When it comes to changes in the Enhanced STAR—property tax breaks for homeowners 65 and older—the Schoharie County Assessors Association wants seniors to know it’s there to help.
According to Alan Danforth, assessor for the Town of Cobleskill, the state has taken over administration of the Enhanced STAR.
That means anyone 65 or older who’s received the exemption in the past will have to provide income verification to continue the benefit; anyone turning 65 will also have to enroll in the Income Verification Program.
“It sounds confusing, but it’s not,” said Mr. Danforth, “and all of our assessors are there to help.
“We just want to make sure that no one falls through the cracks and misses a benefit they’re entitled to. We don’t want to see anyone lose their STAR exemption.”
As in the past, people with the Enhanced STAR will begin receiving their renewal notices in November or December.
This time, however, they’ll be asked to provide income verification—information Mr. Danforth said they can get from the first page of their income tax return, either electronically or by returning the form by mail.
Once that’s done, he said, they won’t need to renew annually.
“Our concern is that because this also requires them to submit their Social Security number, some people aren’t going to want to do it,” he said. “But the system is very secure.”
Seniors who have questions or who need help with the process are urged to call their assessor, Mr. Danforth said.
“We’ll even help them file the forms online,” he said. “If they don’t feel comfortable sharing their Social Security information with us, we’ll show them how to type it in.”
Mr. Danforth urged anyone who needs help to file the new RP-425 IVP form in addition to the standard RP_425 Rnw form to contacts their assessor as soon as they receive them.
Anyone who has already enrolled in the IVP program doesn’t have to do anything new, he said.
New homeowners need to go to the state website Tax.ny.gov/STAR to enroll in either the regular STAR or the senior STAR program.