By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Thousands of homeowners across New York could lose out on getting a break on their property taxes because the city isn’t doing enough to inform them of an important tax relief program, according to Councilman Vincent Gentile.
Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) is calling on the New York City Department of Finance to notify homeowners that they are required to reapply for the New York State School Tax Relief Program (STAR), the popular tax relief program that provides a partial exemption from school property taxes.
“This is a proverbial pot of gold for hardworking New Yorkers struggling to get by. It should not be kept secret. Homeowners need to be made aware of the protocols and deadlines,” Gentile said.
The New York State School Tax Relief Program requires registration. For those enrolled in STAR last year, the deadline to register was April 1. But the state is still accepting late registrations, Gentile said. New STAR enrollees will be required to register at the time they apply for the program.
“The STAR program has succeeded in delivering millions of dollars in tax relief. The Department of Finance should be doing everything it possibly can in order to notify homeowners that they risk missing out on this great program if they don’t reapply,” Gentile said.
New York's STAR program provides a partial exemption from school taxes for most homeowners. The program does not affect the overall revenue given to a school district because the state makes up the difference in state aid given to the school district, according to Gentile.
Gentile said he plans to introduce legislation which would require the Dept. of Finance to provide a mailed notice to property owners along with information regarding the deadline for STAR registration, instructions for late registration, and the web address and phone number to register with the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Home.
“We need to make sure people are being given all the tools they need to get some relief. When it comes to tax abatement programs, knowledge is power,” Gentile said.