STAR Program Registration Requirement - Ten Frequently Asked Questions

(September 20, 2013) 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NEW STAR PROGRAM REGISTRATION REQUIREMENT

 1. Is registration the same thing as submitting an application for a STAR exemption? 

 No. Legislation was passed this year requiring those seeking a STAR exemption to register with the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance in addition to having an application filed with the local tax assessor.

 2. I have received a STAR exemption in previous years. Do I need to register to receive my 2013 exemption? 

 No. Registration is required only to receive the exemption in 2014 and subsequent years. 

 3. Do I have to register with the state every year to get my STAR exemption? 

 Homeowners will not have to re-register every year. Based on the information provided in the registration process, the Tax Department will monitor homeowners' eligibility in future years.

 4. Do I need to wait to receive instructions from the state in order to register?

 No. The Tax Department began mailing instructions for registration to existing STAR recipients on August 19, 2013, but anyone can register online by looking up their "STAR code" at the Tax Department website, www.tax.ny.gov 

 5. What about senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption? 

Senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption are not affected by the new registration requirement. However, in order to receive Enhanced STAR, seniors must continue to:

  • apply annually, or
  • participate in the Income Verification Program

6. What information do I need to provide when I register?

 Homeowners will need to:

  • provide their STAR code and confirm the property address
  • provide the names and social security numbers for all owners of the property and spouses
  • confirm that the property is the primary residence of one of its owners (married couples with multiple residences may only claim one STAR exemption)
  • confirm that the combined income of the owners and their spouses who reside at the property does not exceed $500,000
  • confirm that no resident owner receives a residency-based tax exemption from another state 

7. When is the registration deadline? 

 Registration must be completed by December 31, 2013. In February 2014 the Tax Department will give assessors the names of any homeowners who did not register, or who were determined not to be eligible for STAR. The assessment roll entries for these homeowners will not include the STAR exemption.

 8. What is the purpose of the new registration requirement?

 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. 

 9.  I am a STAR recipient, and I’m selling my current home and buying a new home. Does my exemption carry over to my new residence, or does the buyer of my current home receive it?

 Property owners, not the property itself, must qualify for the exemption. The buyer of your home would need to meet the requirements to qualify regardless of your receipt of the exemption. If you have registered with the Tax Department prior to selling, you will not need to re-register when you purchase a new residence but you will need to file a new application with the local assessor.

 10.  Do new STAR applicants need to register by the December 31 deadline?

 The Tax Department has been very vague about how the registration requirement will be applied to new homebuyers. It appears that registration is not needed before December 31 and that new homebuyers will have to register after applying for a 2014 exemption with their local assessor, but how and when they will be instructed to do so has not been spelled out.

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Article written by Megan E. Curinga, Esq. For more information please contact her at mcuringa@hhk.com or (607) 231-6929.

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