This week, residents of Chautauqua County will be receiving a reminder to re-register for the STAR program.
The New York state Tax Department recently unveiled a secure online STAR Registration platform for homeowners currently receiving the Basic STAR property tax exemption. According to a press release from the state Department of Taxation and Finance, the system facilitates Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2013-14 budget initiative to save New York taxpayers millions by eliminating inappropriate STAR tax exemptions.
"This balanced approach protects the integrity of the STAR program and guards taxpayer dollars from those who seek to game the system," Cuomo said. "The registration program provides an accessible, convenient and secure way for qualified homeowners to retain their exemption."
The STAR program provides 2.6 million homeowners with savings on school and property tax bills each year, but the program is only available for an individual or family's primary residence. The deadline to re-apply for STAR is Dec. 31. The initiative comes after a tax department investigation that showed some homeowners were receiving the exemption on more than one property.
"New Yorkers pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation, and it is critical that qualified homeowners take full advantage of this program," said Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County.
"While Dec. 31 may seem like a long time from now, it's important that you submit your paperwork early to ensure you do not receive an unwanted surprise on your next tax bill. The STAR exemption saved the average home owner statewide $700 in 2012. Anyone with questions should visit the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance's website."
Homeowners in Chautauqua County are scheduled to be receiving a letter instructing them to reapply for the Basic STAR program online or by phone. Residents will need to verify their salaries, Social Security numbers and primary residences. The new registration for Basic STAR will only be required once, and homeowners will not have to re-register in future years.
The registration applies only to Basic STAR recipients; senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption are not impacted. In order to continue receiving Enhanced STAR, seniors must continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program.
The Basic STAR exemption is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the combined income of resident owners and their spouses is $500,000 or less. Married couples with multiple residences are only eligible to receive one Basic STAR exemption.
Statewide, total savings are nearly $1.9 billion each year. The Basic and Enhanced STAR exemptions are the only property tax exemptions reimbursed by New York state.
The registration program will impact Basic STAR exemptions for 2014 and beyond; it does not impact 2013 exemptions. Registration can be completed online at www.tax.ny.gov.