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This entry was published on 2020-05-22
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SECTION 171-W
State support for the local enforcement of past-due property taxes
Tax (TAX) CHAPTER 60, ARTICLE 8
§ 171-w. State support for the local enforcement of past-due property
taxes. 1. Legislative findings. The legislature finds that local
governments have limited means to enforce the collection of past-due
property taxes. The legislature further finds that it is appropriate for
the state to support the local enforcement of past-due property taxes by
authorizing the commissioner to administer a program to disallow STAR
credits and exemptions to delinquent property owners based on
information reported to him or her by municipal officials.

2. Definitions. For the purposes of this section:

(a) "Delinquent property owner" means a STAR recipient whose primary
residence is subject to past-due property taxes.

(b) "Past-due property taxes" means property taxes that have been
levied upon a property owner's primary residence that remain unpaid one
year after the last date on which they could have been paid without
interest, or where such taxes are payable in installments, those taxes
that remain unpaid one year after the last date on which the final
installment could have been paid without interest.

(c) "STAR credit" means the basic STAR personal income tax credit
authorized by subsection (eee) of section six hundred six of this
chapter.

(d) "STAR exemption" means the basic STAR exemption from real property
taxation authorized by section four hundred twenty-five of the real
property tax law.

(e) "STAR recipient" means a property owner who is registered to
receive the STAR credit in relation to his or her primary residence, or
whose primary residence is receiving the STAR exemption.

3. STAR tax payment requirement; generally. Notwithstanding any
provision of law to the contrary, a property owner whose primary
residence is subject to past-due property taxes shall not be allowed to
receive a STAR credit or STAR exemption unless the past-due property
taxes are paid in full on or before a date specified by the
commissioner.

4. Commissioner's authority. The commissioner is hereby authorized to
develop a program to support the local enforcement of past-due property
taxes by disallowing STAR credits and STAR exemptions to delinquent
property owners. The commissioner shall establish procedures for the
administration of this program, which shall include the following
provisions:

(a) The procedures by which municipal officials shall report past-due
property taxes and property tax payments to the department.

(b) The procedures by which the department shall notify delinquent
property owners of the impending disallowance of their STAR credits or
exemptions due to past-due property taxes.

(c) The date by which delinquent property owners must pay their
past-due property taxes in full in order to avoid disallowance of their
STAR credits or exemptions.

(d) The procedures by which the commissioner shall disallow STAR
credits and notify assessors of the disallowance of STAR exemptions if
past-due property taxes are not paid in full by the specified date.

(e) Such other procedures as the commissioner shall deem necessary to
carry out the provisions of this section.

5. Municipal reports. The commissioner's procedures regarding
municipal reporting shall be subject to the following provisions:

(a) The commissioner may request and shall be entitled to receive from
any municipal corporation of the state, or any agency or official
thereof, such data as the commissioner deems necessary to effectuate the
purposes of this section. Such information shall be submitted to the
department at such time and in such manner as the commissioner may
direct.

(b) In lieu of requiring municipal officials to submit their reports
directly to the department, the commissioner may, in his or her
discretion, require that such reports be submitted to the county
director of real property tax services, who shall integrate the reports
into a single file and submit it to the department at such time and in
such manner as the commissioner may direct. Provided, that where the
commissioner institutes such a procedure, he or she may exclude cities
with one hundred twenty-five thousand inhabitants or more, so that
information about past-due property taxes and property tax payments in
such a city shall be reported directly to the department by a designated
city official at such time and in such manner as the commissioner may
direct.

(c) Reports and other records prepared pursuant to this section shall
not be subject to the provisions of article six of the public officers
law.

6. Notification of delinquent property owners. The commissioner's
procedures regarding the notification of delinquent property owners
shall be subject to the following provisions:

(a) The department shall notify a delinquent property owner by regular
mail at least thirty days prior to the date by which his or her past-due
property taxes must be paid in full in order to avoid disallowance of
his or her STAR credit or exemption.

(b) Such notice shall include a statement that the property owner's
STAR credit or exemption will be disallowed unless his or her past-due
property taxes are paid in full by the date specified in the notice.

(c) To the extent practicable, such notice shall provide contact
information for the local official or officials to whom the past-due
property taxes may be paid.

(d) Such notice shall further state that the property owner's right to
protest the disallowance of the STAR credit or exemption is limited to
raising issues that constitute a "mistake of fact" as defined in
subdivision nine of this section.

