More than a million homeowners have registered with the state to keep their Basic State Tax Relief—Basic STAR—exemptions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today. As part of an effort to crack down on fraud within the system, everyone must register this year with the state Department of Taxation and Finance to continue receiving the benefit. The deadline is Dec. 31.
Basic STAR is available for the primary residence of homeowners who earn less than $500,000 a year. A study by the Department of Taxation and Finance last year found that thousands of individuals with multiple properties were receiving more than one STAR exemption.
“In just six weeks, more than one million homeowners have registered for their STAR exemptions, a huge boost in our efforts to protect New Yorkers from fraud in the program while ensuring eligible homeowners continue to receive the tax relief they deserve,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Basic STAR saves New York homeowners an average of $700 a year.
Cuomo said more than 90 percent of people who have registered have done so on the Tax Department’s website. Those without internet access can call 518-457-2036 to register with a representative. The Tax Department is providing extended call-center hours—8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Representatives will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Columbus Day.
“The response has been impressive to date, particularly with only 80% of the letters delivered thus far,” Thomas H. Mattox, commissioner of taxation and finance, said in a statement. “If you’re one of the homeowners who have yet to register, don’t delay – visit our website to register today. It will only take two to four minutes.”
New York is mailing letters to all Basic STAR recipients to encourage registration. By Oct. 10, the state will have mailed 2.6 million letters. The Tax Department has had representatives at local events to register people, such as the State Fair, and has sent out thousands of posters and palm cards to local officials. Registration materials on the agency’s website are in seven languages.
Below is a video put out by the department: