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STAR and BAR changes in the 2019–2020 Enacted State Budget 04/11/19

In addition to the provisions below, the state budget included other property-tax related measures. Stay tuned for more information in future editions of Assessment Community Weekly.

STAR changes in the state budget

2019-2020 Enacted State Budget includes several provisions impacting the STAR Program.

To encourage property owners to register for the STAR credit, the budget:

  • caps the annual growth in STAR exemption savings at 0%, and
  • reduces the income limit for the Basic STAR exemption to $250,000.

STAR credits, however, can continue to increase up to 2% annually and the Basic income limit for the STAR credit remains $500,000.

If you are contacted by a property owner who wants to switch from the STAR exemption to the STAR credit

Advise them that there are two steps they need to take:

  1. Follow the instructions for STAR exemption removal and renunciation.
  2. Register with our department for the STAR credit online (see Register for the STAR credit) or by phone (518-457-2036). We expect to have a simpler process in place in the near future, and we will notify you when available. Until then, property owners who wish to switch should follow steps 1 and 2 above.

In the upcoming days, we will provide you with a list of properties that are ineligible for a 2019 STAR exemption due to income exceeding $250,000 in 2017. It is important that you remove the exemption from those properties before publishing the tentative assessment roll; however, you do not need to mail notifications.

We will notify impacted property owners that they are ineligible for the exemption but that they can register to receive the credit if their income is $500,000 or less.

In addition, we are developing materials to make property owners aware of the change in the STAR savings cap.

Additional STAR changes in the budget

  • The good cause option for seniors who miss the Enhanced STAR exemption application deadline is extended to first-time Enhanced STAR applicants.
  • The 6-year penalty for material misstatements related to STAR is extended to the STAR credit.
  • The language on the school tax bill for STAR credit recipients is amended to read: An estimated STAR check has been or will be mailed to you by the NYS Tax Department. Any overpayment or underpayment can be reconciled on your next tax return or STAR credit check.
  • Beginning with 2020 assessment rolls, in addition to determining income eligibility, the Tax Department can annually review Enhanced STAR exemption eligibility based on age and residency.
  • The $500 processing fee for renouncing a STAR exemption prior to the school tax levy is eliminated.

New option to appoint BAR members

The state budget also includes a provision to assist municipalities that have difficulty appointing qualified board of assessment review (BAR) members. The provision allows a county and municipality to agree that the county’s legislative body will appoint BAR members for the municipality. The members must reside in the county, but not necessarily in the municipality.

The new subdivision (5) of RPTL §1537 reads:

An agreement between an assessing unit and a county for assessment review services shall provide for the members of the board of assessment review of the assessing unit to be appointed by the legislative body of the county upon the recommendation of the county director of the real property tax services. Each member so appointed shall be a resident of the county but need not be a resident of the assessing unit. The board of assessment review as so constituted shall have the authority to receive, review and resolve petitions for assessment review filed in such assessing unit, and for the corrections of errors therein, to the full extent set forth in article five of this chapter.