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Basic STAR changes coming for 2014

— Taxpayers with a Basic STAR exemption will have to register with the state in order to continue receiving the discount in 2014.

Essex County Director of Real Property Tax Services Charli Lewis spoke with members of the county’s Finance Committee April 15 about changes coming up in the state’s STAR exemption program.

“All homeowners receiving the basic will have to register with the New York State Tax Department by April 1, 2014, in order to continue to receive the Basic STAR,” Lewis said. “It will not affect anyone with the enhanced STAR, just the basic. This does not apply to this year.”

Lewis said that the state will mail out Basic STAR recipients information on when and how to register with the tax department.

“The department will be getting ahold of them. They do not have to get ahold of the assessor,” she said.

Lewis said that the legislation was put in place to help catch those who may be receiving more than one STAR exemption.

“Doing this in an effort to catch up with double dippers,” Lewis said. “The state is hoping to create a state-wide database for names that come up the same and then check them with their tax records.”

Lewis expressed her hope that once the database is created, local assessors would be able to use that information in working locally.

“The state is concerned about the STAR exemption because it is their exemptions,” she said. “When an assessor is asked to remove an exemption, they will also look at the other exemptions the person may have. But there are many other exemptions that assessors have to look at that this database could help them with.”

Senior citizens receiving the Enhanced STAR are not affected by the new registration requirement, but they must continue to apply annually or participate in the Income Verification Program.

Lewis said at there is new legislation that would void the STAR exemption if one or more property owners that receive the exemption have unpaid state tax debt as of May 31 of this year. The state will notify any delinquent taxpayer of the impending suspension at least 45 days prior to the date of potential suspension.

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Photo by Keith Lobdell

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