NYS urging STAR recipients to re-apply
Updated: Tuesday, August 27 2013, 03:39 PM EDT
Albany, N.Y. --- If you are a homeowner receiving benefits through the Basic STAR Exemption program you will need to re-apply for that program with the state.
Eligible recipients own a home and have a combined household income of less than $500,000 a year.
The reason for this application period is audits and investigations in the last year that revealed widespread abuses and oversights in the system. The most common problem was property owners who receive benefits from the STAR program on two or more properties when only their primary residence is eligible.
In March a 13WHAM Waste Watch report showed how even State Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean) fell victim to the program’s lack of oversight when it was discovered that she was among the many “double-dipping” on the program’s benefits. While receiving STAR exemptions on her home in Olean the longtime Republican Senator was also receiving the same exemptions on a condo she owned in the Albany area.
The local assessor in the Albany area took responsibility for the clerical error and Sen. Young made it clear she planned to repay the appropriate amount in property takes.
A New York State Comptroller’s Audit showed as many as 20% of STAR benefits were improper or duplicates.
To rectify the problem the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is asking all STAR recipients to re-apply for those benefits by the end of 2013.
Letters are being sent to homeowners in 17 Western New York counties this week. The process is simple and takes only a few minutes online. Below are the ways you can re-apply before December 31, 2013.
NOTE: This does NOT impact seniors who receive benefits through the Enhanced STAR program.
Register Online: www.tax.ny.gov
Register by Phone: 518-457-2036