August is the month that the 2012 Maine Property Tax and Rent Refund applications become available to all Maine residents. The purpose of this program is to help Maine homeowners offset the high cost of property taxes assessed on their primary residences during 2011. Maine residents who paid rent can also apply and receive similar relief.

You may be eligible for this program if you were a Maine resident for All 12 months of 2011, and owned or rented a home for all 12 months of 2011, and occupied that home for at least six months of 2011. Eligibility is based on income for 2011. The limits to file for the general program are $64,950 for a single person and $86,600 for a married couple. Income limits for the senior program (62 or older, or 55 or older if you are disabled) are: $14,700 for a single person and $18,200 for a married couple. Refunds may be as much as $400 for the senior program and $1,600 for the general program. Individuals eligible for both a general program refund and a senior program refund will receive the larger of the two.

Those who pay property taxes or rent an apartment and would like to know if they qualify for a Tax and Rent Refund should call Spectrum Generations at 338-1190. Persons who have filed in the past should automatically receive a new application in the mail during the month of August. Spectrum Generations’ Belfast Center can also mail applications after Aug. 1 or help applicants complete a form in an individual appointment. Applications may also be filed online after Aug. 1 at: http://www.maine.gov/revenue/homepage.html.

Spectrum Generations’ Belfast Center will provide individual appointments to assist with the 2012 Maine Property Tax and Rent Refund application. Two full days in August have been scheduled for this purpose: Wednesday, Aug. 1, and Wednesday, Aug. 15. Call for a half-hour appointment at 338-1190.

People planning to attend should bring information that shows all sources of income for 2011, including Social Security and SSI earnings statements, copies of Railroad Retirement Annuities or Veterans Compensation statements, bank statements showing dividends and interest earned in 2011, or a 2011 Social Security Disability Letter if they were disabled in 2011. Applicants must also provide a copy of their property tax bill for 2011, if it exceeded $2,500. If the applicant’s rent exceeded $7,200, receipts or canceled checks must be provided. Applicant who don’t have rent receipts or canceled checks may bring a letter from their landlord that documents what they paid in 2011.

Spectrum Generations is central Maine’s Area Agency on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Center. For more information, call 800-639-1553 or visit www.spectrumgenerations.org.