The Cumberland County Commissioners appoint a County Board of Assessment Review (BAR) to hear tax abatement appeals for those municipalities in Cumberland County that do not have a local board of assessment review. Currently, the BAR hears appeals for the towns of Baldwin, Bridgton, Casco, Frye Island, Harpswell, Harrison, Naples, New Gloucester, Pownal and Sebago. The seven (7) member board is comprised of volunteers who serve without compensation.
The BAR is guided by Title 36 M.R.S.A. § 844-M.
Instructions for Applicants: In order for the BAR to consider a case following a deemed or actual denial by the local Assessor(s), the law requires that you present the BAR with a complete application. Your completed application must be submitted to the BAR within sixty (60) days of the local Assessor(s)’ decision in order for the appeal to be heard by the BAR.
Contact the address below for a paper application form. All lengthy supporting information (e.g., appraisal reports) must be submitted to the BAR at the time of application or at least fourteen (14) days before the hearing date. The County will mail a copy of the taxpayer’s completed application materials to the Assessor(s) of the Town in which the property is located. Click here for the BAR Instructions to the Application.
Fees: There currently is no application filing fee.
Meeting Information: The BAR meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are held in the Peter J. Feeney Conference Room at the Cumberland County Courthouse, First Floor Annex, 142 Federal Street, Portland, Maine. The applicant or a representative should plan to attend the hearing and be prepared to discuss the application. If other arrangements are necessary, please so notify the BAR at the time of application. The BAR will schedule a hearing on the appeal within a reasonable time. You will be notified of the hearing date on your application.
Burden of Proof: Note that the Maine Supreme Court has held in tax abatement cases that in order to prevail, the taxpayer must prove one of three things: (1) The judgment of the Assessor was irrational or so unreasonable in light of the circumstances that the property is substantially overvalued and an injustice results; (2) There was unjust discrimination; or (3) The assessment was fraudulent, dishonest or illegal. Only if one of these three things is proven by the taxpayer, is the assessment said to be “manifestly wrong.” Please be sure to address these standards carefully on the Application Form.
For More Information: Contact Barbara Buckley, County Executive Secretary/Deputy Clerk via email, by calling 207-871-8380 or by US Post - Cumberland County Board of Assessment Review 142 Federal Street, Portland, ME 04101.
BAR Members Bob Konczal (Chair), Clint Swett(Secretary), Peter Coyne, Ned Kitchel, James Mason, Elizabeth McFadden, and Gerry Daigle.