News: STAR Exemption Renewal Process Changes

The registration and renewal process for the Basic STAR exemption tax break has changed, affecting both new and existing homeowners in Tompkins County. According to the Ithaca Journal:

Property owners who receive the Basic STAR exemption will need to reapply this year to continue to receive the school tax relief.

Approximately 19,500 Tompkins County property owners received the benefit in 2012.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance will begin mailing a registration letter on Monday to more than 2.6 million New York property taxpayers who received the school tax relief exemption on the 2013 assessment roll.

Homeowners will be instructed to reapply for the STAR program online or by phone by Dec. 31. People will need to verify their salaries, social security numbers and primary residence.

The STAR Exemption is a school tax relief program through NYS:

 … and provides an exemption from school taxes for owner-occupied, primary residences where the combined 2012 income of the owners and spouses who reside on the property does not exceed $500,000. Senior citizens with combined 2012 incomes that do not exceed $81,900 may qualify for a larger Enhanced exemption. Senior citizens who wish to continue receiving Enhanced STAR in future years without having to reapply and submit copies of their tax returns to their assessor every year are invited to sign up for the STAR Income Verification Program. See Form RP-425-IVP for more information. Seniors who do not choose to enroll in the income verification program must reapply each year to keep the Enhanced exemption in effect. If you are receiving the Basic exemption, you must notify the assessor if your primary residence changes and must provide income documentation when requested.

The following instructions for existing and new homeowners outline the changes in renewing and/or registering for the Basic STAR school tax relief:

Existing Home Owners: Will get a STAR Exemption renewal letter in the mail (mailed out Aug 19th) by NYS Dept of Tax and finance.  Property owners can either register online or by phone – they should follow the instructions in the letter. Registering via the instructions in the letter will ensure that they continue to receive their STAR exemption. This will need to be done every 3 years. Deadline to register is November 30th 2013.
New Home Owners (Closed on a house in 2013): The STAR exemption will be filed at closing just like it has typically been done but next year the State will require these “new” property owners to register again in 2014. This will need to be done every 3 years.
For more information about changes with the STAR Exemption, call the Tompkins County Assessment Office at 607-274-5517.