Written by attorney Nancy Burner

STAR Exemption Deadline March 11, 2011

Because the deadline for STAR applications in Suffolk County is March 1, 2011, we think that this is the perfect time to explain the different STAR exemptions that are available to homeowners in New York State.

To begin with, STAR is the New York State Tax Relief Program which provides qualified New York homeowners with partial exemption from New York Property Taxes. Basic STAR is available on owner-occupied primary residences where the combined income of the owners is less than $500,000. Basis STAR will exempt the first $30,000.00 of the value of a home from school taxes

For the 2011-12 school year, Enhanced STAR is available to seniors, age 65 and older whose combined earnings were less than $79,050.00 in 2009. Those who are eligible for Enhanced Star will receive a benefit equal to the first $60,100.00 of the full value of their home being exempted from school taxes, a potentially considerable savings. Where a property is owned by spouses or siblings only one owner need satisfy the age requirement. Both Basic and Enhanced STAR are available for all owner occupied residences, including homes, condominiums, co-ops.

Where a property has been transferred into a trust, although the trust is legally the owner of the property, the beneficiary remains the beneficial owner and accordingly, the beneficiary remains eligible for the Enhanced STAR exemption. Where a property has been transferred to another, and the original owner has retained a life estate, eligibility will be based on the life tenant’s qualifications rather than the individual with the remainder interest. Therefore, so long as the life tenant is eligible, the property tax assessed to the home will be reduced by the STAR Exemption amount. Finally, where the qualifying spouse has moved temporarily into a Nursing Home, the Enhanced STAR benefits may be retained so long as no one other than the spouse or co-owner lives in the home.

The STAR program offers New York homeowner considerable savings, don’t miss the deadline, be sure to submit your application before March 1, 2011.

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