Senator Flanagan Reminds Homeowners To Apply For Star Program

John J. Flanagan

January 23, 2008

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) is urging all homeowners to sign up for the School Tax Relief (STAR) program prior to the upcoming March 1st deadline. Homeowners who have not yet signed up for the STAR program, which is available to all homeowners, can apply with their town assessor’s office.

"The STAR program delivers millions in tax relief to Long Island homeowners every year and I hope that everyone takes advantage of this program prior to the deadline. Regardless of your age or your income level, you are eligible and you are entitled to this money saving program," stated Senator Flanagan.

The STAR program was initially created in the New York State to assist senior citizens by offsetting the escalating cost of school property taxes. In 2000, the state extended the program to provide tax relief to all property owners by introducing the Basic STAR program and establishing the Enhanced STAR program for senior citizens.

Basic STAR is open to all residents who own their own one, two or three family home, condominium, cooperative apartment or mobile home. This property tax relief is available regardless of age or income and does not have to be renewed on an annual basis.

The Enhanced STAR is designed to better assist property owners who are 65 and above with an annual income level of not more than $67,850 or under. If the property is owned jointly, only one of the owners must be 65 or above but the combined income level still must remain at or below the $67,850 threshold.

To be approved for Enhanced STAR, those who meet the criteria will need to file income verification with their town assessor’s office. If approved, annual renewal is required unless a property owner opts to sign up for the state’s Income Verification Program, which allows the assessor to automatically verify your income annually through the New York State Department of Tax and Finance.

The STAR exemption applies only to primary residences and is only applicable to one address regardless of age or income.

In addition to receiving the benefit of the STAR program, those who are enrolled will automatically receive the School Tax Relief (STAR) program rebate check in the fall. This program, which was initiated in 2006, delivered $875 million in rebate checks to homeowners last year. Those who were enrolled in the STAR program were automatically sent their rebate checks and received them first.

To increase the impact of this program, legislation sponsored by Senator Flanagan recently was approved by the Senate. This would increase the amount of relief from an average of $231 for Basic STAR recipients and $375 for Enhanced STAR recipients to an average of $694 and $1,125 in the coming year and to $925 and $1,499 by 2008.

These increases, if agreed to by the Assembly and the Governor, would provide $6 billion in direct tax relief over the next two years.

"Providing tax relief directly to the homeowners of our state remains my number one goal and increasing the rebate check program is a great step. Long Island homeowners deserve to know that their voice is heard and that work is being done to enhance the relief they receive," stated Senator Flanagan. "I urge both the Assembly and Governor to join in providing the most relief possible by passing this legislation now."

For more information about the STAR program and for the contact information for your local assessor's office, PLEASE CLICK HERE.