Assemblymember Bronson: Legislation Eliminates Barriers to STAR Tax Relief

Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Henrietta) announced the passage of legislation he co-sponsored to reverse changes to the state’s School Tax Relief (STAR) program (A.5969).

“The changes imposed last year created hurdles for homeowners trying to get the tax relief they are owed,” said Bronson. “This measure takes unnecessary hassle out of the equation, so all New Yorkers get the break they deserve at the time they deserve.”

Because of changes made to the STAR program last year, first-time homebuyers and anyone moving to a new home had to pay a higher school tax bill, register for a rebate check through the state Department of Taxation and Finance and then wait to receive their checks each fall. However, the process faltered, with many checks coming late, if at all, and often for an incorrect amount.

"I purchased a new property in the summer of 2015 and prior to that had enhanced STAR so I was familiar with the program. When I went to process paperwork for my new home, I was directed to the new process. Now it is March and I still do not have my STAR rebate refund check. I also imagine it costs the state more to do business this way than to have the rebate appear upfront on tax bills," said Katherine Flynn, a constituent from Rochester, NY.

The new legislation puts the administration of STAR back in the hands of local assessors and returns the program to an upfront reduction in the school tax bill for all eligible homeowners. The state is also required to help localities inform residents of changes to ensure they get the exemptions they’re due. In addition, new homeowners will have 60 days to register for the STAR exemption for the 2017-18 school year if not already signed up.