(e) Such notice may include such other information as the commissioner
may deem necessary.

7. Timely payment of past-due property taxes. If a delinquent property
owner pays his or her past-due property taxes in full on or before the
date specified in such notice, the official receiving such payment shall
so notify the department at such time and in such manner as prescribed
by the commissioner. The property owner shall then be permitted to
receive the STAR credit or exemption that would have been disallowed if
timely payment had not been made. However, if the department does not
learn of the payment until after it has already directed an assessor to
deny a STAR exemption to a delinquent property owner, then in lieu of
directing the exemption to be restored, the department may remit to the
property owner payment in an amount that will reimburse the property
owner for the increase in his or her school tax bill that is directly
attributable to the lost STAR exemption.

8. Failure to make timely payment. (a) If the past-due taxes are not
paid on or before the date specified in the notice that had been sent to
the delinquent property owner, his or her STAR credit or STAR exemption
shall be disallowed in accordance with the procedures established by the
commissioner.

(b) The property owner shall not be eligible to participate in the
STAR program again as long as the property is subject to past-due
property taxes.

(c) Upon payment of the past-due property taxes in full, the official
receiving such payment shall notify the department at such time and in
such manner as may be prescribed by the commissioner. The commissioner
shall then proceed as follows:

(i) If the property owner had previously been receiving the STAR
credit, the commissioner shall allow the property owner to resume his or
her participation in the STAR credit program on a prospective basis, if
otherwise eligible, effective with the first taxable year commencing
after such payment.

(ii) If the property owner had previously been receiving the STAR
exemption, the commissioner shall allow the property owner to
participate in the STAR credit program on a prospective basis, if
otherwise eligible, effective with the first taxable year commencing
after such payment. The property owner shall not be allowed back into
the STAR exemption program.

(iii) The commissioner shall, when making the first advanced payment
of a STAR credit to the property taxpayer after payment of the past-due
property taxes in full, also pay to such property taxpayer the value of
the STAR exemptions or STAR credits that were disallowed pursuant to
paragraph a of this subdivision.

9. Mistake of fact. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a
disallowance of a STAR credit or STAR exemption pursuant to this section
may only be challenged before the department on the grounds of a mistake
of fact as defined in this subdivision. The taxpayer will have no right
to commence a court action, administrative proceeding or any other form
of legal recourse against an assessor, county director of real property
tax services or other local official regarding such disallowance. For
the purposes of this subdivision, "mistake of fact" is limited to claims
that: (i) the individual notified is not the taxpayer at issue; or (ii)
the past-due property taxes were satisfied before the date specified in
the notice described in subdivision six of this section. However,
nothing in this subdivision is intended to limit a taxpayer from seeking
relief from joint and several liability pursuant to section six hundred
fifty-four of this chapter to the extent that he or she is eligible
pursuant to that subdivision or establishing to the department that the
enforcement of the underlying property taxes has been stayed by the
filing of a petition pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 (Title
Eleven of the United States Code).

10. Assessors. (a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the
contrary, the department may disclose to assessors such information as
the commissioner deems necessary to ensure that the STAR exemptions of
delinquent property owners are disallowed as required by this section.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, an assessor
shall be authorized and directed to deny a STAR exemption to a
delinquent property owner upon being directed by the department to do
so. If an assessor should receive such a directive after the applicable
assessment roll has been filed, the assessor or other official having
custody and control of that roll shall be authorized and directed to
remove such exemption from such roll prior to the levy of school taxes,
without regard to the provisions of title three of article five of the
real property tax law or any comparable laws governing the correction of
administrative errors on assessment rolls and tax rolls.

11. Recovery of STAR benefits in certain cases. The commissioner may
establish procedures to be followed in cases where a STAR credit or
exemption was inadvertently or erroneously provided to a delinquent
property owner who was sent the notice required by subdivision six of
this section, and whose past-due property taxes were not paid in full by
the date specified in the notice. Such procedures shall include, but not
be limited to, (a) applying the improperly received STAR credit or
exemption as an offset against future STAR credits or against other
personal income tax credits or personal income tax refunds to which the
delinquent property owner would otherwise be entitled, and (b) pursuing
any of the other remedies that are available to enforce a personal
income tax debt under article twenty-two of this chapter.