Question: I currently receive Enhanced STAR benefits. My friend told me that the regulations have changed, and now there is a different way to qualify, is that correct?
Answer: Great question! Enhanced STAR is the tax rebate program in New York available to qualifying Seniors. Enhanced STAR is designed to refund a portion of the property taxes earmarked for the local school district to Seniors over age 65 who meet the income cap, currently set at $86,300.00. The income is determined by adding the income as reported on the owner’s tax return. In the past, seniors would have to qualify each year by filling out a form and submitting their most recent tax return. This year, the program is making the “Income Verification Program” or IVP mandatory for all enrollees.
In the past, the IVP was optional for individuals applying for Enhanced Star. If you have already enrolled in the program, there is nothing you need to do. If you have not used the IVP and you are applying for the first time or renewing your application, you must enroll in the IVP. You will only need to enroll this year and you will receive the exemption every year without filling out additional documentation (assuming you qualify each year). The forms for this one-time application can be found online at on.ny.gov/2BXwcNu. By submitting the forms, you authorize the Department of Taxation and Finance to annually verify your income by using your Social Security numbers.
The Department of Taxation and Finance will review your income each year and let the assessor know if you qualify. Your income information will no longer be shared with your local tax assessor. The only information given to the tax assessor is whether your income satisfies the eligibility requirements.
The deadline to enroll in the Enhanced Star Program in Suffolk County is March 1, 2019.
- Nancy Burner, Esq. and Robin Burner Daleo, Esq.