The New York State School Tax Relief Program (more commonly known as the STAR Program), is a school tax rebate program offered in New York State aimed at reducing school district property taxes on the primary residences of New York residents. The program is similar to (but is much less extensive than) the homestead exemptions many homeowners enjoy in other states.
To receive what is called BASIC STAR:
- One must own their own “home” and declare it as a primary residence.
- There is no age restriction, rather an income eligibility limitation of $500,000 or less of the combined incomes of the homeowners and owners’ spouses who reside at the property.
For Enhanced STAR:
- The residency rules are exactly the same, but the age and income provisions differ.
- One must be 65 years of age or older and have all owners’ incomes not to exceed $84,550.
Changes have been made to the STAR Rebate Program that affect new homeowners. The changes affect new homeowners who have purchased their homes after the deadline to file for their 2015 STAR exemption. New applicants will now register with New York State instead of applying with their local tax assessor. If they qualify, the homeowner will now receive the STAR credit in the form of a rebate check, instead of receiving a property tax exemption/reduction in their tax bill. The dollar value of the credit will remain the same.
New applicants can now apply online via the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance online registration system. The link to register is: https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/register-for-star-credit.htm
The Department of Taxation and Finance is also answering questions via telephone. The telephone number is: 518-591-5232.
The following is a summary of how the new law may affect a current homeowner:
- Registration is not required if the property was purchased prior to May 1, 2014 and it is currently receiving a Star Exemption. The exemption will continue to be reflected as a reduction in the school tax bill.
- Registration may be required for homes purchased between May 1, 2014 and August 1, 2015 only if:
- The home was purchased after the 2015 Star Application deadline or
- The homeowner did not apply for the Star Exemption by the 2015 application deadline.
- Registration is required for all homes purchased after August 1, 2015.
Warren Goldberg is President of Mortgage Wealth Advisors, a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist®, and a published author. His interviews include Blog-Talk Radio, Newsday, The Daily News, Anton Press, and the Long Island Herald. Since 1992, he’s been sharing his financial knowledge and wealth-building strategies, including how to properly use your mortgage as a financial tool. His clients regularly express their trust and appreciation by recommending friends and family call when in need of mortgage, real estate, and financial guidance.