Odell Urges Residents Seek Update on Exemptions

Representatives from the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF) will give a brief presentation to the Putnam County Legislature about the Basic School Tax Relief (STAR) Exemption registration program during their Sept. 3 meeting. The re-registration is part of a new initiative to protect New Yorkers against inappropriate or fraudulent STAR exemptions.

NYSDTF Southern Regional Director John Wolham said those already registered for the STAR exemption will have to re-register.

“Resident homeowners who currently receive the Basic STAR exemption must register again in order to receive the exemption in 2014 and subsequent years,” Wolham said. “They will not have to re-register every year.”

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell would remind resident homeowners to check out all exemptions they may be entitled to use.

“I would ask that all resident homeowners check to see if they qualify for further tax reductions,” said Odell. “You may be eligible for additional tax relief from exemptions such as the Aged All Exemption for those who are 65 years of age or older and who meet the low income requirement.”

Odell said senior homeowners must re-apply annually for their Enhanced STAR benefit and participate in the Income Verification Program. She noted there are other exemptions including those available to Putnam veterans who own homes.

“There are veteran exemptions for those who are honorably discharged from military service and who served in combat situations or were disabled. It’s important that everyone know that these exemptions exist,” Odell said.   

Homeowners presently receiving the Basic STAR exemption for 2013 should receive a letter in the mail along with complete instructions on how to re-register. The letters are scheduled to be mailed out during the week of September 9 -13. The letters will include a STAR code that homeowners will need in order to register.

“The fastest and easiest way for homeowners to register is through the Tax Department’s website, www.tax.ny.gov,” Wolham said. “They will need to have their STAR code and provide some basic information about their eligibility.”

Wolham said along with knowing their code, homeowners will have to confirm the property address; provide names and Social Security numbers for all owners of the property and spouses; confirm that the property is the primary residence of one of the owners (married couples with multiple residences may only claim one STAR exemption); confirm that the combined income of the owners and their spouses who reside at the property does not exceed $500,000; and confirm that no resident owner receives a residency-based tax exemption from another state.

Those unable to register online can register by phone at (518) 457-2036.

Resident homeowners applying for STAR for the first time will not be affected by this year’s registration procedure. New applicants must use Form RP-425, Application for School Tax Relief (STAR) Exemption which is available on the Tax Department’s website and then file the application with their local assessor.

Registration opened August 19, 2013 and will continue through December 31, 2013. Homeowners who have not registered by deadline will receive reminders in December and January 2014. In February, Wolham said the Tax Department will notify assessors and give them the names of homeowners who failed to register or who were determined to be ineligible for STAR.

“These homeowners will then have the right to a an administrative review by the Tax Department, and review before the State Board of Real Property Tax Services,” Wolham said.