School tax exemption deadline fast approaching

Dec. 31 is more than just the last day of 2013. It also marks the last day in which homeowners can register for New York State’s school tax relief program, otherwise known as STAR.

Councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park-Midwood-Bensonhurst) is among many elected officials across the borough making a last minute push to get homeowners to sign up for STAR before it’s too late.

Dec. 31 is the deadline to complete a new mandatory one-time registration with the state in order to continue receiving the basic STAR homeowner exemption on school property taxes for 2014 and the following years.

Even if homeowners have received the basic STAR exemption in the past, they must register again, Greenfield said.

Residents initially applied for the basic STAR exemption through New York City, but the new registration requirement has been instituted by the state, which funds the program. The state is enforcing the new registration requirement to make sure that only eligible homeowners receive the STAR benefit, according to Greenfield.

The exemption saves the average homeowner about $300 a year.

The program is open to homeowners with a total income of less than $500,000. It only applies to primary residences.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance sent letters to STAR recipients in all five boroughs to explain the reasoning behind the required registration, Greenfield said.

“This is a new requirement, so I want to make sure that every homeowner who receives the STAR exemption is aware that they must register with the state before the quickly-approaching Dec. 31 deadline to remain enrolled in this program,” Greenfield said.

“I know how important this benefit is to many families, which is why my office is ready to assist anyone who needs help completing the registration process. Every dollar counts, especially in these tough economic times, so make sure you register with the state before the end of the year,” the councilman said.

Homeowners who receive an exemption through the enhanced STAR program are not required to take action at this time. There is a separate process in place through the city to verify eligibility.

Residents can log on to the New York state website or call 518-457-2036 to begin the application process.

In addition, any homeowner who is not currently receiving the STAR exemption and would like to apply can visit nyc.gov/html/dof/html/property/star.shtml to download the application form.

For more information on the STAR program or for help completing the mandatory registration, call Greenfield’s office at 718-853-2704.