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Frequently Asked STAR Questions
What is STAR?
How do I get the Basic STAR exemption?
Where do I get the STAR application?
Is there a deadline by which I must file the application form?
Where do I file the STAR application form?
How will I know how much STAR is saving me in tax dollars?
Does STAR apply to all taxes on my property?
Is STAR available on my vacation residence?
What if I buy a new home?
What if part of my property is used for other than residential purposes?
I currently receive the low-income senior citizens exemption. Can I receive the STAR benefits and still keep my other exemption?
How do I get the Enhanced STAR exemption?
What is the definition of income for the Enhanced STAR exemption?
Are senior citizens required to prove their age?
Can the Enhanced exemption be granted to nursing home residents who own their homes?
Can a surviving spouse who is not 65 years old continue to receive the Enhanced exemption?
How is STAR administered where property is in a trust?
How is STAR administered where property is in a life estate?




What is STAR?

STAR is New York State's School Tax Relief Program that includes a school property tax rebate program and a partial property tax exemption from school taxes. All New Yorkers who own and live in their one, two, or three family home, condominium, cooperative apartment, manufactured home, or farm dwelling are eligible for STAR on their primary residence.

There are two parts to the STAR property tax exemption:

  • The Basic STAR exemption is available for owner-occupied, primary residences regardless of the owner's age, where the income of the owners and spouses who reside on the property does not exceed $500,000.

  • The Enhanced STAR exemption is available for the primary residences of senior citizens (age 65 and older) with yearly household incomes not exceeding a statewide standard. For property owned by a husband and wife, or by siblings, only one of them must be at least 65 years of age as of December 31 of the year in which the exemption will begin to qualify for the Enhanced exemption. Their combined annual income, however, must not exceed the STAR income standard.

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How do I get the Basic STAR exemption?

You must file an application with your local assessor. The application has been made as simple as possible. Property owners who are granted the Basic STAR exemption generally will not need to reapply in subsequent years unless the State is unable to verify your income. However, Basic STAR recipients will need to notify their assessor if their primary residence changes.

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Where do I get the STAR application?

STAR applications are available from your local assessor or on the internet.

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Is there a deadline by which I must file the application form?

Yes, the deadline for filing in the Town of Warwick is March 1st.

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Where do I file the STAR application form?

The application is filed at our office ( Assessor’s Office, Town of Warwick. )

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How will I know how much STAR is saving me in tax dollars?

As part of the STAR program, you will receive a school property tax bill that will clearly state the amount of the STAR exemption and your school tax savings on your September school tax bill.

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Does STAR apply to all taxes on my property?

No. The STAR exemption applies only to school district taxes. It does not apply to property taxes for other purposes, such as county or town.

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Is STAR available on my vacation residence?

STAR will reduce school property taxes on your primary residence only. There is no one single factor that determines whether a property is your primary residence, but factors such as voting, vehicle registrations, and length of time spent each year on the property are relevant. Our office will ask you to provide proof of residency with the application. In addition, we may occasionally request proof of residence after the exemption has been granted, to verify that the property remains your primary residence.

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What if I buy a new home?

Your STAR tax exemption is not transferred automatically. You need to apply for the exemption by the deadline on your new primary residence.

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What if part of my property is used for other than residential purposes?

In the case of a mixed-use property where the property is used partially as the owner's primary residence and partially for some other use, the portion of the property used as a residence would be eligible for STAR.

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I currently receive the low-income senior citizens exemption. Can I receive the STAR benefits and still keep my other exemption?

Yes. STAR requires that we apply the existing exemption and any other applicable exemption to the property's assessed value before applying the STAR exemption. This will result in greater tax savings for eligible homeowners. In addition, low-income senior citizen homeowners who receive the existing Senior Citizen exemption automatically qualify for the Enhanced STAR exemption. As a result, they need only to file and qualify for the Senior Citizen exemption, and they will receive both that exemption and the Enhanced STAR exemption.

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How do I get the Enhanced STAR exemption?

You must file an application with our office. Senior citizens applying for the Enhanced STAR exemption must demonstrate that the combined income of all of the owners of the property, and of any owner’s spouse who resides on the premises, is no greater than the income standard for the applicable income tax year. You may do this in one of two ways:

Option 1: Traditional method
Submit a copy of your income tax return(s) for the appropriate income tax year to the assessor with your STAR application by the application deadline each year.

Option 2: STAR Income Verification Program
Supply your Social Security Number(s) and authorize the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to verify your income eligibility each year. If you choose this option, you do not need to submit an application and copy of your tax return(s) every year. To choose this option, in the initial year you must complete an authorization form available in our office and submit it together with a traditional STAR application and the necessary income tax return(s) by the application deadline.



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What is the definition of income for the Enhanced STAR exemption?

Income is based on the applicants’ second prior year’s income tax return. For instance, for the 2011 assessment roll, income was based on the 2009 income tax return. The combined income of all of the owners and of any owner's spouse who resides on the premises may not exceed the STAR income standard (maximum) for the applicable income tax year. Income is defined as federal "adjusted gross income" [AGI] as reported on the applicant's federal or State income tax return, less the"taxable amount" of total distributions from individual retirement commonly known as "IRAs".

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Are senior citizens required to prove their age?

Yes, but only with the initial application for STAR benefits. The law requires satisfactory proof of age, such as a birth certificate or baptismal certificate. If those documents are unavailable, a hospital birth record, an affidavit of age from the Social Security Administration, marriage record, passport, military record, immigration documents or other reliable records that prove age are acceptable. Remember, for property owned by a husband and wife, or by siblings, only one of them has to be at least 65 years old as of December 31 of the year in which the exemption will begin.

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Can the Enhanced exemption be granted to nursing home residents who own their homes?

Yes, provided that no one other than the co-owner(s) or spouse resides on the premises.

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Can a surviving spouse who is not 65 years old continue to receive the Enhanced exemption?

A surviving spouse can retain an existing Enhanced STAR exemption provided that she or he is at least 62 years old as of December 31 of the year in which the exemption will continue. Otherwise, the individual may receive the Basic STAR exemption.

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How is STAR administered where property is in a trust?

The ownership of property is split when it is placed in trust: the trustee is the legal owner; the beneficiary is the beneficial owner. However, for STAR purposes, the trust beneficiary is treated as the owner. Thus, if senior citizens create a trust and convey their home to their children as trustees, and the seniors remain in the home as the beneficiaries of the trust, then, for STAR purposes, the owners of the home are the seniors, not their children. Therefore, the seniors would be able to get the STAR benefits.

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How is STAR administered where property is in a life estate?

The life tenant is deemed to own the property; so STAR eligibility is based on the life tenant's qualifications. A life estate generally is created by a deed. Often ownership is transferred to another party with life estate use reserved for the prior owner(s) or another party. In other cases, a life estate is expressly granted by one party to another. In either case, in the eyes of the law, as long as the holder of the life estate is alive, he or she "owns" the property.

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