Basic STAR recipients need to re-register

Change intended to eliminate fraud

By Derek Liebig

Homeowners who receive a Basic STAR exemption for property tax assistance will need to register with the state in order to continue to receive the benefit in 2014 and beyond.

The state Department of Taxation and Finance has taken administrative control of the state School Tax Relief Program application process.

Local assessors had previously been responsible for oversight of applications but the state for years has struggled with widespread fraud and abuse of the program.

A March audit found as much as $13 million in fraud and abuse.

The most-cited form of abuse is when property owners receive STAR exemptions on both their primary residence and a second home.

The change, which was included in the state’s 2013-14 budget, is meant to address some of those problems and eliminate inappropriate and fraudulent exemptions, state officials said.

By mandating that applications be registered with the state, officials will be able to check that information against the state database and can then inform local assessors if a person is receiving impermissible benefits.

“Local assessors monitor Basic STAR in their communities, but do not have the ability to know if an individual is receiving STAR in any of the other 1,000 localities statewide,” Thomas Mattox, commissioner of taxation and finance, said in  a prepared statement. “This is the first registration in the STAR Program’s 15-year history, and it will eliminate inappropriate and fraudulent exemptions.”

Under the new policy, homeowners who receive the Basic exemption must register with the state tax department to continue receiving benefits next year and beyond. Seniors citizens who receive the Enhanced exemption will not be affected.

Homeowners receiving the Basic exemption will not have to re-register every year; the tax department will confirm an applicant’s eligibility in future years.

Homeowners applying for the exemption for the first time are also not affected.

Letters detailing the changes and providing instructions on how to apply will be mailed to all of the state’s 2.6 million Basic STAR recipients. Residents in Washington County should expect to receive a letter sometime next week.

The new changes went into effect on Aug. 19. The changes apply only to 2014 and beyond; it does not affect 2013 exemptions.

Anyone who fails to register by Dec. 31 will not receive the STAR exemption on local assessment rolls for the 2014 tax year.

Enacted in 1998, the STAR program is available to homeowners with an income under $500,000 a year. It exempts $30,000 of a home’s value from school taxes, saving the average homeowner $700 annually.

Hampton Supervisor David O’Brien said he re-registered online and described the process as “fairly simple,” and said it took less than 15 minutes.

Homeowners can re-register online at www.tax.ny.gov or by phone at 457-2036.

 

 

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Obituary: William J. Moore

Pawlet, Vermont – William J Moore, 91, passed away at Rutland Regional Medical Center on February 17, 2020 after a […]

Obituary: James W. Mead Jr.

James W Mead Jr obit photo

Hampton, NY – James W. Mead Jr. passed away following a long illness. Jim was born on November 10, 1960 […]

Obituary: Helen M. Mead

Granville, NY – Helen Martin Mead, age 93, went home to be with her Lord on February 14, 2020 from […]

Obituary: Lori Ann (Bruce Paddock) Dashnaw

Lori Dashnaw obit photo

South Glens Falls-Lori Ann (Bruce Paddock) Dashnaw, 61, passed into the loving arms of the Lord at her home on […]

Obituary: Martin H. Kelly

Martin H Kelly obit photo

Wells, VT – On February 13,2020 Martin Henry Kelly, 76, passed away at Albany Medical Center, Albany, New York due […]

Obituary: Marilyn J. Loomis

Granville, NY – Marilyn Joanne Loomis, passed away at her home on February 13, 2020 following a long illness. Marilyn […]

Senior Times – February 2020

Senior Times February.pdf-web.pdf

Lakes Region Freepress – 02/14/20

Lakes_2_14_20.pdf-web.pdf

North Country Freepress – 02/14/20

FreePress_2_14_20.pdf-web.pdf

Lakes Classifieds – 02/14/20

Lakes Class 2_14_20.pdf-web.pdf

Classifieds 02/12/20

Classifides 2_13_20.pdf-web.pdf

518 Wheels – 02/13/20

518 Wheels 2_14_20.pdf-web.pdf