While homeowners are required to register with the state by Dec. 31 to continue receiving the Basic STAR exemption (School Tax Relief), local assessors won’t remove exemptions from unregistered properties until March, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reports. Homeowners who miss the deadline will be able to register until early March.
As of Dec. 9, 81 percent of Putnam homeowners had registered, 75 percent in Westchester and 77 percent in Rockland.
“Immediately after the initial registration deadline of Dec. 31, we will issue a third direct mailing to any remaining 2013 Basic STAR exemption recipients who have not registered, advising them that they need to come forward immediately to register with the Department if they believe they are eligible to continue receiving the exemption on that property,” state Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox said at a state Assembly hearing Wednesday on the STAR re-registration process.
Registration with the state has not been required in the past. It is mandated this year because the state wants to weed out taxpayers who are receiving STAR exemptions on more than one property. A Tax Department investigation found thousands of taxpayers receiving the exemptions on more than one property.
Mattox told lawmakers that more than two million homeowners who qualify for a Basic STAR exemption have registered with the Tax Department. About 86 percent of them have registered online, he said.
STAR exemptions are available on the primary residence of homeowners with annual incomes less than $500,000. The first $30,000 of the full value of a home is exempt from school taxes. The average savings from Basic STAR is $700 a year.
Homeowners can register online or by phone at 518-457-2036. Online information is available in six languages, and interpreters can help speakers of all languages via telephone. The agency is offering extended STAR Hotline hours through Dec. 31 – weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Senior citizens who receive Enhanced STAR are not required to register. Homeowners 65 and older with annual incomes of less than $81,900 are eligible for Enhanced STAR.