Statewide Crackdown Requires NY Homeowners to Reapply for STAR Real Estate Tax Relief


As a result of a statewide crack-down of abuse, if you currently receive the Basic STAR Exemption, you will need to reapply for the exemption by December 31, 2013 to continue receiving the tax break. An audit conducted in 2010 and 2011 revealed that many homeowners were abusing the program through misrepresentations on STAR applications, often seeking exemptions on multiple properties both in and out of New York State. 

The New York State School Tax Relief Program (STAR) provides homeowners with partial exemptions from school property taxes. The STAR exemption does not apply to other county, city or town property taxes, except Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers, where the city property taxes also fund schools. Eligible types of property include houses, condominiums, cooperative apartments, manufactured homes, farm houses and mixed-use properties, including apartment buildings (only the owner-occupied portion).

There are two types of STAR exemptions available to homeowners: basic and enhanced. 

The basic STAR exemption is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the combined incomes of only the owners and owners' spouses who reside at the property is equal to or less than $500,000.00. The basic STAR exemption will exempt the first $30,000.00 of the full value of a home from school taxes. 

The enhanced STAR exemption applies to the primary residences of senior citizens ages 65 and over. For jointly owned property, only one spouse or sibling must be at least 65 years old by December 31st of the year the exemption will begin. The combined income of all owners of the property (not just those who reside at the property) must be equal to or less than $81,900.00. The enhanced STAR exemption will exempt the first $63,000 of the full value of the home from school taxes for 2013-2014 taxes (up from 62,200 in 2012-2013).

Local assessors accept and process the applications for STAR exemptions. Assessors will consider many factors to determine whether a property is your primary residence, like voting, vehicle registrations, and length of time spent each year on the property. 

To read more about the program or to apply for the STAR exemption, homeowners can go online to (click “Register for Star”) or call (518) 457-2036