New STAR Registration Deadline Approaching

(August 2013) 

On March 29, 2013 Governor Cuomo signed new legislation that requires all homeowners eligible to receive a Basic STAR (School Tax Assessment Relief) exemption to register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in order to continue to receive future STAR exemptions beginning in 2014.  Please note that new homeowners will be required to register with the state in addition to applying with their local assessor beginning in January.

On August 19, 2013, the Tax Department began accepting online registrations. Online registration requires a "STAR code," the names and social security numbers for all owners of the property and their spouses, and verification of eligibililty. STAR codes and registration instructions will be mailed to all 2.6 million current Basic STAR recipients. Homeowners can also look up their STAR codes online at the Department of Taxation and Finance website (www.tax.ny.gov). Registration can also be completed by calling (518) 457-2036.

Registration must be completed by December 31, 2013 to qualify for the Basic STAR exemption in 2014. Homeowners will not have to re-register every year. The Tax Department will monitor homeowners' eligibility in future years. 

New York provides two types of STAR exemptions for owner-occupied primary residences. The Basic STAR exemption exempts the first $30,000 of the full value of a home from school taxes where the income of the resident owners and their spouses is less than $500,000. The Enhanced STAR exemption provides an increased benefit for senior citizens (65 and older) with qualifying incomes, and exempts the first $63,300 of the full value of a home as of the 2013-14 school tax bills. STAR exemptions apply only to school district taxes, not to property taxes for other purposes.

The new registration requirement applies only to Basic STAR recipients. Senior citizens receiving Enhanced STAR are not required to register with the Tax Department, but must continue to either apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program.

This legislation followed a Tax Department investigation that revealed that some homeowners were receiving the exemption on more than one property. It is intended to protect New Yorkers against the costs of inappropriate or fraudulent STAR exemptions, and includes heightened penalties for intentionally providing misinformation to an assessor and for inappropriate receipt of STAR benefits. 

Questions about the new registration program can be directed to the Department of Taxation and Finance at (518) 457-2036.

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 Article written by Megan E. Curinga, Esq.  For more information please contact Ms. Curinga at 607-723-5341 or by email at mcuringa@hhk.com.

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