The NYS School Tax Relief (STAR) program provides eligible homeowners in New York State with relief on their property taxes. Prior to 2019, the relief given was in the form of an exemption on the school property tax bill, but changes to this program will take effect for the 2019 application year. These changes have expanded the relief for some and changed it for others.
For 2019, if you are a STAR recipient, you can receive the benefit in one of two ways
- The STAR credit program, which is open to eligible homeowners whose income is $500,000 or less. This is new in 2019 – giving the homeowner a refund check in the mail from the NYS Tax Department.
- The STAR exemption, where a homeowner receives a direct reduction on their school tax bill in the form of an exemption from the value of the home. This option is closed to new applicants.
There is also an Enhanced STAR program for qualifying senior citizens ages 65 and older, which provides increased savings. There are credit and exemption options for the Enhanced STAR program as well.
- The value of the STAR credit may increase by as much as 2% each year, but the STAR exemption cannot increase.
- The income limit for the Basic STAR exemption is now $250,000 (based off of 2017 tax return for 2019 benefit). This means that those with income levels above $250,000 up to $500,000 are only eligible for the STAR credit option.
What Do You Need to Do?
- If your income is more than $250,000, you must switch to the STAR credit program to continue receiving your benefit.
- If your income is $250,000 or less, you have the option to switch, but remember that the credit can increase each year while the exemption will not.
Register for the Credit
You can register for the STAR credit program at https://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/default.htm. To register, you’ll need the following information:
- Names and social security numbers for all owners of the property and their spouses
- The primary residence of the owners and their spouses
- Approximate date the owners purchased the property and names of sellers
- 2018 school tax bill
- Address of any residential property owned in another state
- Legal name of trust owner (if applicable)
- 2017 federal or state income tax returns for all owners
Once the homeowner registers, a confirmation page with a confirmation number should be saved. A copy of the confirmation will be emailed to the registrant if an email address is provided. The NYS Tax Department will then review the application to determine eligibility. Once confirmed, the homeowner will receive a check for the amount of the benefit.
Be sure to take a moment to review these important changes to the NYS STAR Program for 2019. Some homeowners will be required to switch to the new credit option and must register to do so. Reach out to us today to learn more about how to make the STAR benefit work for you.
This material has been prepared for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. Should you require any such advice, please contact us directly. The information contained herein does not create, and your review or use of the information does not constitute, an accountant-client relationship.