Due to a largely unremarked upon change in state legislation that came as part of the 2017 budget negotiations, new homeowners who have applied for the STAR tax exemption from school district taxes through the town assessor’s office will now have to pursue their refund a different way.
The STAR school tax exemption is now a tax rebate for all homeowners who purchased their homes after March 1, 2015. Those who have purchased a new home since that date will now have to apply for their rebates through the state’s tax and finance department rather than the town assessors office. Applicants who file before July 1, 2016 will receive their rebates in advance of their school tax bill, according to Town of Colonie Assessor Ron Monfils; those who apply after that date will still receive their rebates, but will have to pay their entire tax bill up front. In the Town of Colonie, Monfils estimates that approximately 1,100 homeowners will need to reapply for funds through the new channels.
Rebates will be equal to exemption rates. According to Monfils, STAR-eligible homeowners in Colonie save approximately $500 a year under Basic STAR and $1000 under Enhanced STAR. “It varies from town to town,” he said. “The state has a formula that it’s based on.”
STAR funding come from the state lottery system, as part of a deal allowing the gambling organization to operate in New York State.