The beginning of the year seems to be the time to think about ways to save money. One of those ways is to explore property tax exemptions. The STAR exemption for school taxes has been helpful to many property owners.
If you have received the basic STAR exemption in the past, recent legislation required everyone to register with the NYS Tax Department by Dec. 31 to activate the exemption for 2014 and future years. As of Jan. 28, www.tax.ny.gov indicates that while the deadline has passed, registrations are still being accepted. A call to the office on Jan. 24 confirmed that registrations are still being accepted, but no information was available regarding when the ability to register would stop.
If you do not complete the registration for 2014, you will not receive the exemption and will need to register before Dec. 31 to have it reinstated for 2015. Basic STAR eligibility includes home ownership and that the home is your primary residence, no age restriction and income of $500,000 or less.
The Enhanced STAR is for property owners 65 or older with income of $81,900 or less, for their primary residence. To receive the Enhanced STAR, you must apply by March 1 of each year through your town assessor or participate in the income verification program. The income verification program involves completing a form in addition to the STAR application, supplying your Social Security number and authorizing the Department of Taxation and Finance to verify your income annually.
Other tax exemptions besides STAR also exist. Many veterans are eligible for tax exemptions, for county and some town and village taxes. Senior citizens may also qualify based on income. The county income limit is $16,000 per year, with towns and villages ranging from $9,000 to $16,000, with one village in Otsego County not offering an exemption. There also may be exemptions for business investment or solar or wind energy.