New York's STAR Tax Relief Filing Deadline Is March 1

New Yorkers may currently be focusing on their income taxes, however the upcoming year's school taxes cannot be forgotten.  While it may seem as though school taxes are a thing of the future, the reality is that the time for New York homeowners to minimize their school tax burdens is now. The deadline for applying for school tax savings through New York's STAR program is March 1st.

New York's School Tax Relief (STAR) Exemption allows qualifying New York-resident homeowners to save several hundred dollars on their school taxes. There are two types of STAR Exemptions: (1) The Basic STAR Exemption, which exempts the first $30,000.00 of a qualifying home's full value for taxing purposes; and (2) the Enhanced STAR Exemption, which exempts the first $65,300.00.   Not all New York homeowners can qualify for the savings provided by the STAR Exemption; New York State has imposed strict eligibility guidelines to be enforced by Tax Assessors statewide.

First, The STAR Exemption can only be applied to owner-occupied, primary residences (includes but is not limited to houses, condos, manufactured homes, and even mixed-use apartment buildings in which the owner resides).  This means secondary/vacation homes and non-owner occupied investment properties are disqualified from the Exemption and are ineligible for school tax savings.

The remaining eligibility requirements depend on the applicable type of STAR Exemption:

Basic:  combined income of resident owners and owners' spouses  is $500,000.00 or less.

Enhanced: At least one owner is 65-years old and the combined income of all owners and/or resident owners' spouses is $83,300.00 or less.

Do you meet the above eligibility requirements for one of the STAR Exemptions? Time is running out to complete and file your application. While applications can be mailed, it is highly recommended that you visit your Local Assessor's office in person to answer any questions that the office may have and to make sure you've provided adequate documentation with your application.

What will you need to provide to the Assessor to prove your meeting the eligibility requirements for the STAR Exemption?  Each Assessor will approach the eligibility process differently, but the following are safe bets:

-fully completed application form, RP-425 (access here: http://www.tax.ny.gov/pdf/current_forms/orpts/rp425_fill_in.pdf)

-Photo ID

-proof of ownership: Deed; HUD statement from closing; prior tax bill in your name

-proof of owner-occupancy/primary residency at subject premises: Utility Bill; Cable Bill; vehicle registration; voter/post office registration.

Article written by Joel Patch, Esq., associate attorney at Hinman, Howard & Kattell, LLP.  Mr. Patch can be reached via email at jpatch@hhk.com or by telephone at 607-723-5341.

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