Department of Taxation will contact STAR recipients if they need to re-register

By Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - All New Yorkers receiving the STAR property tax rebate will have to re-register for the local school tax breaks because of reports of widespread abuse and fraud.

The law concerning the $3 billion STAR program is part of the state budget bills now being passed in Albany.

Last month, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe reported his detectives found $679,000 of fraud or incorrect filing in just five towns.

He said the tax break was illegally applied to second homes and some landlords were taking the credit for their homes and for rental properties and rooming houses.

Officials say abuses and faulty filings cost the state $13 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year and will cost an estimated $73 million by the 2015-16 fiscal year unless changes were made.

This a proposal in the Governor's Executive Budget. If it passes, it will only affect those basic STAR recipients beginning in 2014.

Those seniors that receive the enhanced STAR benefits will not be affected.

Also, the State Department of Taxation and Finance will administer the program and contact those basic STAR recipients on what the next step will be, but those notifications won't be for several months.

You will not have to contact your assessor's office.

However, officials are advising taxpayers not to run out to their assessors office in a panic as they say recipients will be contacted by the Department of Taxation if they need to re-register.

"It is our understanding that the taxpayers, instead of coming to their local assessor, the Department of Taxation and Finance will be sending a written notice to property owners by February 2014 by the latest, and the taxpayers will have to re-apply to the Department of Taxation and Finance by April 1, 2014," said Paul Smith, Assessor for the Town of New Hartford and Second Vice President of the NYS Assessor's Association.

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