New provisions have been added to the STAR rebate program, according to information provided by New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and New York State Senator Ken LaValle.
All homeowners receiving the basic STAR benefit must now register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to continue receiving exemptions in 2014 and subsequent years. Registration began in August and will continue through December 31. Basic STAR benefit exemptions are available on the primary residence of homeowners who earn less than $500,000 a year.
The New York State tax department will mail instructions, including a STAR code necessary for registration, to all homeowners who currently receive the Basic STAR exemption. While this registration is required to receive exemptions, homeowners will not need to re-register every year.
Seniors who receive Enhanced STAR will be exempt from the new requirements and will not need to register to continue participation in the program. Enhanced STAR recipients must continue to apply annually, or participate in the Income Verification Program as they have in the past. Additionally, first-time applicants are not affected by this year’s registration procedure and must file Form RP-425, Application for School Tax Relief Exemption, with their local assessor.
The measures were put in place to put an end to fraudulent and inappropriate STAR exemption claims. According to information provided by Assemblyman Thiele, improper STAR exemptions cost New Yorkers an estimated $13 million in 2010 and 2011. Projections show that the costs could increase to $73 million by 2015 and 2016.
Information needed for registration includes: the homeowner’s STAR code and property address as well as the names and social security numbers for all owners of the property and spouses, according to Senator LaValle. Additionally, the homeowner must verify that the property is the primary residence of one of its owners (married couples with multiple residences may claim only one STAR exemption) and confirm that the combined income of the homeowners and their spouses who reside at the property does not exceed $500,000, and that no resident owner receives a residency-based tax exemption from another state.
To register, visit the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s website at tax.ny.gov or by calling (518) 457-2036. Those who do not register will not be eligible for STAR benefits.