DEAR SUN SPOTS: Happy new year to all!

You are such a wealth of information to so many of us. Can you find out why WPOR 101.9 FM on the radio doesn’t have the Sunday morning swap shop any more?

Also those that have been receiving the Maine residents property tax and rent refund have received notices stating that the credit will be available to claim on our 2013 Maine individual income tax form, but if a person doesn’t make enough to fill in the form, how do we put in for the refund?

And is it fair for those that don’t have to file to have to pay $50 to $100 to have the paper filed just to get the refund? Thanks for all the answers you come up with. You are my favorite part of the paper. — Faithful Reader via email

ANSWER: The Big Deal with Ray Terry was canceled. The following was posted online:

“After 42 years on the air, the Big Deal has come to an end. Sunday, Nov. 24, was the last day the Big Deal aired on WPOR. The Internet is now a primary means for buying, selling and trading goods, and most stations have now moved away from this type of programming.”

Sun Spots is not sure she completely understands the second part of your question. It shouldn’t cost you anything to file, as the paperwork is extremely simple if your only income is Social Security or a paycheck. Here is a complete explanation of the program — Maine Revenue offers free help in filling out the form — from Maine.gov:

“The Maine Residents Property Tax and Rent Refund ‘Circuitbreaker’ Program has been repealed as part of the enacted state budget for claims beginning on or after Aug. 1, 2013, and replaced by a refundable Property Tax Fairness Credit that can be claimed on the Maine Individual Income Tax Form.

“The new credit will be available beginning in January 2014 on the 2013 Maine Individual Income Tax Form 1040ME. A worksheet will be included with Form 1040ME to calculate the amount of the credit.

“Homeowners or renters will be eligible who meet all of the following requirements:

* Were Maine residents during any part of the tax year;

* Owned or rented a home in Maine during any part of the tax year and lived in that home during the year;

* Had Maine adjusted gross income of not more than $40,000; and

* Paid property tax on a home in Maine during the tax year that was more than 10 percent of Maine adjusted gross income or paid rent to live in a home or apartment in Maine during the tax year that was more than 40 percent of Maine adjusted gross income.

“Qualified Maine residents can get as much as $300 ($400 if 70 years of age or older).

“To claim the credit, an applicant must file the 2013 Form 1040ME and the Property Tax Fairness Credit Worksheet, which will be available in January 2014.

“Maine Revenue Services will assist applicants to complete Form 1040ME and the Property Tax Fairness Credit Worksheet. For help, call 207-626-8475 weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit Maine Revenue Services at 51 Commerce Drive, Augusta, ME 04330, weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed on state-recognized holidays.

“Forms can be downloaded from the Maine Revenue Services website at www.maine.gov/revenue/forms or by calling 207-624-7894 to request that a form be mailed. Those who filed a Circuitbreaker application on or after Aug. 1, 2012, will receive by mail a Form 1040ME booklet at the end of this year, even if they did not file Form 1040ME last year.”

Residents can also get assistance in filling out the Internal Revenue Service’s 1040 (the EZ form is just like it sounds, very easy) from community groups. (Those that supply that service, please email [email protected])

Also, many people with low incomes are eligible for free electronic filing from the IRS. Visit http://tinyurl.com/qblro43.

These online programs are very easy to understand. They ask questions, you type in the answer and, voila, your taxes are done!

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]


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