Thursday, June 2, 2016

STAR Credit Program Undergoes Two Critical Changes

The New York State School Tax Relief (STAR) program has changed. Rather than working with the local assessor, as was required in the past, homeowners will now need to register with New York State in order to apply for the program. Additionally, qualifying homeowners will receive a rebate check in the fall of every year rather than receiving a reduction directly on their school property tax bill.

There are two types of STAR benefits:
  • Basic STAR: At least one owner must use the property as a primary residence and the total combined household income of the owners and owners’ spouses who use the property as a primary residence must be $500,000 or less.
  • Enhanced STAR: At least one owner must use the property as a primary residence, all owners must be 65 years or older, and there must be a total combined household income of all owners (not just those who reside at the property) and any owner’s spouse who uses the property as a primary residence of $84,550. All owners do not need to be over the age of 65 if they are spouses, registered domestic partners or siblings so long as at least one owner is at least 65.
Starting this year, qualifying homeowners must register with New York State, which can be done online here or by phone at 518-457-2036, in order to apply for the STAR program. If the homeowners qualify, they will receive their STAR credit as a rebate check each September.

If homeowners are already receiving a STAR exemption and purchased their primary residence prior to May 1, 2014, they do not need to re-register to continue qualifying for the exemption, and they will continue to receive the exemption as a reduction on their school property tax bill. Only those who purchased their primary residence after August 1, 2015 or did not apply before the 2015 STAR application deadline are affected by these changes. 

Homeowners can check your local assessment roll to see if they are already receiving a STAR exemption. Understanding how the STAR credit program works and what changes have been implemented can help save time and money into the future.