Larger STAR Exemption Available For Some Seniors

Area residents who will be turning 65 this year may be eligible for a larger STAR exemption than they think.

The School Tax Relief, or STAR exemption provides a partial exemption from school taxes for most owner-occupied primary residences. However, there are two different types of this exemption – basic and enhanced. In order to receive the exemption, taxpayers are required to file an application with the local assessor’s office.

“There’s always been one missing link here that I think is important,” said Randy Holcomb, assessor. “There are two different types of STAR exemptions, a basic one for people under the age of 65 and an enhanced one for people age 65 and older. Someone could be turning 65 in December and they would still be eligible for the enhanced exemption, but most people don’t realize that.”

According to Holcomb, March 1 is the taxable status date, so all exemptions have to be filed by that day. With STAR exemptions, even if a homeowner turns 65 after March 1, they’re still eligible for the exemption for that calendar year.

“People that are going to be 65 years old or older and are eligible for the enhanced STAR exemption, they can get as much as double the amount that someone under 65 would receive depending on the school districts and the tax rates,” said Holcomb. “The school districts are reimbursed by the state, too, so it’s not like they’re losing any money because of this program. We have people coming in all year long, saying, ‘I just turned 65, can I get the enhanced STAR exemption now?’ and we have to tell them no. They have to get their applications in by March 1. It’s a property owner’s responsibility, but if it were me, I would want to know about this. I want to make sure that the public knows about it, too.”

For more information about STAR eligibility requirements and exemption amounts, visit www.tax.ny.gov.