NEW YORK, NY -- The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is alerting new homeowners—and those who recently purchased their homes—to a change in the School Tax Relief (STAR) program. These homeowners—including all who purchased their primary residence after August 1, 2015—must register for STAR with New York State instead of applying with their assessor. Property owners who bought their home before May 1, 2014, will continue to receive the STAR exemption and don’t need to take any action.
New STAR applicants are eligible for the STAR credit rather than the STAR property tax exemption, which they may have received for previously owned properties. Homeowners will receive a STAR check instead of an exemption on their school property tax bill. The eligibility rules are the same.
Because STAR is the only property tax exemption that is funded by New York State, it’s more efficient for the program to be directly administered by the NYS Tax Department. Under the exemption program, taxpayers had to apply with their assessor’s office and then register with New York State. To receive the STAR credit, taxpayers must only register with New York State.
Homeowners who register by July 1 will receive a STAR check in September, which will be worth the same amount as the exemption. Those who register after July 1 will receive a check later. Homeowners in Nassau and Suffolk counties who register by July 1 will receive their STAR checks in October and December, respectively, because Long Island has later school tax billing dates.
“By taking just a few minutes to register online or by phone for the new STAR credit, new STAR applicants will receive the benefit each year as long as they’re eligible,” said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone. “Be sure to register by July 1 to receive your check when your school taxes are due.”
Who must register?
• Those who bought their home after August 1, 2015, must register with the Tax Department.
• Those who bought their home between May 1, 2014, and August 1, 2015, must register if:
o they bought their home after the 2015 STAR application deadline, or
o they have never applied for the STAR benefit on their primary residence.
Owners of homes purchased before May 1, 2014, don’t need to take any action—they will continue to receive the STAR exemption on their property tax bills.
Easy registration online or by phone
Register at the Tax Department’s website. For those without Internet access, telephone registration is also available at (518) 457-2036 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
No change for current STAR and Enhanced STAR exemption recipients
Current Basic and Enhanced STAR recipients will keep their exemptions as long as they continue to own their current home. Enhanced STAR is available to income-qualified homeowners 65 and older. For 2016, the Enhanced STAR income limit is $84,550.
Current Enhanced STAR recipients who aren’t enrolled in the Income Verification Program must, however, continue to file a renewal application with their local assessor each year.