What is STAR?
STAR is the New York State School Tax Relief Program. It exempts a portion of a home’s full value from school property tax for eligible homeowners. New Yorkers who own and live in their homes and meet certain income requirements can participate in the STAR program for their primary residence.
The STAR Program has two kinds of exemptions:
- Basic STAR: This exemption is available for owner-occupied, primary residences regardless of the owners’ ages for those with household incomes below $500,000. The program works by exempting a portion of the full value of a home from school taxes. Each city or town has a different exemption amount. Homeowners only need to apply for Basic STAR once and it remains in effect for that property each year. For many homeowners, STAR is applied directly to property tax bills. However, in 2016, the state began transitioning STAR to a credit that comes in the form of a check directly from the state. When people buy a new home (first-time or otherwise), they need to register for this credit program to receive STAR.
- Enhanced STAR: This exemption is available for the primary residences of people age 65 and older with yearly household incomes that do not exceed a level set by the state. Like Basic STAR, this program exempts a portion of the owner’s residence from school taxes, but the Enhanced STAR exemption is larger. Again, each city or town has a different exemption amount. Homeowners must reapply for Enhanced STAR every year (to verify eligibility).
STAR is a state program, which school districts have no control over. Homeowners must go through their town assessor’s office to apply for the exemptions.
More information about the STAR program can be obtained from the New York State Department of Tax and Finance or from the city assessor’s office.
Visit www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/star/special_eligibility.htm for guidance on special eligibility rules for seniors with limited incomes, residents of cooperative apartments and manufactured home parks, surviving spouses, nursing home residents, trusts and life estates. Under a law passed in 2015, all seniors applying for Enhanced STAR have the option of participating in an Income Verification Program (IVP) that allows seniors to authorize the assessor to have their incomes verified in subsequent years by the Department of Taxation and Finance.