STATEN ISLAND — Staten Island homeowners have been getting an automatic property tax break, but not any more.
New guidelines to cut down on fraud now require those receiving the basic exemption through the New York State STAR program to participate in a one-time re-register this year in order to continue receiving the benefit.
Registration can be done online or by phone and continues through Dec. 31.
To help speed the process of making property owners aware of the new procedure, the New York State Tax Department has started mailing STAR Registration letters to more than 564,000 homeowners in New York City.
All homeowners receiving the Basic STAR benefit (available on the primary residence of homeowners who earn less than $500,000) will need to register with the state Department of Taxation and Finance to continue receiving the exemption in 2014 and subsequent years. Homeowners will not need to re-register annually.
The requirement applies even though New York City homeowners initially applied to the New York City Department of Finance.
Seniors who receive Enhanced STAR will be exempt from the new requirements and will not need to register; they will continue to perform their annual registrations or participate in the Income Verification Program as in past years.
Additionally, first-time applicants are not affected by this year’s registration procedure and must file Form RP-425, Application for School Tax Relief Exemption, with their local assessor.
To support the registration effort and to discourage fraud and abuse, individual fines and penalties were incorporated into the program for intentional misinformation or if the exemption is revoked.
Homeowners can register through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s website or by phone.
“As a homeowner, you first received Basic STAR by filing an application with the New York City Finance Department,” said Commissioner Thomas H. Mattox. “As part of the governor’s reform initiative, however, you also must register with the New York State Tax Department – one time only – to continue receiving the exemption.”
The STAR exemption is only available on a homeowner’s primary residence – though a recent investigation by the New York State Tax Department showed some homeowners were claiming the exemption on more than one property.
Registration on the Tax Department Web site — tax.ny.gov — is fast, easy, secure, and takes most homeowners only two to four minutes to complete. Homeowners without Internet access can register with a Department representative by calling 518-457-2036.
courtesy from Thomas Checchi