This week, Senator Bill Larkin reminds seniors age 65 and older that the deadline to file for the Enhanced STAR property tax exemption is March 1, 2005.
The Enhanced STAR Program is for seniors who own their homes, who are already age 65 or older, or who will be turning 65 any time this year.
Previously, senior citizens had to reapply for STAR through their local assessor every year to verify their eligibility. Unfortunately, if someone forgot to reapply, they lost the STAR benefit. I am happy to tell you that we have changed the process to be sure this does not happen again.
When you sign up, you can authorize your local assessor to verify your eligibility for STAR each year through the state Department of Taxation and Finance. If you choose this option, you would not have to reapply each year unless you stop filing income tax returns in New York State for some reason. This ensures that every senior citizen who is eligible for a STAR property tax reduction gets it. Also, the new cost of living provisions will be factored in to maintain your eligibility.
You can obtain STAR applications and instructions from your local assessor’s office. If you exceed the income ceiling of $64,650 for the Enhanced STAR program, you can still receive the Basic STAR exemption.
While, the STAR program is designed for those who own their own homes, those who rent are still eligible for relief through the state’s "Circuit Breaker" program. It provides a tax "rebate" for those whose rent is high relative to their incomes. You can apply for this rebate any time during the year by filing a state tax form, the IT-214.