Senator Flanagan Reminds Homeowners To Apply For STAR Program

John J. Flanagan

February 15, 2013

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) is reminding all homeowners that the deadline to apply for the School Tax Relief (STAR) program is March 1st.  Homeowners who are not enrolled in this property tax savings program can apply with their town assessor’s office prior to the deadline.

The STAR program provides homeowners with property tax relief and works in two ways:
• Basic STAR is available to homeowners whose primary residence is a house, condominium, cooperative apartment, mobile home or farm house and whose combined total adjusted gross income does not exceed $500,000, regardless of age.  It does not require annual renewal.

• Enhanced STAR is designed to offer tax relief to homeowners who are 65 and above, whose combined total adjusted gross income (less any IRA distributions) is under $79,050 and who will be age 65 or older by December 31, 2013.  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 $79,050 threshold.

The STAR program relies on the information reported on the 2011 income tax return and defines it as the amount reported as federal “adjusted gross income” (AGI) less the “taxable amount” of IRA distributions.  The instructions on the STAR application will indicate which lines on the tax return these amounts are taken from and homeowners can send either their federal or state income tax return.

To be approved for Enhanced STAR, applicants must file income verification forms with their town assessor’s office.  Following approval for Enhanced STAR, an annual renewal is required unless a property owner opts to sign up for the Income Verification Program, which allows the assessor to automatically verify your income annually through the New York State Department of Tax and Finance.

Both the regular STAR program and the Enhanced STAR program apply only to primary residences and are only applicable to one address regardless of age or income.  Residents who move into a new house must file a new application since the STAR exemption does not automatically transfer to their new address.

“The STAR program is a key part of property tax relief efforts in New York State and I urge all homeowners to contact their town assessor before the March 1st deadline to make sure they are receiving all of the tax savings possible.  This state funding is set aside to provide property tax relief for residents while also funding our schools and it is money that our homeowners are entitled to,” stated Senator Flanagan.

For more information regarding the STAR program, including contact information for local assessors and links to applications, please click here.