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STAR

The New York State School Tax Relief Program (STAR) provides homeowners with two types of partial exemptions from school property taxes. If you earn less than $500,000 and own and live in your home, you’re probably eligible for the STAR exemption. There are two types of STAR exemptions: The Basic STAR Exemption and the  Enhanced STAR Exemption.

 Basic STAR

• The Basic STAR exemption is available to all persons who owner-occupy their residential property and whose 2014 income (owner and spouse) was under $500,000 (Homeowners).

• The Basic STAR application is available at the Assessor's office and for download after October 1st, 2015. Basic STAR Application.

 NEW PROPERTY OWNERS (Ownership after 3/1/15 and this is the first time the new property owner is applying for the Basic STAR exemption on this newly purchased property):

STAR applications for homeowners in this category for the 2016/17 tax year (December 1, 2016 to November 30, 2017 tax bill) must be made to the Town of Huntington Assessor’s Office prior to March 1, 2016. The application for homeowner’s in this category can be downloaded here, Basic STAR Application or obtained by visiting the Assessor’s Office at Huntington Town Hall after October 1st, 2015.

 Enhanced STAR

The Enhanced STAR exemption provides an increased benefit for the primary residence of a senior citizen (age 65 and older) who has a qualifying 2014 income of less than $84,550.

An Enhanced STAR exemption application and instructions for filing the application with the Assessor’s Office can be downloaded here Enhanced STAR exemption , Enhanced STAR instructions and from the Assessor’s Exemption page of the Town of Huntington website, or obtained by visiting the Assessor’s Office at Huntington Town Hall.

An Enhanced STAR exemption application must be filed with the Assessor’s Office no later than March 1, 2016 for the 2016/17 tax year (Dec 1, 2016 to Nov 30, 2017 tax bill).

STAR exemptions apply only to School District taxes, not to other taxes such as county, town or special districts.

The Enhanced STAR Income Verification Program (IVP) and Denial Procedures:

Eligible Enhanced STAR applicants can request that their income be verified by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) after the first year of eligibility.  By electing this option after the first year of eligibility, the Enhanced STAR applicant is not required to file an annual application with the Assessor’s Office. 

After enrolling in this program, the DTF annually notifies the Assessor’s Office whether an enrolled taxpayer’s income is below the maximum permitted by law.  If it is, the applicant is entitled to the exemption for the upcoming tax year and the Assessor’s Office annually sends a letter advising the taxpayer of this approval.

If the Assessor’s Office is notified that the taxpayer’s income exceeds the maximum permitted by law to obtain the exemption, then the Assessor’s Office must take steps to remove the Enhanced STAR exemption from the taxpayer’s tax bill.  Upon receiving this notification from the DTF, the Assessor’s Office issues a notice of Denial of Enhanced STAR Exemption.

Additionally, in the IVP process, sometimes DTF is unable to verify a taxpayer’s income for a particular income tax year and, without any specific reason being given by DTF, the Assessor’s Office is notified of this fact.  The inability of DTF to verify a taxpayer’s income is treated by the Assessor’s Office as a denial by the DTF of the Enhanced STAR exemption for the upcoming tax year and the Assessor’s Office issues a notice of Denial of Enhanced STAR Exemption.

Upon receipt of a notice of Denial, if the applicant believes the DTF determination was incorrect (i.e. the actual income for the relevant income tax year entitled the taxpayer to the exemption for the upcoming tax year), the taxpayer must file a completed Enhanced STAR Grievance Form, a copy of which can be downloaded here:

Enhanced STAR Grievance

A completed copy of the Enhanced STAR Grievance form must be returned to the Assessor’s Office on or before the 3rd Tuesday in May of the year of denial.  For example, if the taxpayer received a notice of Denial of Enhanced STAR exemption for the upcoming 2016/17 tax year (real estate taxes payable for the period December 1, 2016 through November 30, 2017), then a completed copy of the Enhanced STAR Grievance form must be returned to the Assessor’s Office on or before Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

 In order to be complete, the Enhanced STAR Grievance form must be accompanied by a copy of the relevant income tax return filed by the taxpayer.  For the 2016/17 tax year (real estate taxes payable for the period December 1, 2016 through November 30, 2017), the taxpayer must attach their 2014 income tax return to the Enhanced STAR Grievance form.  

Upon receipt of the Enhanced STAR grievance form by the Assessor’s Office, the income will be re-evaluated.  If the appropriate income tax return submitted with the Enhanced STAR Grievance form indicates to the Assessor’s Office that the taxpayer is entitled to the Enhanced STAR exemption for the relevant real estate tax year, the Assessor’s Office will notify the taxpayer of this entitlement, and the taxpayer will receive the Enhanced STAR exemption on the upcoming real estate tax bill.

If, upon re-evaluation by the Assessor’s Office, the appropriate income tax return submitted with the Enhanced STAR Grievance form indicates that the taxpayer is not entitled to the Enhanced STAR exemption for the relevant real estate tax year, the Enhanced STAR Grievance form and any documents filed along with the form will be submitted to the Town of Huntington Board of Assessment review for the Board’s determination. 

Thereafter, the taxpayer will be required to follow the legal procedures applicable to the general process of challenging a real property assessment, which procedures are set forth in the following downloadable publication Contesting Your Assessment in NY State.