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September 12, 2013

Don't forget to sign up for STAR

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — A critical deadline is approaching for New York state property owners. Soon, more than 2.6 million New Yorkers who receive the School Tax Relief exemption will need to re-apply as part of the state’s efforts to combat fraud within the system.

If you currently receive the STAR exemption from your school taxes, you must re-apply to continue receiving the exemption in 2014 and beyond. Homeowners will only need to go through the re-application process one time. This does not impact seniors in the enhanced STAR program because they are required to register every year.

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.

The State Department of Taxation and Finance began mailing letters to homeowners. However, in case homeowners do not receive one or want to make sure it is done before receiving one, homeowners may apply online by visiting http:www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/default.htm. Homeowners can also re-apply by telephone by calling (518) 457-2036, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To re-apply, homeowners will need to:

• Provide their STAR code (contained in the letter, or available online by using the STAR code look-up);

• Provide names and social security numbers of all owners of the property and spouses;

• Verify that the property is the primary residence of one of its owners;

• Verify that the combined income of the homeowners and spouses does not exceed $500,000; and

• Verify that no resident owner received a residency-based tax benefit from another state.

Millions of New Yorkers rely on this tax-relief program, so we encourage you to act quickly, before the Dec. 31 deadline approaches. For additional information, visit http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/default.htm.

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.