Legislation requires re-registration for current Basic STAR recipients

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef wants to make sure all homeowners who currently receive a Basic STAR (New York State School Tax Relief Program) exemption are aware they will have to re-register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in order to receive 2014 STAR exemptions. This change does not affect this year’s 2013 exemptions.

According to the Department of Taxation and Finance, in late September or early October the State will mail all Basic STAR recipients information about this new requirement including when and how to re-register. Re-registration is part of a new initiative to protect New Yorkers from the costs of fraudulent or inappropriate STAR exemption claims. Basic STAR exemptions applied to New Yorkers’ school tax bills are available only for a taxpayer’s primary residence. The changes establish a number of provisions aimed at discouraging fraudulent exemptions, which will include repayment of the full amount of inappropriately claimed exemptions and other fines and penalties.

“In recent times there have been occurrences where homeowners have received exemptions on multiple properties,” stated Galef. “This practice is unlawful. The STAR Program has been in existence since 1998. By requiring intermittent renewals by homeowners, the state hopes to reduce fraud that may be occurring when homeowners illegally receive exemptions on multiple properties.”

The New York State Comptroller reported earlier this year that improper exemptions cost the state $13 million in the 2011-12 year and might exceed $73 million by 2015-16. This new registration only applies to Basic STAR recipients. Seniors receiving Enhanced STAR are not affected by the new registration requirement. Seniors must, however, continue to apply annually for Enhanced STAR unless they participate in the Income Verification Program.

The details of the new STAR re-registration include the following:

Basic STAR Re-Registration Program

Owners of property that received the Basic STAR exemption for the 2012-2013 school year must re-register with the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, according to a process that will be determined by the Department.

The Commissioner will provide written notification of the registration requirement to owners at least 60 days before the registration deadline.

The Commissioner may reinstate a re-registration requirement in the future, but cannot require registered STAR recipients to re-register more than once in a three-year period if their primary address has not changed.

An administrative process is established for taxpayers who fail to submit their re-register paperwork by the established deadline, or who wish to appeal decisions of the Department.

For further information regarding the new registration program, recipients may call the STAR Registration Line at (518) 457-2036 or visit the STAR registration page online at www.tax.ny.gov.

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