PORTLAND (AP) ā€” State authorities say only about half of the estimated 200,000 Maine households eligible apply for a property tax or rent refund that last year averaged nearly $500.

Overall participation in the Maine Resident Property Tax and Rent Refund Program last year was nearly 10 percent lower than it was three years before the recession hit, according to Maine Revenue Services.

Experts tell The Portland Press Herald that people don’t apply for the tax relief program because they don’t know it exists; assume they don’t qualify; find the application form too complicated; or don’t want to deal with Maine Revenue Services.

Maine’s program provides partial refunds to residents for property taxes or rent paid the previous calendar year for people whose property taxes or rent represents a disproportionate amount of their income.

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