Among the documents maintained by the department are real property records, property maps, ownership records and sales information. Use our online database to search real property listings in Portland.
The assessor is required by law to "ascertain as nearly as may be the nature, amount, and value as of the first day of April of the real estate and personal property subject to be taxed." This means that if on the 1st day of April you own property that is subject to taxation, then you are liable to pay those taxes to your municipality.
The Maine Constitution says that property shall be assessed at its "just value." The courts have interpreted "just value" to mean fair market value or in other words "what the property is worth." A property’s worth is commonly looked at as "what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller" for a particular piece of property. For more information visit our helpful online section on how property is appraised.
To implement the constitutional requirement that real estate be assessed at its "just value," and in recognition of the tremendous difficulty and costs to a municipality to maintain a "just value" assessment, the Maine Legislature enacted assessing standards that municipalities must meet. One standard is that the total local valuation of taxable property should not fall below 70% of fair market value. Another standard is that the quality ratings of assessments not exceed 20 (which basically mean that the difference in valuation between similar properties should never be greater than 20%).
Revaluations are commonly used when a community falls below the assessing standards. During a revaluation, all property in the municipality is reviewed and assessments are adjusted to their fair market value.