The window is fast closing to register for the Basic STAR property-tax exemption, and surprisingly, many people across New York still haven’t done so.
If they don’t register by Dec. 31, they risk losing an exemption that they are entitled to receive.
Senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR exemption don’t have to do anything to keep their property-tax discount. It’s all the other property owners who participate in the Basic STAR program who need to sign up.
Those who haven’t yet registered — there are still hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who haven’t, according to New York State Department of Taxation — are running out of time.
Homeowners who haven’t registered will be receiving telephone calls reminding them to sign up for this valuable benefit. We are pleased that this step will be taken because people who have a right to the exemption should not be excluded just because the state decided that they must re-register this year.
The Basic STAR exemption is available on the primary residence of homeowners with incomes under $500,000. The push for new registrations stems from a Tax Department investigation that found thousands of taxpayers receiving STAR exemptions on more than one property.
To ensure that every eligible homeowner registers by the Dec. 31 deadline, the Tax Department has been holding hundreds of local registration events, has fielded more than 500,000 phone calls and sent out multiple mailings — to all 2.7 million taxpayers who claimed the exemption last year, as well to local officials in every city, town and school district.
The average homeowner saves $700 a year as a result of the exemption. That’s certainly worth the few minutes it takes to register online.
The automatic telephone calls, which have already begun, will deliver a short, pre-recorded reminder to those who’ve yet to register:
“This is the New York State Tax Department with an important message. Our records indicate you may lose your Basic STAR property-tax exemption because you have not yet registered with the Tax Department. STAR can save you hundreds of dollars on your school-tax bill. Please take four minutes and register today at www.tax.ny.gov, or if you don’t have Internet access, call us at (518) 457-2036.”
It’s definitely one of the rare robo-calls that you will want to get, so listen to the message.
The whole idea for registration was to save the state from getting ripped off by cheating property owners who claimed exemptions they didn’t deserve.
It’s important that those who should get the STAR exemption, do so. We hope state and local official will pull out all the stops to make sure people get the break they deserve.