Only 53 percent of Chautauqua County residents and 48 percent of Cattaraugus County residents have re-registered with the state Tax Department for their Basic STAR exemptions.
Recently, the department mailed 550,000 notices to homeowners in 17 counties.
Of the roughly 294,000 Western New Yorkers who registered, nearly 90 percent of them registered online, which takes most taxpayers only 2 to 4 minutes. The rest have registered with a department representative either by calling 518-457-2036 or visiting a local registration event.
"While more than half of the eligible homeowners in Western New York have already registered, there are still more than a quarter of a million who haven't acted," said Thomas H. Mattox, state Tax Department chairman. "We urge you to act now to continue receiving your STAR benefits next year and beyond."
Homeowners first received Basic STAR by filing an application with their local assessors. As part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's initiative to protect New Yorkers from waste and fraud in the program, they now must register with the state Tax Department - one time only - to continue receiving the exemption.
The Basic STAR program provides 2.6 million homeowners with savings on their school property tax bills each year, but is only available for an individual's or family's primary residence.
The current registration facilitates Cuomo's budget initiative to protect New Yorkers from fraud and waste in the program. Statewide more than 800,000 homeowners have already registered for their Basic STAR exemptions.
Seniors receiving Enhanced STAR are not affected by the registration - they will continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program.