Question: I heard there have been some changes with the STAR program, how can I be sure that I will continue to get my reduction in my tax bill?
Answer: Yes, there have been some changes to the STAR program effective this year. STAR is the New York State Tax Relief Program which provides qualified New York homeowners with partial exemption from New York Property Taxes. Basic STAR is available on owner-occupied primary residences where the combined income of the owners is less than $500,000. Enhanced STAR is available to seniors, age 65 and older whose combined earnings were less than $88,050.00.
Typically, the STAR program offers a reduction on your tax bill and the homeowner pays a lesser amount whenever they pay their tax bill. The big change is that if your income is greater than $250,000.00 and less than or equal to $500,000.00, you will no longer receive a reduction on your tax bill. Instead, you will now receive a check for the STAR credit. Homeowners that fall within this category, will receive a higher tax bill than in years past and may be caught off guard. It is important to plan accordingly and understand your eligibility for the STAR program. Additionally, if your income is $250,000.00 or less and you currently receive the STAR exemption, you can choose to register for the STAR credit to receive a check instead. This could lead to a greater benefit.
In order to register for the Basic STAR program, you would provide the completed application and copy of your tax bill to your assessor. In order to register for the Enhanced STAR program, you would fill out the Application and Supplement Form along with proof of income. Both applications can be accessed at https://www.tax.ny.gov.
It is important to note that individuals receiving the Enhanced STAR will have to re-apply each year for the benefit. There is a one-time application that can be completed wherein you authorize the Department of Taxation and Finance to annually verify your income by using your Social Security numbers. This will allow verification to be sent to the assessor each year without filling out a new application.
The deadline to enroll in the Enhanced Star Program in Suffolk County is March 1, 2020.
– Robin Burner Daleo, Esq. and Nancy Burner, Esq.