Friday, February 26, 2021 / by Vanessa Saunders
By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.
If you’re a senior citizen and are new to STAR, New York’s school property tax savings program, you may have to wait for a check from the state instead of having your benefit debited from your tax bill. The changes in policy were in Cuomo’s budget plan released last month, and it has Albany leaders hopping mad.
While not reducing any home owners benefits, the policy for people enrolled in STAR and currently getting the credit instead of checks do not get the 2% increase each year in their benefit.
Since it began in 1993, the STAR program has given homeowners earning less than $500,000 annually a rebate on their school taxes. More than two million New York residents receive the benefit, and the savings are significant. Basic STAR enrollees receive an average of $800 a year. Enhanced STAR for senior citizens is about $1,400. The rate is tied to the home’s assessed value.
Cuomo and the Legislature have continued to push taxpayers to STAR checks. First it was all first time homeowners, or anyone moving into a different one were put on the check program. More recently, anyone earning between $250,000 and $500,000 a year had to wait for checks.
Legislators say it’s Governor Cuomo’s latest attempt to switch people to checks, requiring them to wait until the check arrives in time to pay their tax bill, usually due September 30. Rockland County Assemblyman Ken Zabrowski commented in a public statement, "Another year, another whack at the STAR program. None of these changes make any sense."