Living

Law will help Maine cemeteries with upkeep

AUGUSTA, Maine — A new law will help Maine cemeteries with upkeep and maintenance costs by providing a nonprofit sales and use tax exemption. 

Sponsored by Rep. Joseph Underwood (R-Presque Isle), LD 401, “An Act To Provide a Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Certain Nonprofit Cemeteries,” creates a sales and use tax exemption for an incorporated nonprofit cemetery that is exempt from federal income tax under the United States Internal Revenue Code.

“This new law will help nonprofit cemeteries continue to honor those who have passed away by making more funds available for upkeep and maintenance costs,” Underwood said. “I sponsored this legislation at the request of local cemeteries, including the Green Ridge Cemetery in Caribou. It is a modest gesture that recognizes and supports the work that local cemeteries do in perpetuity with little fanfare.”

 Testimony at the bill’s public hearing indicated that families began depositing funds for “perpetual care” during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The interest from the perpetual care fund was to be used to defer upkeep costs. But in the past 20 years, interest rates have decreased, which reduces cemetery upkeep funding.  

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