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August 29, 2013

State: STAR seekers must register again

Staff Report
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Participants in New York’s Basic STAR Program will now have to register with the state.

The New York State Tax Department recently unveiled an online STAR registration platform for homeowners currently receiving the Basic STAR property tax exemption. The system is designed to eliminate inappropriate STAR property tax exemptions.

The Basic STAR program provides 2.6 million New York homeowners with savings on their school property tax bills.

The Basic STAR exemption is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the combined income of resident owners and their spouses is $500,000 or less. A tax department investigation, however, showed that some homeowners were receiving the exemption on more than one property, which helped prompt this registration initiative.

Said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a release to the media, “This balanced approach protects the integrity of the STAR program and guards taxpayer dollars from those who seek to game the system.”

“Local assessors monitor Basic STAR in their communities, but do not have the ability to know if an individual is receiving STAR in any of the other 1,000 localities statewide,” said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox in the  release. “This is the first registration in the STAR Program’s 15-year history, and it will eliminate inappropriate and fraudulent exemptions.” 

All 2.6 million Basic STAR Recipients will receive a letter from the tax department , which will include registration instructions for the department’s online application. Homeowners can also call (518) 457-2036 to register or to ask questions. The registration deadline is Dec. 31.

Senior citizens receiving Enhanced STAR will not be impacted.

Basic STAR exemptions for 2014 and beyond will be affected by the registration program, but it does not impact 2013 exemptions. Homeowners will not have to re-register every year as, based on the information provided in the registration process, the Tax Department will monitor homeowners’ eligibility in the future.