State to notify residents of STAR program changes

The New York state budget adopted in April includes changes to the New York State School Tax Relief (STAR) program that could affect some Fayetteville-Manlius School District homeowners.

The state Department of Taxation and Finance plans to send STAR program participants letters with information about the changes to the program, which the state established to provide eligible homeowners with property tax relief.

Key points residents should know include:

  • The state is shifting away from a formula that reduces school tax bills before they are sent to homeowners (called an exemption) to a system that involves homeowners paying their full amount in school taxes and receiving a check from the state (called a credit).
  • If your income is more than $250,000, the state is requiring that you switch to the STAR credit to continue receiving the benefit.
  • If your income is $250,000 or less, you have the option to switch to the credit but are not required to do so.
  • The value of the new STAR credit may increase by as much as 2% each year, but the value of the original STAR exemption will not increase.

Because school districts typically send out tax bills on Sept. 1, property owners would need to switch from the STAR exemption to the credit by Aug. 1 to receive the credit this year.

Beginning in the 2015-16 fiscal year, new homeowners could only enroll in the STAR credit program. Therefore, if a resident purchased their home after Aug. 1, 2015, and is currently enrolled in the STAR program, no further action is needed to receive the maximum STAR benefit.

Although STAR exemptions apply to school property taxes, school districts do not administer the program and have no influence over the exemptions, tax savings and this latest change to the STAR program, which was implemented by the state Legislature.

More information is available on the state Department of Taxation and Finance’s STAR web page or residents can contact their local tax assessor with questions. The state Department of Taxation and Finance also runs a help line during normal business hours at 518-457-2036.