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New state law means homeowners must re-register for Basic STAR program by December 31, 2013, to continue receiving tax breaks

Sept. 9, 2013—If you’re a homeowner who has benefited from reduced property taxes under the state’s Basic School Tax Relief (STAR) program, it’s important to note that you must re-register with the New York State Tax Department by December 31, 2013, in order to continue receiving the exemption in 2014 and beyond. Homeowners can re-register online at http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/default.htm or by calling (518) 457-2036.

This new requirement, which results from legislation passed to help reduce fraud related to STAR exemptions, is only for homeowners who have already been enrolled in the Basic STAR program. Senior citizens who receive the enhanced STAR exemption are not affected by this new law; however, they must continue to apply annually with their town assessor or participate in the state’s Income Verification Program. Homeowners who are applying for the Basic STAR exemption for the first time are still required to file the state’s Application for School Tax Relief (STAR) Exemption with their town assessor.

The new law will not affect 2013 property taxes or exemption.

The State Tax Department is mailing registration instructions to all homeowners who currently receive the Basic STAR exemption. Guilderland Central School District residents should receive these letters by mid-September. See http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/mailing.pdf for the complete mailing schedule.

For more information about the re-registration process, please call (518) 457-2036 or refer to the FAQs below.

The STAR program provides tax relief on owner-occupied primary residences where the combined income of resident homeowners and their spouses is $500,000 or less. It is not a source of funding for school districts and does not reduce or increase school tax rates or the school tax levy. This year, GCSD residents who receive the Basic STAR exemption will save between $517 and $561 on their property taxes, depending on their town of residence.

FAQs about the new requirements

Who is required to re-register for the Basic STAR program under New York’s new legislation?
Resident homeowners who already receive the Basic STAR exemption are required to re-register if they wish to continue receiving this tax break in 2014 and beyond.

When is the deadline to re-register?
December 31, 2013.

How do I re-register?
The process can be completed online by going to http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/default.htm. The state has also provided an option to re-register by phone; call (518) 457-2036 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. or Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Why are homeowners required to re-register for this benefit?
Governor Cuomo launched this initiative to help reduce fraud after state officials found numerous instances of property owners receiving more than one exemption (in essence, “double-dipping”). By law, homeowners are allowed a STAR exemption for their primary residence only.

What if I am a senior citizen receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption?
This new legislation does not affect the Enhanced STAR program. Senior citizens who participate in this program must continue to apply annually for the Enhanced STAR exemption or participate in the Income Verification Program.

What if I am a resident homeowner who has never participated in the STAR program?
New applicants for the STAR program are required to complete the state’s Application for School Tax Relief (STAR) Exemption (form RP-425) and submit it to their town assessor.

What will happen if I don’t re-register for the Basic STAR program?
The state will send reminder letters in December 2013 and January 2014. In February 2014, town assessors will be given the names of residents who have not re-registered, and those homeowners will no longer receive the STAR exemption.

Why is the school district providing information on this new law?
While the Guilderland Central School District does not administer any portion of the STAR program, school officials want residents to know about the new re-registration process so that they can continue to benefit from the tax breaks associated with the program.

How can I get more information?
Visit the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s STAR Web page at http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/index.htm or call (518) 457-2036. The state is also sending out informational letters to qualified homeowners between August 19, 2013, and October 4, 2013. 

 

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