What is the STAR exemption?
All owners of one, two, or three family homes as well as condominiums, manufactured homes and farm residences are eligible for the exemption. The program has two components outlined below:
Basic Star exemption- this exemption is available for owner-occupied residences regardless of age and income of the owner’s. It is available on a primary residence only, therefore, only one exemption is available per person. The exemption reduces the amount of the taxable value of the property. The value of the exemption is $30,000 of assessed value. In municipalities that are not assessed at 100%, the exemption is adjusted by the equalization rate. This exemption does not need to be re-applied for each year unless one should move to a different primary residence.
Enhanced Star exemption- this exemption is available for the owner of a primary residence that is 65 years and above and who’s income falls below the state maximum which is increased each year. (currently the maximum is $79,050 adjusted gross income) The exemption reduces the amount of the taxable value of the property and the amount of the exemption varies by municipality. You can view your municipalities exemption amount by visiting NYS Star exemption page. Once again, in municipalities that are not assessed at 100%, the exemption is adjusted by the equalization rate. For couples, only one needs to be 65 years of age, however, the income will include that for both spouses. Because of the income eligibility component, this exemption needs to be renewed every year. A copy of an income tax return from 2 years prior is used to verify income levels. The Income Verification Program is available, upon authorization, for those who would rather have their income verified automatically by the state. This program is available for those owners who are renewing their exemption and does not require the owner to reapply for the exemption every year.
To apply for either of these exemptions, one files exemption form RP425 with their local assessor by taxable status date. This date in the city of Auburn is February 1st while March 1st is the last date to file in any of the outlying towns. The forms are available from the local assessor or may be found online at www.orps.state.ny.us or at the county office of Real Property Services.
The Star exemption reduces the amount of school taxes owed. It does NOT affect any other property taxes. Also, even some mixed use properties are able to receive a partial Star exemption if a portion of the property includes an owner’s residence. One other caveat, if one receives the Star exemption on their NY property, they may NOT receive a homestead exemption on their Florida property. The states cross reference their databases and penalties are applied if fraud is found. Penalties include removal from the Star program, a monetary fine and/or criminal charges.