Assemblyman Mike Norris (R,C,I,Ref-Lockport) has been encouraging the state Department of Taxation and Finance to streamline the process for property owners who are currently receiving a STAR property tax exemption. Changes to the program were made in the 2019-20 State Budget and Norris believes the process should be streamlined so that property owners get the maximum tax relief for which they are eligible.
It is very complicated to ask the public to first denounce their current STAR exemption by mail before allowing them to sign up for the newer STAR credit online. My concern is that property owners will not understand they need to switch programs in order to get their maximum savings and that it will be very complicated for them to do so, especially the elderly or those without internet access, said Norris. My office has sent the department a formal letter, asking for them to streamline the process and help assist property owners in making the switch.
Norris would like property owners in his district to know that he will be sure to provide updates to the new process, should the department put one into effect. He would like the public to be aware that the 2019-20 State Budget changed the eligibility for some STAR and Enhanced STAR recipients and also freezes the STAR exemption at 0 percent. This would limit a property owners ability to see their STAR savings grow despite their property taxes increasing. To maximize their savings, they should consider switching to the newer STAR credit program. However, under this program they would have to pay their entire property tax bill upfront and then get a personal income tax credit check send to them. Norris said the Department of Tax and Finance hopes to send the checks around the time property taxes are due, but encourages property tax owners to be prepared to pay their entire bill without it in case of any delays.
Norris said, This whole process is very confusing and was totally unnecessary. It is one of the reasons I proudly voted against this entire budget. But now we must move forward and I hope to be able to continue working in cooperation with the department and assessors to help let property owners know about the changes and how they can get the most savings.