AUGUSTA — The forms for older citizens to apply for a freeze on their property taxes have arrived at municipal offices across the state.

Applicants do not have to provide proof of age to show that they qualify for the program but some communities such as Rockland are asking for proof of age. A state identification card, a driver’s license, or passport would be acceptable.

The program is the Property Tax Stabilization for Senior Citizens. The program was approved by the Maine Legislature in the past session.

To be eligible for the program, one of the homeowners of the residence must be turning 65 years old as of April 1 of the upcoming year. The person must have owned a homestead in Maine for at least 10 years. The homeowner must be a Maine resident. Forms must be submitted to the municipal offices by Dec. 1.

The taxes would freeze beginning in 2023.

There is no income guidelines to qualify for the tax freeze.

And the frozen taxes go with the homeowner. If a person sells the primary homestead and buys a new primary homestead, even with a far greater value, the amount of taxes would remain the same as the previous home.

The bill was approved without a rollcall vote in the House and 31-3 in the state Senate.

State Rep. Ann Matlack, D-St. George, voted against it in Committee.

“I voted against LD 290 in the Taxation Committee because it was incomplete, it did not target low- to middle-income families and it had the potential to burden both our communities and the State with a huge “fiscal note”; i.e., the cost to pay for the bill,” Matlack said.

She also questioned whether the state would pay 100 percent of the cost to municipalities.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills did not sign the bill which became law without her signature.

During a public hearing in May 2021, the Maine Municipal Association and the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services voiced concern about the Constitutionality of the legislation. Kate Dufour of the Maine Municipal Association pointed out the Maine Constitution mandates taxes upon real and personal estate “shall be apportioned and assessed equally according to the just value thereof.”

“Directing assessors to essentially cap a qualifying resident’s tax, while others are required to pay the full amount, strikes municipalities as treating similar property owners differently,” Dufour stated in her testimony. “Furthermore, to the extent that municipal officials support property tax assistance programs, they prefer measures that target relief to taxpayers who are struggling financial to keep up with the burden. Not all senior Maine residents are financially incapable of paying taxes.”

The state will reimburse municipalities for the loss of property taxes created by the freeze.

The legislation estimates the total cost to the state would be $7 million in 2023-2024 and $14 million in 2024-2025.