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Abuse leads to reapplication for Basic STAR Exemption

Thanks to a statewide crack-down of abuse, homeowners who currently receive the Basic STAR Exemption will need to reapply for the exemption by December 31, 2013 in order to continue receiving the tax break.

Homeowners can reapply online at www.tax.ny.gov or by calling (518) 457-2036. If you miss the deadline there will be an appeals process available, however you may be required to pay the full tax bill before receiving any refund from STAR.

According to New York Real Property Tax Law, the School Tax Relief (STAR) exemption provides a partial exemption from school taxes for most owner-occupied, primary residences. Basic STAR is available for an owner-occupied, primary residence where the income of owners and their spouses is less than $500,000.

Local assessors accept and process the applications for STAR exemptions. The New York State Office of Real Property Tax Services oversees local property assessment administration, and is responsible for establishing STAR property tax exemption amounts.

A statewide audit, which reviewed local assessors’ administration of the STAR program for the period January 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011, found that many property owners were abusing the program. These abuses included property owners’ misrepresentations on their STAR applications that result in their receiving STAR exemptions on multiple properties, both in and out of New York State.

Property owners who make misrepresentations on their STAR applications are subject to a $100 penalty, shall be prohibited from receiving the STAR exemption for five years, and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

By Eric J. Einhart, Esq. – Guest Blogger

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