Written by Charles Lavine Friday, 03 May 2013 00:00
Homeowners, who first filed for New York State’s School Tax Relief program (STAR exemption) in 1998, are looking at some new regulations that will require them to register again in order to receive their 2014 exemption.
These new rules are tied to a New York State Comptroller’s report that indicates that abuse and fraudulent filings for the Basic STAR program, on the part of some people within New York State, have cost all of us as taxpayers millions of dollars to date and promised to cost millions more if nothing changed.
In response, new legislation was drafted that will protect all of us – as state residents - from waste and abuse. The new regulations require all homeowners receiving the Basic STAR exemption to register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in order to receive their 2014 STAR exemption.
I want to assure you that you need not do anything to secure your 2013 exemption. You will still receive that automatically.
While some things like penalties, fees and sanctions will change to ensure that further abuse of the program does not continue, much remains the same. The STAR program will still provide a partial exemption from school property taxes for owner-occupied, primary residences with an annual household income of $500,000 or less; regardless of age. Your school tax bill will provide the amount of your STAR exemption and your tax savings.
To be eligible, you must own and live in a primary residence that may include a one, two or three family residence, mobile home, farm home, condominium, cooperative apartment or multiple use property.
As the documented property owner receiving the 2013 STAR exemption, you will receive written notification in the mail at least 60 days prior to the registration deadline, which explains the timeline, procedures for filing and requirements for filing for the 2014 STAR exemption. Again, registration will apply to Basic STAR recipients. Seniors receiving Enhanced STAR will not be impacted by the registration process.
A schedule of penalties, fees and sanctions involving those who are found to have filed fraudulent applications are now in place to discourage abuse of the STAR program. Hopefully, going forward, it will continue to be a program of which New York State can be proud.