STAR Program Is Free

The School Tax Relief property tax exemption can be applied to for free, despite what some New Yorkers might be hearing.

New homeowners across the state received letters offering to enroll them in the School Tax Relief program for a substantial fee equivalent to the full amount of the taxpayer’s first year’s savings – an average of $700 statewide.

“New Yorkers should not be fooled: registration to the STAR Program is free, convenient, and provides taxpayers with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars in property tax relief each year,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “I encourage any homeowner not receiving a STAR exemption to apply on their own and avoid disingenuous schemes that seek to charge you for the tax relief that is rightfully yours.”

Chautauqua County residents should re-apply by Dec. 31 to receive their School Tax Relief property tax exemption. The new guidelines do not affect homeowners 65 years or older enrolled in the Enhanced School Tax Relief program.

“The STAR Tax Exemption provides local homeowners with meaningful relief from New York’s heavy property tax burden,” said Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-C-Chautauqua. “Chautauqua County residents continue to face difficult property taxes, which is why I want to make sure all eligible homeowners receive the relief they deserve. The new system, which will be operated by the New York State Department of Tax and Finance, will also help prevent waste, fraud and abuse which may currently exist in the system.”

Currently two school tax relief exemptions exist: Basic school tax relief for homeowners with incomes under $500,000 and enhanced school tax relief for senior citizens with incomes under $81,900. In compliance with the new guidelines meant to prevent fraud and abuse of the benefits, participants must sign up by telephone or online with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to continue their exemption into 2014 and beyond. To register, visit www.tax.ny.gov or call 518-457-2036.