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Registration for the STAR exemption, by county. Image:
Registration for the STAR exemption, by county. Image:

Why you have to register (again) for the STAR exemption

New York state is putting out the word that if you want your STAR Property Tax exemption to continue, you need to register. If you're a homeowner, you probably already know that: The state has, according to a press release, sent letters to all of the nearly 2.7 million homeowners who claimed the exemption last year. But if you've already claimed the exemption, why do you need to register again?

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Reported by

Nora Flaherty
Digital Editor, News

The Basic STAR exemption (that's opposed to the Enhanced STAR exemption) exempts the first $30,000 of the full value of a primary residence from school taxes; it's for households where income is less than $500,000. The state says the exemption saves people an average of $700 per year.

In the past, homeowners have registered for the exemption locally, and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance spokesperson Cary Ziter says that meant there wasn't a central database of people receiving it: "All the locals didn't have a way to tell, say, that you had a summer home in Nassau County, but you lived in Orange County, the state would have no way of knowing."

After investigating, Ziter says, the state found out thousands of people were taking advantage of that: "There was some double-dipping…and so the idea of making everyone register with the state is a way of eliminating that double-dipping."

So now New York will keep track of your STAR exemption, and catch you out if you try to register both your main and your summer home. You can register online or call (518) 457-2036, but you need to do it by December 31.

The state's reporting that more than 2 million qualified homeowners have registered. If you're curious, there's a map over to the side there that shows how many have registered by county (and here's a list by municipality). The North Country seems to be doing pretty well, but we could be doing better, people!

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