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Wayne Post
  • BRIAN KOLB: Don’t miss STAR exemption deadline

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  • December can be a busy month for families in the Finger Lakes region and across New York. The holiday season brings with it events and celebrations, but it also adds a number of items to almost everyone’s “To-Do List.” For property owners in the Finger Lakes, one item needs to be placed near the top of that list: re-register for the state STAR exemption. Don’t miss the deadline to re-register.
    The STAR program provides important school tax-relief exemptions for property owners. On average, participants in the program receive a $700 benefit. A new law requires homeowners to re-register for the program by Dec. 31. The requirement is part of an effort to root out abuse within the system. The re-registration will only be required once. Current homeowners will not have to apply in future years.
    It’s important to note that the new requirement does not pertain to seniors receiving Enhanced STAR. Seniors must continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program for their Enhanced STAR savings.
    How to complete the process
    There are still homeowners who need to apply. In Ontario County, 81 percent of eligible property owners have completed the re-registration. In Seneca County, 79 percent have completed the process. It’s important that those numbers increase before the Dec. 31 deadline. There are only a few short steps necessary to re-register:
    - Provide your STAR code (contained in the letter, or available online by using the STAR code lookup);
    - Provide names and social security numbers of all owners of the property and spouses;
    - Verify that the property is the primary residence of one of its owners;
    - Verify that the combined income of the homeowners and spouses does not exceed $500,000; and
    - Verify that no resident owner received a residency-based tax benefit from another state.
    Homeowners can register by visiting the State Department of Taxation and Finance website at http://www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star13/default.htm, and also by telephone at (518) 457-2036, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Millions of New Yorkers rely on this important tax-relief program, so I encourage you to act quickly, before the Dec. 31 deadline arrives.
    Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, is the minority leader of the New York State Assembly.
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