---- — ALBANY — The State Department of Taxation and Finance has begun mailing STAR registration letters to about 320,000 homeowners in 19 counties in the North Country and eastern region.
Homeowners have until Dec. 31, 2013, to register for the property-tax exemption, either by telephone or online.
The Basic STAR exemption, a press release said, is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the combined income of resident owners and their spouses is $500,000 or less.
Married couples with multiple residences are eligible to receive only one STAR exemption.
Homeowners in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties are among those targeted by letters sent out this week by the Taxation Department.
The statewide campaign will reach a total 2.6 million homeowners.
The registration facilitates Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2013-14 budget initiative to eliminate inappropriate STAR exemptions and save taxpayers money overall, the release said.
“The STAR exemption is only available on a homeowner’s primary residence,” it said, “though an investigation by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance showed some homeowners were claiming the exemption on more than one property.”
Within the first two weeks open for registration, more than 185,000 homeowners signed up, Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox said in the release.
“The registration is fast, easy and secure and will take most New Yorkers only two to four minutes.”
NOT ENHANCED STAR
The registration applies only to Basic STAR recipients, the release said, noting that senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption are not affected.
To continue receiving Enhanced STAR, seniors must continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program.
ONLINE, VIA PHONE
The Tax Department letter includes registration instructions for online application; registration can also be done by calling 457-2036.
STAR Registration applies to Basic STAR exemptions for 2014 and beyond; it doesn’t impact 2013 exemptions.
Homeowners will not have to re-register every year. Based on the information provided in the registration process, the Tax Department will monitor homeowners’ eligibility in future years.
To register online, go to www.tax.ny.gov.