Many citizens are confused by the new STAR changes in the recent New York State budget that was passed April 1, 2019. These changes do not affect who is eligible for the program, but rather how they receive the STAR benefit.
Anyone who purchased their home after Aug. 1, 2015 and has signed up for the STAR program receives a STAR rebate check in the mail instead of the exemption which grants homeowners a reduction on their school tax bill. Those who purchased their home prior to August 2015 are grandfathered into the exemption and do not receive a check. For those who are grandfathered into the STAR exemption program, you now have a choice to make based on your individual needs.
In an effort to convince people to switch to the rebate check, the state will be increasing the rebate check amount by 2% every year*, but will not increase the reduction in the school tax bill for those grandfathered into the exemption program. Currently, a 2% increase amounts to about $15 for the average Basic STAR recipient and $30 for the average Enhanced STAR recipient. If you decide to switch to the rebate check, you must fill out a form in the Assessor’s Office by Aug. 1 to allow us to remove the exemption this year. Afterwards, you must contact New York State by phone (518-457-2036) or go on the state website at www.tax.ny.gov to enroll in the STAR rebate check program.
Our office is reminding homeowners who decide to switch to the STAR check program that they may see an increase in their monthly mortgage payment to cover the cost of the STAR amount which was previously deducted from their school bill. Homeowners who opt to receive a rebate check will receive a full school tax bill in September.
If you have any questions, please stop by our office, on the second floor of City Hall, or call our front desk at 716.439.6614.
*This increase would only take effect if the school tax rate increases.