here is some information and tips for the new homeowner:
1) Update your mailing address: When you buy a home/property we use the address that was provided on the State Real Estate Transfer Tax Declaration for your mailing address. Most often that mailing address is your old address. Since not all property owners live at the actual property address or may receive mail elsewhere, we do not automatically change your mailing address to the physical address of the property. To assure that the property record is accurate, please fill out the Address Change Form or contact our office for instructions. Here is a link to the form: Address Change Form.
Remember that departments of the City, including the Assessing Office, City Clerk, Tax Collector, Fire and Police may use the mailing address in the property tax record to contact property owners. Our goal is to reach you with important correspondence promptly; you can help by updating your address.
2) Tax Bills are usually mailed to the old owner: We receive a lot of calls and questions about tax bills, many new homeowners request that the bill be sent to them as soon as they purchase their home.
The property tax bill will include a payment stub for September and March. The payments cover the entire fiscal year, July 1 through June 30. Please note that the two payments are not allocated to a specific time period, each payment is simply half of your total bill.
It is important to understand that the party whom owned the property on April 1 is responsible for paying the entire tax bill. This is why we do not send you a new bill as soon as you purchase your home or other property. That said, when properties sell or transfer the buyer and seller usually agree to prorate the taxes in a contract or other agreement. How the parties break it down is a private matter. The City does not get involved in establishing how much each party owes, but a logical method would be to determine a daily or monthly allocation by dividing the total property tax bill by 365 or 12 respectively, etc.
3) Assessment date: Another important date to know is the assessment date. The assessment date is on April 1 every year. This date was established by the Maine Legislature and is law (Title 36 §502). The assessment of your property is based on what existed on April 1. For example, if you own a home on April 1 and build a garage on April 2 you will only be assessed for the home. The garage will only be added to the assessment the following fiscal year. Conversely, if you own a home on April 1 and it is destroyed in a fire on April 2, you will still be assessed for the home as if it is still standing.