I want to make all homeowners who receive School Tax Relief (STAR) benefits aware of important changes to the program. While the amount homeowners receive may not change, how they see the savings might.

The STAR tax credit is available to homeowners earning $500,000 a year or less. This year, homeowners making between $250,000 and $500,000 will receive their reimbursement as a check rather than as a tax exemption. This check is sent from the state Department of Tax and Finance to homeowners before school taxes are due. The check system is already used by STAR participants who purchased their homes after Aug. 1, 2015.

STAR recipients making less than $250,000 will have the option to switch to the check system and receive a 2 percent increase in savings. Those who continue to receive the exemption on their tax bills will receive the same amount as last year. To learn more about this option, see tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/default.htm.

Senior citizens enrolled in the Enhanced STAR program with incomes up to $86,300 must ensure they are registered online with the state’s income verification system. This will not affect property owners who purchased their homes after Aug. 1, 2015, nor will it affect Enhanced STAR eligibility. More information can be found at tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/ivp.htm.

The state Department of Tax and Finance will be sending letters to affected homeowners outlining these changes.

Sandy Galef, Albany
Galef represents Philipstown in the state Assembly.

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Type: Opinion

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