Changes Coming to the Senior Citizens STAR Exemption and Enhanced STAR Exemption Programs

Changes are coming to the Senior citizens STAR exemption and Enhanced STAR exemption programs in 2019 for property owners age 65 and over.

Beginning with applications for 2019, taxpayers must apply separately for the Partial Tax Exemption for Real Property of Senior Citizens (the senior citizens or aged exemption) and the “Enhanced school tax relief program (STAR) exemption.   Seniors who previously qualified for the senior citizens exemption will no longer be automatically granted the Enhanced STAR exemption.  The Enhanced STAR exemption is granted to senior citizens satisfying certain eligibility requirements.

Prior to 2019, the application for the STAR exemption, along with proof of income as required by the local assessors’ office (usually a copy of the prior year’s income tax return along with documentation supporting the items reported on the return), was filed at the local assessors’ office who reviewed the information, verified the income and retained in its files paper copies of the information submitted in support of the application for the exemption.

Beginning in 2019, property owners age 65 and over must enroll in a new Income Verification Program (IVP).  Enrollment in IVP is only required once.  If eligible for the Enhanced STAR exemption, you’ll automatically received the exemption each year thereafter.  The advantages of the new program include knowing that you no longer can miss the renewal deadline (March 1) and greater privacy as you will no longer need to share your income tax returns with the local assessors’ office.

In the first year of the program, the local assessor will verify your eligibility based on the income information you provide.  In following years the New York State Tax Department will verify your eligibility and contact you if additional information is needed.

The forms required to be filed for 2019 vary depending on a number of factors, including whether or not you are already enrolled in the Income Verification Program and the type of STAR exemption you are currently eligible for.

Some local towns are offering workshops to assist seniors with the new application process.  Check with your local assessors’ office to see if your locale is among those offering such a program.