Mr. Silky, Otselic Valley's Business Administrator, has information to update the community on the STAR Program. New York State School Tax Relief, or "STAR," is a school tax rebate program available to those who own a home that is their primary residence in New York, provided they earn $500,000 or less per year.
Many may not realize this, Mr. Silky told us, but New York State made changes to the STAR program back in 2016. The STAR program has always been exemption based (so you get a discount on your school tax bill), but the most significant change is that it is now credit based, meaning the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance will issue you a check for your STAR rebate.
Here is what you need to know about the STAR changes:
- The very first and most important piece of information is that for most people, switching to the STAR credit check is optional. It is not mandatory. If you decide to do nothing, you will not lose your STAR exemption.
- If your 2017 income was over $250,000 but less than $500,000, then the State wil automatically switch you from the STAR exemption program into the STAR credit/rebate check program. You do not need to contact the assessor's office. The State will notify you in writing if this occurs.
- If you decide that you want to switch to the rebate check, this decision is irrevocable. You won't be able to switch back to the exemption.
- If you decide to switch, your school tax bill will no longer have a STAR exemption. Your school tax bill will be for the full amount. The STAR credit check is intended to arrive in your mailbox some time during the month your school tax bill is mailed, although this is not guaranteed.
- For those property owners who choose to switch, we recommend that you contact your mortgage escrow services because the school tax bill will be higher than anticipated. This could have an unanticipated impact on your monthly mortgage payment.
- Beginning in 2019, STAR exemptions cannot exceed the previous year's dollar savings. The effect of this change is that you will not again see a tax exemption increase.
- Beginning in 2019, STAR credit checks can exceed the previous year's credit check by up to but capped at 2%. This will only be possible if you elect to switch from EXEMPTION TO CREDIT.
- You do not need to contact the assessor's office in order to make the switch. This is now handled by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
- The deadline to switch is June 17 of every year. If you make the switch after that date, it will not be effective until the following year unless you complete a STAR Renunciation form RP-496 prior to the billing of the school taxes.
- You can make the switch online or by telephone; visit the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance website, or call 518-457-2036.
SOURCE: Information was provided by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance