Changes for *NEW* STAR Recipients

News from Real Property and GIS, Posted on Wed, 05/18/2016 - 1:54pm

STAR Transition Details -

As part of the 2016-17 New York State Budget, the STAR exemption program is being transitioned to a check based program for all NEW homeowners.  These checks will be for the exact amount that your STAR tax savings would have been. You should receive them around the same time that you receive your school tax bill. This program is being completely administered and maintained by the State Tax & Finance Department after the initial help of the County Director of Real Property Tax Services and the Local Assessors.

If you had a STAR exemption on your property for the 2015-16 school taxes, you will stay in the STAR program, Basic or Enhanced, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements, and stay in your current home.

  • Basic STAR exemptions do not require an annual application.
  • Enhanced STAR exemptions, as always, require either an annual application with the local assessor or enrollment in the Income Verification Program (IVP).
  • If you are in the STAR exemption program, you may either keep your STAR exemption OR opt for the Check program for future years. You cannot have both. Cattaraugus County Real Property Tax Services recommends that you stay in the STAR exemption program. This is the easier of the two options for now.
  • If you opt out of the STAR exemption program in favor of the Check program, you cannot get back in.

If you purchased your home after March 2, 2015, you are not eligible for the STAR exemption program, but you may register with New York State for the Check program.

  • If you are one of these new homeowners and you applied with the local assessor for a STAR exemption, you will receive a letter with instructions for registering with the State for the Check program.  These letters should be out by late May or early June.
  • Those who register prior to July 1st, and who meet the eligibility requirements (same as the requirements for the STAR exemption), the State intends to have checks mailed by mid-September. 
  • Those who register after July 1st will still get a check, but not by mid-September (so make sure to register before July 1st).
  • Checks will be in the amount of the STAR savings you would have received on your school tax bill had you been eligible for the STAR exemption program.
  • Once you are registered with New York State for the Check program, you will not need to register again, unless your eligibility changes.  The state will send your check automatically each year.
  • The registration process is made through an on-line application OR by telephone.  Online details can be found here - The phone number is (518) 457-2036.
  • If you have a mortgage on your new home, and your taxes are paid through escrow, you may want to contact your escrow company to see how your mortgage payments are calculated (STAR exemption considered or not). 

Going forward no new STAR exemptions will be granted.  If you buy a new home, you will have to register with New York State for the Check program.

Other property tax exemptions that you may be eligible for such as Veterans, Low Income Senior, Agriculture, et al will still be administered by the local assessor.  This legislation does NOT affect any other property tax exemptions.