State urges homeowners to re-register for STAR

JOHNSTOWN – In a presentation Monday before the Board of Supervisors, a state tax official urged Fulton County residents to re-register for Basic STAR program property-tax exemptions.

Robert Jacobs, a representative of the state Office of Real Property Tax Services, addressed new registration requirements for Basic STAR tax exemptions at the board meeting Monday at the County Office Building.

He said 2.6 million state residents currently with Basic STAR have been receiving information in the mail, and county supervisors should know the process.

Re-registration for Basic STAR will continue through Dec. 31.

“You’ll be getting calls,” Jacobs told supervisors. “It’s important you understand what’s involved. It’s only for Basic STAR.”

According to the state Department of Taxation and Finance, Basic STAR is available for owner-occupied, primary residences where the resident owners’ and their spouses’ income is less than $500,000. It exempts the first $30,000 of the full value of a home from school taxes.

Enhanced STAR is a different program with exemptions for people 65 and older.

Jacobs said people receiving mailed information can call the number provided, (518) 457-2036. Online registration is through the state Department of Taxation and Finance website:

Jacobs said the reason the state is making residents with Basic STAR re-register – this one time only – is because the state has lost more than $50 million through fraud. He said the state Comptroller’s Office did an audit of the program.

“They found there were quite a few people double-dipping,” Jacobs said. “This is why we’re doing the re-registration program.”

He said area residents should have received a mailing by now, and they should pay attention to the information.

“Don’t throw those away as junk mail because they’re important,” Jacobs said. “We want people to register for this.”

People filing for STAR for the first time, he said, should continue to go though their local assessor, as has been done in the past.

“Once you have re-registered, you should be all set for many years to come,” Jacobs said.

Michael Anich can be reached by email at [email protected].

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